Influence and Persuasion
Episode #5 of the course Ten key skills for career advancement by Patricia Haddock
Welcome to today’s lesson. Yesterday, we explored negotiation and collaboration, which are required to reach an agreement and consensus. The ability to influence and persuade others works with influence and persuasion to help you gain cooperation and cultivate the trust of others.
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” —Ken Blanchard
Here are five factors necessary for influence and persuasion: consistency, credibility, trust, influence, and persuasion.
Consistency means that your words and actions are in sync. You walk your talk and live your values by demonstrating integrity in everything you do and say and in all your associations with others. When you are consistent, people see you as someone who is reliable and authentic. Both publicly and privately, you:
• Are responsible and accountable.
• Honor your word.
• Require others to honor their word.
• Do what is right and ethical.
• Behave in consistent and predictable ways.
Consistency leads to credibility.
When you are credible, people believe you and pay attention to what you say. You demonstrate your expertise and readily share your knowledge with others. The more you know your business, and the more you showcase it, the stronger your credibility becomes. You are more likely to be believed without being challenged or questioned.
Exaggeration or hyperbole are damning for your credibility since you must be able to back up your assertions with proof. If you make a mistake or misspeak, you must immediately apologize and take responsibility for correcting things. Once damaged, credibility is difficult to repair.
Together consistency and credibility generate trust.
By being consistent and credible, you prove to others that you are trustworthy. Now, people are ready and willing to work with you and, most importantly, recommend you to their friends and colleagues. You accomplish and maintain trust by:
• Always being transparent.
• Communicating honestly about our intentions and motives.
• Demonstrating loyalty and steadfastness.
• Being inclusive, open-minded. and tolerant.
• Showing genuine concern and empathy for others.
• Maintaining confidence and avoiding gossip and rumors.
• Refusing to play politics.
If trust is ever broken, you may be able to repair it, but it will never again be as strong. Your ability to influence and persuade will be severely damaged.
When you have gained people’s trust, you are now in a position to influence them.
The term “influencer” is bandied around a lot today from teenagers on social media throwing massive parties in Hollywood mansions to experienced professionals with solid credentials and to everything in-between. When people trust you, they believe you, and that carries responsibility because people make decisions and act on what you say.
You must decide what kind of influencer you want to become and create a strategy that supports and cultivates it. Many young, social media influencers have garnered loyal followers that buy everything their idols recommend, wear, use, or are sponsored by. While your target audience may be much different from theirs, you can learn from them.
Once you are influential, you can persuade. This is where you convince others to agree with your recommendations, accept your proposals, and do business with you. It’s possible to persuade without the other factors; hucksters out for a quick buck do it all the time, and there are examples of this today. Their success is quick, and they’re quickly gone to start over somewhere else with another quickie scheme. That’s not your goal; your goal is long-term career success.
Here are some tools to help you be more persuasive:
• Focus on the benefits you give your employer, clients, and customers, not the tactics you use to achieve them.
• Anticipate and be prepared to answer any questions and objections other people may have before agreeing with you, rely on research, facts, statistics, and specific, relevant examples.
• Use real case studies and testimonials to establish and showcase your credibility, grab attention, overcome objections, and create value.
Action Steps to Improve and Showcase Influence and Persuasion
Review and answer the following questions to discover where your influence and persuasion skills are solid and where you need to improve.
• How are you being consistent? Are there any areas where you are inconsistent? Does your social media feed align with your professional image? What needs to be cleaned up or deleted?
• How are you demonstrating credibility so that people believe what you say and see you as an expert? Do you readily share information and answer questions? Are you staying current in your field and earning formal credentials?
• How are you nurturing the trust you have with others? Do you immediately rectify problems and address issues? Do you stand by your words and actions? Are you empathetic and compassionate?
• How influential are you compared with your colleagues and competitors? Are you plugged into what your customers and clients want? Do they eagerly embrace what you recommend?
• How easy or hard is it to persuade others to your point of view? Do you have a hard time talking about yourself? Do you undervalue what you have to offer?
See you tomorrow when we will look at conflict resolution, which relies on your ability to use the skills from the previous lessons, especially listening, trust, collaboration, and negotiation.
The Science of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini
Influence: Science and Practice by Dr. Robert Cialdini
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