Influence is a complex set of behaviors and interactions to get the results you want from someone else. There are many ways to influence others — and most team members try to convince others of what they want and then sell the benefits. If this works, great! If not, you may want to
Try these techniques to gain influence:
Identify Your Purpose or what your team is looking for. Is it to accomplish something? Influence someone to make a commitment? Take responsibility for something? Get important information?
Consider the Context or what is going on with the organization or individual. Evaluate what has happened in the past and your current relationship. How will this help or hinder your ability to influence?
Select a Strategy that will help you achieve results as well as further your relationship.
Here are several approaches with possible “sentence starters”:
Ask Open-Ended Questions in a way that doesn’t imply either a right answer or assume responsibility. “What do you think about…” “How might we do this?” “What are your ideas about….”
Ask for Clarification to gain a clearer understanding of what has been said. “What do you mean by….” “When you say….”
Build On What Has Been Said to deepen or extend the thinking. “You mentioned…could you say more about that?” Or try “Help us to understand….” “How do you see that working?”
Check for Understanding. Paraphrase or rephrase what was said and ask for agreement or correction. “What I hear you saying is….” “As I understand it….” “Let me see if I understand what you are saying….” “So you think (hope, feel, believe)….”
Identify with the Other’s Situation, experience, or feelings and how those things could be affecting the other person. “If I were you, I might be feeling….” “I remember how I felt when….”
Paint a Picture. Describe the future in today’s terms, helping the other person to envision the results. “I can see us…” “Picture this….”
Generate Enthusiasm by urging the other person to join the team in taking action. “I know we can…” “I believe as a team….”
Offer Incentives or negotiate a fair exchange. “If you do this, we will….” “In exchange, we will….”
Test the Unsaid. Sometimes the real issue has not been spoken. If you sense there is something that hasn’t been said, test it out: “I am wondering if you might be concerned about….” “If we do this, are you concerned about…?”
Ask a Show Stopper question: “What would it take for you to….” or “What could we do so you would agree?”
If you still cannot influence the situation, you can simply walk away and come back another time.