Regardless of the reason why you believe that you find it difficult to influence, an important step in overcoming the challenge is to explore it in detail. What you need to do is to take a hard look at what you are experiencing, what the causes might be and then you can begin to develop solutions which will work in the short term as well as in the long term.
Although geared towards your general level of skill, the questions below can also be focused on a specific influencing situation which you need to unblock.
As you answer the questions, be totally honest, if only with yourself…
- Think of three recent situations where you were not as influential as you wanted to be. For each situation, write down your answers to the following questions:
- What did you want to influence?
- How did you try to influence?
- What actually happened when you tried to influence?
- What didn’t you do which you had intended to do? Why not?
- How did others respond to your influence attempt?
- How might those involved comment on your performance?
- What did you do really well in the situation?
- Write down three things which your line manager has (or could) say about your ability as an influencer (positive or negative).
- What about your friends, what would they say about your influencing skills? Write these down too.
- Sit back and reflect on your notes. What themes do you notice?
- How do you feel about each of these themes?
- Summarise your top three influencing strengths and top three weaknesses.
- Focusing on your weaknesses, make some notes about why you think they exist — what’s the cause of these deficiencies?
- Do the same with your strengths.
- Finally, what one thing, if you could make it exceptional, would make a substantial difference to your performance as an influencer?
If you take this seriously, it will take a while to complete this exploration. Sometimes your initial responses will be wide of the mark and reflecting on these questions over a few days will be beneficial. Begin by writing down your initial answers and then return and rework them in a few days. It is also extremely useful to get a friend to help you do this; their perspective and insight may be uncomfortable, but may also give you that vital idea which can completely transform your performance.
Colin Gautrey is becoming the most sought-after expert in power and influence by ambitious and talented professionals who are serious about accelerating their careers and their results. But, Colin is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
This resource is one of over 500 articles, and 50 hours of video content he has packed into his Breakthrough Influence Series of online courses.