These secrets of influence were originally published in 2008 and have proved popular ever since. On a flight from NYC to London, Colin Gautrey wrote these based on his experience of coaching and training thousands on the subject of influence. These 21 entries are a great summary of what he believed to be the most important elements of successful influence.
Have you ever wondered…
- How do powerful people become powerful?
- What do they do that you don’t do?
- Why are they so successful at influencing people?
- Do they have any tips to share?
If so, you’re in the right place. Colin has helped thousands to become more influential; and in this series, he shares some of the secrets he has discovered along the way.
By taking heed and developing on these secrets, you too will be able to become more influential, in work and in life. In this series, Colin shares these secrets as principles of influence which all successful influencers adopt. He also gives practical ideas on how you can implement each of the principles.
The Secrets to Influence
Develop and Protect Integrity
There will be many times when influencing that your integrity is put to the test. People will be asking you to do things that you think are a little dubious, and you may see opportunities where you can take short cuts to gain influence. Unless you protect your integrity, things could very quickly get out of hand.
If you work hard to build integrity, you will quickly begin to lay down the framework for your decisions and actions. This will help you to act more in tune with your values.
“It is much easier to influence if you have developed and protected your own integrity.”
You will grow in reputation for honest trading. People know that they will get fair treatment and will always know where they stand with you. In addition, you will start to become a role model for authentic and ethical working, which is a very potent source of power.
Perhaps most importantly, the level of trust placed in you will rise significantly.
How to Build and Protect Your Integrity
- Write down a list of the most important things for you in your dealings with others.
- Sort these so that you come out with a list from the most important down.
- Work out in detail what each of these means in practice.
- Can you identify clear rules that you need to obey to honour each value?
- Determine to stick to your rules as you go about your work of influence.
- Review these every few months or so, and check how well you are doing.
And remember, values and integrity are the things we carry around with us 24 hours a day. Betrayed values make for restless nights!
Engaging and Influencing Stakeholders
Stakeholders are important people who share an interest in your success. You need to engage with them at the right time so that you can influence them as easily as possible. Stakeholder influence doesn’t just happen; you have to make it happen.
By engaging with your stakeholders early, you stand a much better chance of being able to help them to understand what you want to achieve. Critically, you need to develop a clear appreciation for their stance in order that you can pitch your goals in the most favourable light.
“Proactively seek out, engage, and influence your stakeholders.”
You can find stakeholders in many places. By thinkingit through, you’ll be able to identify different categories of stakeholders. You’ll start to notice the balance between those who are for you and those who are against you. This will help to focus your mind on what you need to do to move towards the realisation of your objective. Failure to map these out leaves many opportunities for influence unnoticed.
How to Start Engaging and Influencing Your Stakeholders
- Make a list of all those who can have an impact on your goal.
- Indicate which are for and which are against you.
- Add a score against each to show how much power you think they have.
- If you wish, you can add another indicator of how much they could win/lose, or even how much you trust them.
- Start to consider how you need to influence each stakeholder and how you might do this.
- Develop a clear plan to start engaging with them.
Be More Enthusiastic
In many organisations today, the rational argument and maintaining an objective perspective is a powerful cultural factor influencing how people make decisions. However, don’t be fooled — all is not as it seems.
In reality, most decisions are based on the emotional reactions of the decision makers. The numbers are there to make it look professional. Many times they support the decision, other times they do not. Although most would never admit it, the emotions usually sway the final decision — even if they do call it “gut feeling”. And the easiest way to move the emotions is to be more enthusiastic about what you are doing.
You don’t need to make elaboratedisplays of enthusiasm; quiet enthusiasm can be even more effective. Make sure that when you express your enthusiasm you do so in a way that is appropriate for the situation and the people involved. When people see that, they will know that what you are asking for is really important to you, rather than just a part of your job. People will know you care.
“To maximise your influence, be more enthusiastic.”
By being more enthusiastic than others, great influencers are able to get other people excited about their vision and goals. They demonstrate their own passion and find ways to show others why they should also be excited. The art of influence is about winning over hearts as well as minds, and there is nothing as potent as infectious enthusiasm.
How to Be More Enthusiastic
- List all the reasons why you are excited about your goal(s).
- Consider how you display your excitement — can you do more?
- Look for role models of enthusiasm — what do they do that you could start to do?
- Identify reasons why other people could get excited about your goals.
- Practise getting them interested, then enthusiastic and, finally, really excited.
- Don’t forget that rationality still has its place.
And remember, if you can’t get excited about what you are doing, why should anyone else? There is nothing complicated about being more enthusiastic; you just have to really want to achieve your goal.
Adapt Your Style of Influence
There are many different behavioural styles used in influence attempts. These include being friendly and sociable, displaying sensitivity and using assertive or aggressive manners. Tact and diplomacy also has its place, as does the ability to hide or disguise your true feelings.
You will have your own preferred style of influence in exactly the same way as everyone else will have their own preferred style. These styles are likely to be different.
“If you match an individual’s style of influence, you will remove the distraction from your influence.”
The interesting point is that you are most likely to be influenced by someone who uses the same style as you prefer to use with others. This is because they will appear to be just like you and you will have an immediate connection with them. Similarly, others will more easily connect with people who adopt a style which they like to use.
Therefore, if you can adapt your style of influence to the style preferred by the person you wish to influence, you are more likely to be successful.
How to Adapt Your Style of Influence
- Think through which styles you tend to favour. Are you more inclined to be assertive or friendly? Hide your feelings or share your emotions?
- Recognise that it is okay to be who you are. Make sure you appreciate the benefits and limitations of who you are.
- Try to notice the usual influencing style of other people around you. How are they different or similar to you?
- Identify someone you want to influence to move forward on your goal. What can you say about their preferred style?
- Find ways in which you can adapt your style to suit theirs more closely.
- Exercise this adaptation and reflect on what happens.
And remember – there is no perfect style, only the one which works. Being aware of what style is appropriate and adapting your style to suit is a skill which will serve you well.
Check Assumptions Carefully
Flawed assumptions are a common reason why you may fail to gain the influence you seek. Making assumptions is a natural process and we would not be human without it.
Yet when it comes to influencing people, this may not help you to be at your most effective. Failure to check assumptions carefully can cause many problems.
For instance, if you are assuming someone will oppose you, go and ask them! If they confirm your suspicion, at least you can startthe debate or negotiation. You may find that your assumption was wrong.
Equally dangerous to your goal is assuming that someone will support you. Only by discussing the goal with them can you test this out. Doing this proactively will help you to uncover additional work you need to do, or at the very least will reinforce their agreement.
“If you check your assumptions, you can influence with greater certainty.”
There is a risk when checking assumptions — your worst fear may be realised. You may not get the answers you were hoping for. Sometimes you will be surprised by what others are thinking. If you don’t check, these real views and agendas still exist, you just don’t know about them. Once you do know, you can begin making plans to overcome any problems these new details reveal.
How to Check Your Assumptions
- List five assumptions you are making about your influencing goal.
- Which of these would have the most impact on your goal?
- Which are the most important to test out?
- What can you do to test these?
- What will you do if you discover you were right or wrong?
- When will you test them out?
- Look for more assumptions that are critical to success — and test them too!
And remember, the longer you delay checking your assumptions, the more difficult it will be to handle the real situation.
Build Your Ne
Building a network which is strong and robust is essential if you want to grow and develop your influence. If you invest your time wisely as you build your network of important and powerful people, you will quickly be rewarded. Once people have had a chance to get to know you, and have experienced the value that you bring, they will begin to reciprocate value.
Networks provide a rich resource base of help, support, information and the essential sounding board when you are unsure what to do for the best. Your network can also provide long-term friendships which can last an entire career — not to mention a huge amount of fun and entertainment along the way. Building a network is not just about work!
“Build your network as a long-term investment in your success.”
Networking is not simply collecting names, you need to develop relationships. That means there needs to be a two-way flow of value. Unless you can help people in your network in some way, they are likely to drift off. But you don’t have to be giving value every day, just sufficient to keep the relationship fresh and growing. You also need to make sure you don’t leave it too long between interactions with an individual.
People who only network when they want something from it are often treated with suspicion and will be far less successful than those who have invested in the relationship before they need to draw on the resources of the people they know.
When you are building your network at work, it is not just about being sociable with those you work closely with. It requires that you reach out to people in other divisions, organisations and networks where there is some potential for a connection. Generating curiosity and keeping focused are invaluable elements of successful networking.
How to Build Your Network
- Who are the important/powerful people around your organisation?
- How well do you know them and do they know you?
- Find opportunities to get to know them.
- Prepare a clear description of who you are and what you do. This should be designed to motivate them to take more interest.
- Think of things you can do for them — how can you help their work?
- Learn to conquer your fear of networking.
And remember, some of the best networkers hate going to parties where they don’t know anyone. Instead, they find ways that they can build networks while playing to their strengths.
Gain More Personal Power
Personal Power is usually defined as an individual’s capacity to influence others. As such, it is the reason why people do what you want them to do. It usually means that you have either something they want or something they want to avoid.
There are many different sources of power at your disposal, some of which you may be currently unaware of. You already have power, and it is often very easy to gain more power if you put your mind to it and you know what you are looking for.
“If you want to become more influential, gain more power.”
Personal Power sources include money and resources, relationships, physical attributes, skills, experience, image, etc. At a very practical level, you have power if you can give something they want or need, such as an introduction to a friend of yours which could open up a new career opportunity, or the ability to offer them a position on a new project, or simply that you can invite them to a meeting they’d love to go to.
If you are able to work out what power sources you are using at the moment, and what ones you are not using, you have the opportunity to review your approach and develop each of these sources to higher effect. If you can focus on the sources of power which are in greatest demand, they will have the greatest potential to influence people.
How to Gain More Personal Power
- What assets and characteristics make you powerful?
- Think through how these power sources measure up against the competition for influence.
- Which ones are most in demand by the people you wish to influence?
- Which can be developed most easily?
- Stimulate your thinking further by asking friends what they think makes you powerful?
- What power sources are the most powerful people in your organisation using?
- Make a deliberate plan on how to develop more power.
And remember, power can become an almost measurable currency within an organisation. Watching the exchange rates can prove very profitable for your career!
Create an Influence Plan
You are probably familiar with creating project plans to achieve the targets set by your organisation. This means you already have the skills to create an influence plan.
“The main reason why people don’t plan their influence is that it doesn’t occur to them.”
In just the same way that you create a project plan, be very specific about what you want to influence (your deliverable) and then create an influence plan to achieve it. You can use many of the project management disciplines you are probably already familiar with, including risk and issue logs.
It may be difficult to do this because of the ambiguous nature of influence, but don’t let that deter you from taking a logical step-by-step approach to this work — just be ready to adjust your plans as you learn through acting.
How to Create an Influence Plan
- Do everything to crystallise what success looks like — your influencing goal.
- Write down the main steps you need to take towards realising your goal.
- Figure out a logical order and consider the links and dependencies.
- Diarise opportunities when you might meet key people informally
- Keep a log of your progress and review your plans as you move forward.
And remember — people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan!
Take Action Now
If you want to become highly influential, you need to adopt the principle of taking action quickly. Sure, you will need to plan your action carefully; but as soon as you are sure, you have to take action quickly.
“Flawed plans can quickly be improved by taking action now.”
Too often, I see people who are paralysed by the uncertainty which is inevitable when you are trying to influence. It is impossible to know everything, so you have to become much more comfortable making decisions and moving fast — even though ambiguity remains.
Interestingly, quite often the way to remove ambiguity is by doing something. Stay alert to how others are reacting and quickly adjust accordingly. In this way, you learn as you go and adjust towards the most effective approach.
How to Take Action Now
- Write down a list of 10 things you can do to more forward your objective.
- Identify three things on your list which have the biggest impact.
- Believe that taking these actions will be okay, or that it will add new learning.
- Do them today.
- As you complete each one, replace it with new action ideas.
- Find the next three things to do – and do them!
- Find ways to minimise the risks of uncertainty in your action.
- Notice what is holding you back from taking action, and take action on that!
And remember — If you don’t think it is important enough to do something today, why should anyone else? Keeping your list of actions up to date will help your goal to remain in focus and maximise the prospects of success.
Understand Hidden Agendas
Agendas can be professional or personal. Personal agendas are not always known unless you are very close to the individual concerned. Yet these agendas have a significant influence on the personal decisions the individual will make.
“If you can discover the hidden agendas, you can find new ways to influence them.”
It is your job to uncover these hidden agendas so your increased understanding can be factored into your plans. Unless you know what is against you, it is very difficult to influence effectively.
While using the term hidden agenda, I do not wish to imply that it is being deliberately kept from you. Sometimes it is and lots of relationship building will be required to uncover it. Most times, it is only hidden because you don’t know what it is.
How to Understand Hidden Agendas
- For one of your goals, note down the people you need to influence.
- For each, try to write down what you think their agenda is.
- Meet with each and ask questions sensitively to check your understanding.
- Ask them what needs to change about your goal to gain their agreement.
- If your goal works against their agenda, find creative ways to align your goal to their agenda.
- Work with them to solve problems and negotiate to bring the agendas closer together.
And remember – assuming you know the other person’s agenda is dangerous. If you are successful despite conflicting with someone else’s agenda, you could be storing up trouble for the future.
Set Specific Goals
If you want to be influential, you need to set specific goals for your influence. You probably have very clear goals and targets in other parts of your job, so why not set goals for your influencing work too?
“If you set specific goals, your influence will increase dramatically.”
Often influence falters because other people do not understand in enough detail what they are being asked to agree to. Greater clarity will help them to decide to support you, or indeed, uncover specific reasons why they cannot support you. Either way you will move forward on your goals more quickly. It is also worth bearing in mind that experience clearly shows me that a great deal of progress towards a goal can be made simply by clarifying exactly what you want to achieve. It automatically moves forward.
How to Set Specific Goals for Influence
- Review each of your goals against the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).
- Consider how you will know that you have succeeded. What will be the evidence?
- Tighten up the specification as needed.
- Test your wording with friends.
- Consider — will someone know just from the wording what you want to do?
And remember – the easiest way to get someone to agree is to help them to understand exactly what you want.
How People Influence
To quickly grow in influence, study others. Try to learn how people influence those around you. This can provide you with fascinating insights into influencing skills, what works and what does not work. It will also help you to identify specific strategies which seem to work with the people you wish to influence more effectively.
The very best influencers are always alert and learning. They have their eyes and ears open. So, get curious and regularly ask yourself, why do people do what other people want them to do?
To be successful you have to be capable of getting other people to do things that they would not otherwise have done. You have to create change. So look closely at what moves them to change.
“Carefully watch how other people are influencing and being influenced and learn from what you see.”
The potential list of reasons why people will do something is almost endless. Examples include because they are persuaded by logic; they selfishly see their own gain or maybe they simply want to please an attractive individual. This study will increase your potential and you will also start to notice specific things which influence some of your targets and you can adapt your approach accordingly.
Learn How People Influence
- Identify several people close to you at work.
- Notice who they tend to favour when being asked to do something different.
- Develop a theory of why each is influenced.
- If you can, ask them why they do what they do? What is it about the person asking which motivates them to act differently?
- Reflect on your normal approach to influencing. How can you modify your approach to become more successful at influencing specific people?
- List three things to try to do differently and test these out.
And remember, tuning in to what influences other people can become a fascinating study in its own right, and will definitely help you to become a more flexible influencer!
What Influences You
Another principle of influence adopted by successful influencers is that they are very clear about what and how they are influenced. This self-awareness equips them to be able to move more effectively as they seek to influence others. By thinking about why they do things for other people, they will be able to reflect these observations back and question — why would somebody else do something for me?
One of the great things about this sort of self-reflection is that you don’t have to worry about not getting the full story. When you’re asking someone else there is always an overlay of caution in their answers – they may hold back on the full truth. After all, why should they tell you how to influence them? Of course you could be deluding yourself, yet the more you think about this the closer you’ll come to the really potent answers.
“Look inward and notice what is influencing you, and find out why.”
Learning from What Influences You
- Make a list of 10 times recently when you did something that you initially would have resisted.
- Include times that a salesperson has sold to you, or when someone approached you with an idea that you initially resisted.
- For each, work out what motivated you to change your mind.
- What was it about the person, the idea, the proposal or the situation that convinced you to do something different?
And remember – we are all human animals and many of the things which influence us will also be useful when attempting to influence others.
It is easy to engage with the obvious stakeholders. This influence principle challenges you to identify stakeholders whom you might easily have overlooked, and who could have a dramatic impact on your goals.
Superb influencers look long and hard to discover more stakeholders — those who will benefit from their work. By doing this, they can see opportunities to form alliances, collaborate and build a greater base of support for their objectives.
“Identify the right stakeholders to engage with.”
Quite often, if you work hard enough to identify stakeholders, you will discover ones who are more powerful than those you were already considering. If you can get these on your side, the others may well fall into line very easily.
How to Identify More Stakeholders
- Pick six people who are not directly associated with your influencing goal.
- For each, think through how your success will change their work/lives.
- Focus on what will be positive for them.
- Meet up and discuss what you are doing and check with them how they will benefit.
- Talk with your friends and get their views on how your work will affect other people.
- Link your goal to other people’s goals wherever possible.
And remember, the more people you can get supporting you, the less powerful the opposition becomes.
Make a Personal Commitment
Although this may appear obvious, it is surprising how often it is overlooked by average influencers. The best influencers search long and hard to make sure that they are absolutely committed to their goal. They know demonstrating personal commitment helps them to be most effective when influencing others.
If you are not convinced about what you want to achieve, why would anyone else be convinced it’s a good idea? Expert influencers notice their level of commitment to a project. They regularly return and pressure test their resolve. They raise their level of commitment until it becomes their conviction.
“Make a strong personal commitment to what you wish to influence.”
All of this helps to build a confident and robust platform for effective influence. In the process, you will also be preparing the arguments which will help when you meet opposition. This also lessens the risk that an adversary will challenge you successfully because you have already thought it through.
How to Make a Personal Commitment
- For each of your goals, rank them in order of your commitment to them.
- Alongside each, cite three reasons for your level of commitment.
- For those towards the top of the list, what can you do to increase your conviction that it’s the right thing to do?
- How can you demonstrate and articulate your convictions in a compelling manner?
- Those towards the bottom, consider dropping them off your agenda to allow more time and energy for the really important work that you are committed to.
- If you drop something, remember to manage other people’s expectations, especially your boss!
And remember, the act of demonstrating personal commitment and conviction is a compelling influence in the minds of the witnesses.
Focus on Powerful People
Are you engaging with the right people? This principle of influence is a challenge to make sure you are focusing on powerful people, and the right powerful people.
These people have the potential to make or break your project. These are the people who shape opinion around you and your organisation — those who everyone listens to.
“Instead of focusing on convenient people, focus on the powerful people who can make it happen.”
Power is the capacity to influence and you need to get those with the greatest capacity on your side. If you have a few of the most powerful people supporting you, you can spend less time worrying about everyone else. These powerful friends will do the influencing work for you.
How to Identify the Most Powerful People
- Think about the most important people in your company, organisation or division.
- Include those who can have a negative as well as a positive impact.
- Rank them in order of potential impact on your objective, from positive to negative.
- For each, jot down some thoughts about what their impact could be.
- Make a decision about the actions you will take now for each person.
And remember – linking your goals with other impactful people will speed your success. Taking positive action to overcome opposition will reduce your risk of failure.
Find Critical Friends
Many worry too much about the opposition and try to avoid them. Trouble is, they are unlikely to go away. In all probability, they will keep getting stronger — or at least in your mind they will. If you want to become a great influencer, you need to learn this principle of influence…
“Instead of ignoring your opposition, seek out those who can become critical friends.”
Instead of ignoring your opposition and keeping out of their way, you need to actively seek them out and see if you can identify those who could become critical friends. Critical friends are those whom you get on very well with and are prepared to risk their relationship with you by giving you honest and direct feedback. In the work context, they will be the people who will help you by telling you why your influencing goal is wrong and should not be achieved.
With this feedback, you can then reflect on what you are doing and find ways to handle the challenge. This may involve adjusting your plans, or finding more evidence to support what you are proposing. Alternatively, it could also offer you the opportunity to enter into negotiation with your new friends.
Another key benefit you will get from this learning is that it will prepare you for handling other opponents. This can be an invaluable service rendered to you by your critical friend. Remember, friends don’t always agree and yet can remain friends. This can happen at work too.
How to Find Critical Friends
- Identify the people around you who disagree with your goal.
- Meet with them and find out why.
- Remain objective about their opposition and remember that it’s probably the idea they oppose and not you personally.
- Attempt to find ways of reaching agreement.
- Enlist the help of others to find ways to bring them around.
- If you cannot find any opponents, challenge your ambition and push harder until they appear!
- How can you improve the quality of these relationships?
And remember — no great career performer wants to play in a league where they will not have to work hard to win!
Analyse Winners and Losers
If you are doing important work, there will be a great deal of change involved if you succeed. This principle is about looking hard to identify and then analyse all the winners and losers.
It is easy to focus on the ones right in front of you, but there is a potential array of other people who will be affected by what you are doing.
“Challenge yourself hard to find and then analyse all the winners and losers.”
It is important to make sure that you enlist the help of those who will win, as their assistance may carry the day. On the other hand, if you have analysed the losers, you can then assess the risk they pose and write plans to ensure they do not create a problem.
How to Assess Winners and Losers
- Make a list of all those who will gain from the successful achievement of your objective.
- For each, note down exactly how they will benefit.
- Identify those whose help would be useful.
- Talk to them and get them helping you.
- Write down a list of people who may lose out if you are successful.
- Why will each of these lose?
- What can you do now to win them over?
- If you cannot win them over, how can you minimise the impact of their opposition.
And remember – being creative and finding ways to benefit the losers will help to remove the opposition.
Prioritise Increasing Your Influence
How much of your day do you spend influencing? Does this part of your role have the right amount of time and attention given to it? For most people, they are too busy doing other things.
“Focus lots of time and energy on how to increase your influence.”
If you want to increase your influence, you have to make it a high priority rather than a mere wish. You have probably noticed that people tend to get really good at the things they spend their time on when it is combined with the desire to improve. So, if you want to get good at influencing, spend lots of time on it.
How to Easily Increase Your Influence
- Make a list of your influencing goals. Update this list regularly.
- Keep your influencing goals in mind, or even in your notebook for quick reference.
- During quiet moments in the day, return to your influencing goal and challenge yourself; what else could you do to advance them?
- Set aside a time each week to review your progress and brainstorm new things you can do to be more influential.
- Study what others are doing to influence. What do they do well which you could try?
- Subscribe to blogs and websites which can stimulate your learning on influence.
- Notice how others are influencing you, or trying to influence you. What works, and what doesn’t work? What can you learn from this?
And remember – to achieve most things in life requires influencing the hearts and minds of others. By focusing on this you will make quick progress towards your goal.
Be More Persistent
It is very rare indeed to gain the influence you want at the first attempt. Most of the time, you will have to try hard and suffer setbacks. This is to be expected, particularly if you are bold and ambitious. It is normal for people to be against you. This is why, if you want to become great at influencing, you have to be more persistent than others. By being bold and persistent with your influencing goals, you are setting yourself apart from the massive majority of those who are content with mediocrity.
“Influence is often achieved by the most persistent.”
By developing persistence, you are reinforcing a critical skill that will help you to become more effective as an influencer. If you’ve had a meeting and someone has said no, remain objective and try to figure out the reason behind this. How can you change your approach, proposal or ideas to get them to say yes? Keep coming back with more until they agree. Naturally, tenacity needs to be balanced and sensitively delivered. Quiet and assertive determination wins over aggressive and belligerent behaviour.
And when I suggest you should be more persistent, I do not mean you should be ignorant of the concerns of others — that is being stubborn. What I mean is that you should intelligently react to opposition and keep looking for ways to get what you want.
How to Be More Persistent
- Think of as many ways in which you will benefit from achieving your goal.
- Consider this broadly and find as many as you can.
- Raise the level of priority in your overall work so that it starts to become critical for you to achieve this goal.
- Treat each setback as a learning opportunity. Why did it happen? What was ineffective about your approach? What could you have done differently? How can you modify your approach when you try again?
- Know when to let it go. Listen to what others are saying and make sure you don’t become a pain.
- Keep thinking creatively about how your idea will help others.
And remember, by showing tenacity you are demonstrating a high-level commitment to your goals. This can often win the day, even in the absence of a logical business case.
Motivate People More
It may seem a little obvious, but it needs saying. Influencing is all about motivating people to change in some way. In the normal working day, motivation is too often taken for granted. Most bosses discuss what needs to be done and make sure that their team have clear instructions. This isn’t motivating people. They may be motivated; but if this is what you do, it wasn’t because you motivated them.
Similarly, if you are explaining to a stakeholder the details of what you want them to do, that isn’t motivating either. It is simply conveying information, perhaps in a way you hope will help them to realise what’s in it for them.
In both these cases, you are leaving motivation to chance, for the individual to figure out for themselves.
“Influencing is all about motivating people to want to do what you want them to do.”
To motivate people more, you need to know more about the people you are working with. You need to know what they want in the future, what their dreams are, what their fears are. For any given proposal, you need to work out how they will be affected. What will they gain and what will they lose? What is it that they care most about? All these and more will give you critical insights, which will help you to link what you want with what they want — that’s motivation.
How to Motivate People More
- Think of the people who are closely connected to your influencing goal.
- Get creative and, for each, make a list of all the things you could do to help them.
- In what ways could you hinder or harm them? I’m not asking you to do this, just think about it.
- For each person, think of ways in which you could carefully raise their level of awareness about what you could do for them.
- If they are not close to your goal, consider a bargaining approach to gain their support for your agenda.
- Remember to make references to their gains as you talk to them about what you are trying to achieve.
- Even better, get them talking about how your proposals will have a positive effect on their life.
And remember, threats and manipulations are an ugly part of organisational life and should be avoided where possible by those who have long-term success in mind. Instead, use positive motivators to get people really motivated to do things for you.