“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
Real influence rarely comes from title or position. It comes from understanding people and their deepest, most fundamental wants and needs. Everyone at some level wants to be heard, understood and appreciated. While it appears that some people have a natural ability, or charm that allows them to have a great deal of influence, the art of influencing others can be developed. All we need is a basic understanding of what other people want and be constantly aware of this in our dealings.
Here are 7 ways we can increase our influence.
1. Develop listening abilities
Whether or not you agree with someone, realize that they have a need to be heard. In order for them to feel like they have been heard we need to really listen. Most people are busy thinking of a response, a rebuttal or what they want to talk about to really pay attention to what the other person is saying. One way of increasing listening skills is to repeat back to them in your own words what they just said. If not clear, ask questions. A good couples exercise is for one partner to speak and the other to simply repeat back what they heard. Good listening requires us to overcome the urge to think ahead to what we want to say and stay focused on the person speaking.
2. Follow non-verbal cues
When two people are intensely connected in conversation they tend to model each other’s non-verbal cues, such as smiling, moving toward the other, and making and making a great deal of eye contact. When doing this it makes the person we are speaking more open to our ideas and influence. The comfort level increase and they feel that we get them.
3. Recognize their accomplishments
Everyone appreciates being acknowledged for something that they did well and have pride in. Acknowledging those accomplishments will ensure that you will be remembered in a positive vein. It is important to be sincere in the acknowledgement. If the recognition is seen to be superficial or phony it will damage the relationship and result in distrust of the person giving it. Being seen as someone who truly appreciates them will elevate you in their eyes and put you in a category above all the people who haven’t noticed them.
4. Ask for advice or favors on an area that they are knowledgeable in
Next time someone asks you for advice or assistance notice what it feels like. Asking for advice or a favor from someone is an indication that you value their knowledge and hold them in high regard. Everyone has an area of knowledge or expertise that they are proud of and asking them to share it gives their confidence a boost. It also raises our status level in their mind, as we are someone who is able to recognize the value of what they have to offer.
5. Use their name and remember important details and events about the person
The most beautiful sounding work in our vocabulary is the sound of our own names. Remembering someone’s name and greeting them by using it is Influence 101. At a basic level if someone remembers our name it means that we have made enough of an impression that they took the time and effort to remember it. The more significant information we can remember about people the stronger impression we will make and the more influential we become to them.
6. Letting them know we have a high degree of faith in them
Virtually all people who have become successful have had to overcome adversity can name someone who challenged them to rise above their present circumstances and become the person they were capable of. These people never forget the person or persons who expected more of them and pushed them to go beyond their boundaries and comfort zone. It naturally makes us feel good about ourselves when someone expects great things from us and we will be inclined to strive to prove them right. We will see it as a challenge and our self-worth and confidence will make us want to give our best.
7. Look for areas that we share
Regardless of our differences if we look long enough we will find something that we share with virtually everyone. If we find out what that is we can develop stronger connections with the people that we wish to have a greater influence with. In preparation for meeting with someone we can learn the latest on the area of common interest so that we both have something are to get the conversation off to a positive start and flowing in the right direction.