Do you sometimes struggle getting others to do things you want? Have you ever thought, “I wish I was better at influencing people“, or “I have no power and people don’t listen to me”? Influencing people is not about power, in fact not having the power to tell is often really useful! Influencing people often needs us to be better at listening, and listening can be a good way to get listened to. When you’re getting listened to, you’re more likely to be influencing people (get them to do what you want them to do).

Lego man influencing people, asking you to follow him

What is influence?

Influence is the ability of one person to get others to behave in a particular way or to carry out certain actions. Influencing people could be by using power (you’re the boss, or have something they want) but effective influencing skills produce better results. Don’t just rely on power, whatever sort of power you have.

There is no one “right method” of influencing people. Adapt your influencing skills to the situation. Some behaviours are more likely to get your view accepted. Download our free 6 page guide to influencing people, it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

8 ways to be better at influencing people

  1. Don’t just listen, acknowledge. People are far more willing to come halfway (or more) if they feel acknowledged, understood and appreciated. At least be prepared to listen, genuinely. Download our active listening guide, it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).
  2. Ask questions, rather than give direct orders when possible. They may well “work out” the answer for themselves and be more committed to it.
  3. Make the other person feel important, but you must believe that they are!
  4. Don’t criticise or condemn.
  5. Talk in terms of their interests, and be genuinely interested in them. At what level are your interests the same?
  6. If you can’t find joint objectives “chunk up” – find a higher-level objective where you do both agree.
  7. Don’t dismiss real differences or give up on the objectives, doing so merely stores up problems or allows the current situation to “go underground”.
  8. Get clear agreement on your joint position. Agree on next steps and timelines. Express appreciation for their cooperation and support, whatever the outcome!

Our free 6 page guide to influencing people expands on these points, it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

What has worked well for you when influencing people?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

Lego Man Photo used under creative commons licence. For more information, click here.