Improve your influence as you progress

Expectations of your ability to influence increase as you move up through an organisation. The more senior you become, the more influence you need to sell your ideas, close sales, negotiate successful outcomes and persuade others to your way of thinking. That includes your peers, your team members and people senior to you. Without influencing skills, it’s harder to get things done at work.

There are many different ways to influence others, but we tend to rely on having just one influencing approach for every situation, which is a bit like trying to fix a car with only one tool. Without knowing the different approaches, it’s easy to rush into important meetings using your default communication style with no clear outcome or clearly defined approach. As a result, you might end up rambling, the meeting goes pear-shaped, or you fail to have the impact you wanted. Sound familiar?

How are your influencing skills? 

Do you regularly… 

  • find team members are not meeting your standards at work? 
  • struggle to convince people about your ideas? 
  • avoid tough conversations?  
  • find it hard to be assertive?
  • struggle to manage upwards?
  • dread ‘high stakes’ conversations and other opportunities to make your mark? 

If you said ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, you’re not alone. Influence is one of the most common developmental needs for many leaders. The good news is, influence is a skill like any other, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

What could developing your influence do for you?

Influence allows you to have conversations with clear outcomes and without manipulation. The most successful leaders use influence to embrace and implement their ideas, rather than resorting to simply giving orders. Developing your influence means you’ll have better conversations and feel more confident dealing with clients, teams, peers and those you report into, including:

  • Having more credibility and confidence speaking up in meetings
  • Feeling more comfortable to lead on projects 
  • Feeling grounded when you want to make an impression
  • Making better connections and relationships 
  • Increasing your ability to deal with objections & disagreements
  • Improving your ability to manage upwards 

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”

Ken Blanchard


7 steps to develop your influence in one-to-one conversations

Step 1 – Begin with your goals for the conversation. What do you want to achieve, what’s most important to you? What do you want the other person to think, say or feel?

Step 2 – Consider the other party – what are they likely to want and what is most important to them? What incentives could you offer? Which areas can you be most flexible? What could escalate the situation? Begin to assess how they might be thinking about the situation. 

Step 3 – Consider your influence approach, whether it’s based on facts and data, compelling arguments, an assertive tone, being clear in your expectations, listening, asking questions, inspiring new ideas, or collaborative solutions. What skills might you need to develop in this area? There are many ways to influence, these are just a few!

Step 4 – Structure your approach – what do you want the other person to think and feel? Consider what objections they might raise and how you might respond to them.

Step 5 – Plan for the worst. Yes, really! What if it all goes wrong? What if there are unknowns? What if they react differently to how you’d imagined it? Plan for what you’ll if things don’t go according to plan.

Step 6 – Rehearse! Don’t leave it all in your head, get familiar with saying things out loud and find what’s comfortable and what isn’t. Learn each time you do it.  

Step 7 – Review. How ready are you now? Is anything missing? If needed, go over the steps above again and see what else might be useful.

If you’d like to take your skills to the next level, my Influence Coaching framework will help you learn new ways to influence and give you the opportunity to practice for one-to-one conversations in a safe space with useful observations and feedback.

Simply get in touch to find out more.