WHY DO WE sometimes fail in our efforts to influence another person? It may be because we are not focusing our attention on the right thing. The natural tendency is to look at every situation from our own point of view. We consider first the ways we need help, believe our own recommendations are best and set agendas that cater to our personal priorities.
WE ALL KNOW the importance of building relationships with our clients as a prelude to winning business and seeing it grow. We attend seminars, read extensively and even participate in day-long training programmes on the subject. Management teams hold lengthy strategy sessions to devise better ways of ensuring long-term relationships exist, and that sales personnel develop them proactively.
BEING ABLE TO exert influence is an essential skill in the modem business world. Managers leading a team, colleagues looking for cooperation and employees angling for a promotion all need to know how to influence others.
IN YEARS PAST, a few senior executives would make all the major business decisions and it was the responsibility of people further down the hierarchy to carry them out. Legions of corporate foot-soldiers were hired, not to think and definitely not to decide, but rather to do what they were told. It was management by decree, and such methods were used to make many a fortune and to build empires.
WE COMMONLY HEAR the phrase “just be yourself”, but following that advice is not necessarily the best thing do to if you want to increase your chances of influencing someone else. In fact, in many situations you are likely to have much greater success if you deliberately modify your own behaviour and personal style of communication to accommodate the person you are dealing with.