Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

6 steps toward influencing others

Are you struggling to get your great ideas accepted?

You may need to enhance your influencing skills, says Milton Almeida, an Organizational Development Services consultant with NAIT.

Influencing skills are useful in several areas, including when you have an idea that generates resistance, is costly, affects multiple departments, or is simply different. But influencing needs to be done right to have a positive impact.

“That is a key misconception of what influence is,” says Almeida, who teaches leadership development courses to NAIT staff. “It’s not about control, coercion, manipulation.”

He shares 6 steps adapted from a model created by leadership experts Allan Cohen and David Bradford.

1. Assume you have allies

Overcome self-created barriers and believe in your idea. If that idea is presented in a way that shows merit, allies will likely emerge to help move it forward. “It is amazing to see the amount of talent in the room when people are willing to just speak up, to engage with others, to not be afraid,” says Almeida.

2. Clarify your goals and priorities

Showing the merit of your idea involves clearly explaining why, what, how and when. These are key starting points to sway people. Make sure you have a good answer for the question of whether your idea is even needed, especially if it represents change.

3. See the matter from both sides

After you’ve identified who you need to influence, try to understand their concerns and what’s important to them. Show how your idea will benefit them.

4. Assess resources

Figure out how much time, money and personnel are required. Present a plan for who will do what and when. Position your request for resources as an investment.

5. Assess relationships

“Sometimes I find we don’t have strong relationships with partners we may need,” says Almeida. “It’s important to understand we need to build that relationship.” Evaluate your relationship with stakeholders and develop trust and transparency with them. An open environment that welcomes exchange will increase the likelihood of your success.

6. Give and take

Be willing to listen and consult. Show a positive, hopeful and optimistic attitude. Persuade people to work with you to help achieve your goal.


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