Two women and a man talking in the workplace and showing interest in one another.Leadership & Influence

How To Influence People: Be The Most Influential Person At Work


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New behavioral sciences research is increasingly showing us how to influence people and persuade them effectively at work. And it is easy to learn.

For all this time, many of us have only dreamed of being able to grow and build our influence in the workplace. It’s as if one is either born with the ability to lead and influence. Or, destined to forever be insignificant. All is not lost, though. There are astonishingly simple ways to convince people to your point of view. It’s just that most of this is rarely taught to us.

Why It Is Difficult To Influence People At Work

You can be certain of one thing, though. From the confusing way influencing people is taught, it is no wonder that many of us find it difficult to be persuasive at work. And it holds far too many of us back. Unnecessarily.

The majority of leadership training we are given on how to influence people’s decisions is needlessly complicated. They focus on a long list of techniques that yield little impact. We are told that many successful CEOs and business leaders influence that way. And so we fall for it. But can you bring to mind a technique you have been taught and tried out that has worked for you?

After all that effort, we are still left with our unanswered question: “How can I be an influential person?”

How To Become The Most Influential Person At Work

Now is a good time to let you in on a secret many management gurus don’t want you to know — it is easy to influence and persuade people. The difficult part is finding your way through the flash and dazzle of influence coaching. And then home in on the simple techniques that succeed. The ones that actually make you influential and get you noticed in the workplace.

The true way to grow your influence and become an influential person lies in your ability to employ the most basic of techniques that go undetected. Soon you will learn the best way to influence anyone and convince them to your point of view.

This is a powerful approach. You must only use it to grow your influence positively, and never to manipulate someone in the workplace.

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Influencing People

There are two basics which you must know if you want to influence people effectively. Firstly, people make every important decision deep in their subconscious minds.

And secondly, the reasoning ability of our conscious (rational) minds evolved more for the sake of winning arguments than for decision making.

Pay close attention to what this is telling us about how we should NOT go about influencing people. You should not try to convince them by reasoning. And don’t let others know they are being influenced by you.

A Visual Web Story version of this article can be found below:

1. Don’t Start Influencing Someone With Reasons and Facts

If you try to convince someone by directly reasoning with them through their conscious mind — as most other schools of workplace influence teach — you will typically encounter a roadblock. This is the single biggest factor that results in unsuccessful influencing. It mostly triggers mental argumentation and resistance in others, rather than compliance.

2. Don’t Let People Sense You Are Influencing Them

Few people know this. So, your initial influencing should always employ techniques that are not sensed by the person you are influencing but work on them subconsciously. People will not resist what they don’t detect.

Influencing this way does not come naturally to any of us. We feel the urge to reason with people first. Most of us make these mistakes when we try to influence people and win them to our side. But if you can check your instincts, then rest of your influencing tasks are much easier.

How to correctly make this initial subliminal connection when influencing people is discussed in the steps below.

3. Put The Other Person’s Needs First When Influencing People

Don’t start with talking about your own credentials, expertise or needs. Instead, make it all about the other person. Focus only on yourself, and you are essentially looking past the very person you expect to influence.

Almost all persuasion taught these days is based on getting you to communicate better, boosting your visibility, your network and reputation, and framing your arguments and sales pitches better. How can you expect to get someone on your side if it is all about you and your needs?

People will light up if the conversation is about them — their dreams and aspirations. Who and what they are afraid of, and who is to blame for what they lack.

The best influencers and persuaders know this and always start with the needs of others.

Importantly, this process releases dopamine in people’s brains resulting in what’s called motivational salience — a cognitive process that motivates their behavior towards you. This makes them automatically bond to you. With genuine reasons, explain to them why none of what they lack or are afraid of is any fault of theirs. Find their real enemies and join them in the fight against what makes them scared and what they despise. This real connection is how you can truly start to build your influence on others in the workplace.

Did This Approach Influence You?

If you doubt how effective this is, go back to the beginning of this article and re-read the introduction. You will find this approach there. If the technique worked on you, that is your filter for recognizing a Master Influencer move.

This initial technique of persuading someone and how to connect with them is outlined more fully in a book, written by Blair Warren — The One Sentence Persuasion Course – 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding.