How to increase influence & build powerful professional relationships

You’ve probably read that book, How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. And if you haven’t, I’ll bet you’ve heard of it.

Crazy to think that it was published in the 1930s. Yet, in 2011 it was still number 19 on Time Magazine‘s top 100 most influential books.

Some of the claimed benefits of reading it are:

  1. Helping you to win people over to your way of thinking.
  2. Increasing your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things done.
  3. Growing your earning power.
  4. Helping you to arouse enthusiasm among your associates.

No wonder it’s one of the best selling books of all time! These are all things that ambitious professionals want to achieve.

But it’s never been harder to influence others than it is today. The pace of our digital lives has everybody distracted and under considerable pressure, so the climb to the top has become even more difficult.

Dale Carnegie’s legendary self-help bible is no longer enough. If you want your hard work, talent and ambition to get noticed — if you want to increase influence — you need to upskill your communication with professional training.

Investing in communication skills has life long benefits and applies to every aspect of your work. Those who take the time to strengthen their ability in this area will stand out to senior leaders, improve how they engage with colleagues and clients, and improve their performance and productivity.

3 reasons you should increase influence at work through effective communication

1. Make more of an impact when managing ‘up’

Ever wished you could elevate your influence and make more of an impact in meetings with senior members of staff? By learning to communicate more dynamically, you can get your point across strongly.

Professionals that are skilled at effective communication are able to manage interruptions well and handle Q and A’s with even the most aggressive personalities. They understand how to own the conversation.

Strength, confidence and influence are signals to senior staff that you’re capable and hungry to do more and to go far. To increase influence is to improve your ability to get your ideas heard and over the line. The way you communicate your ideas will compel people to take action and sway key decision makers.

2. Improve your team’s capability

Influential communicators can also lead their team better. They’re able to proactively hold difficult conversations with team members and manage conflict effectively.

Overall, an influential leader boosts their team’s motivation levels, increasing productivity. They set a positive tone and give people confidence in their ability. They’re driven by the fervent belief that their team will be successful; good communicators share that message and by doing so, increase their influence.

Finally, influential leaders communicate their own knowledge and teach others to deliver by developing their skills. When you’re able to develop the talent that sits under you, you achieve bigger results that are hard not to notice.

3. Boost confidence in your abilities

It is possible to communicate effectively without sounding arrogant or inauthentic. But you need to have confidence in your abilities.

Part of this is being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, allowing yourself to be human and showing that side to others.

The most influential communicators and business people admit that they’re not perfect. Steve Jobs famously admitted in 2010, “we’re not perfect,” in response to major signal problems with the iPhone 4.

In business, there’s no such thing as perfect timing or perfect decision making. We do our best. We make judgement calls. We hold our hands up when they’re wrong. Being confident in your abilities is not about being perfect, because we’re all human.

Honesty and authenticity are key components of having influence. By sharing your successes with those that contributed to making it happen and putting the business ahead of your personal goals, you will get noticed.

Quick tips to increase your influence in 2019

    • Understand who you’re communicating with and what’s their style of communication. There are four main styles: analytical, intuitive, functional and personal. If you can identify the dominant communication style in your listener, you can adapt to engage them better and make yourself more influential to them.
    • Give data a break and try telling a story instead. Stories can evoke strong emotions in the listener and persuade far more convincingly than any graph or spreadsheet. They are powerful tools for building influence and winning over stakeholders, as any Steve Jobs acolyte will tell you.   
    • Use your body language to help you communicate. More than half of all communication is nonverbal, while some research claims that figure is closer to 90%. Whatever message you’re trying to convey, make sure your body position and movements are in alignment with it.  

Ambitious professionals need the skill of influence to get ahead. Set yourself up for a more influential, engaging, persuasive and productive year by upskilling your communication with our Mastering Communication program. Make 2019 your year to shine and climb.

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The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Alison Carter

Alison Carter is a facilitator and coach at The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd, a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has spent over 15 years in senior financial and communication roles. She now loves to share her passion for the design and delivery of effective and engaging communications.