Here are five things you can do today to grow your influence and get your projects moving forward.
1. Decide what you want.
It’s hard to steer projects, meetings, conversations, even careers, if you don’t know what you want to achieve. Let’s take a stakeholder meeting as an example. Decide what your goal is with that meeting. Maybe you want your project’s funder to push back a reporting deadline, or agree to consider doing more work with you. Having that goal will keep you focused on your desired outcome.
2. Talk and act with confidence.
The most influential people are confident people. If you don’t feel confident, it can show. Research suggests you can build your own unique ‘success routine’ that raises your confidence quickly, such as listening to your favourite energizing music just before an important meeting. To work properly, the music should get you physically moving, so you feel ‘pumped up’, stronger and more confident.
3. Make others feel valued.
Research suggests people remember how they feel when they are with you. If they perceive you as negative and critical, they will tend to remember those things, making it hard for you to change their perceptions. Instead, be courteous and ask open questions that encourage people to share their views, information and experiences.
4. Contribute positively to each conversation.
Try to contribute something constructive or positive to all your conversations. Negative comments almost always reflect poorly on the person making them, so the more constructive you can be, the more likely it is that you can move discussions forward. Influencers achieve what they want through focusing on solutions not problems. You can too.
5. Welcome objections.
To obtain what you want, you need to listen to and respond to all objections. Rather than feel wary or nervous about objections, try to welcome them. Objections show people are engaging with your ideas and suggestions. Once the ‘what if’s’ stop, the resistance runs out of steam, leaving the way clear to the outcome you wanted.