8 tips for effective influencing


Every day we are busy influencing others. Both business and private. I make a clear distinction between influencing and manipulating. For example, consider the way you discuss a good idea at home, or negotiate a night out with friends. So you are used to influencing others, sometimes more consciously than other times.

Influencing is an important skill when you work together. Both within the organization and externally (purchasing and sales).

Certainly as a manager you influence people in your team, people in other departments, people to whom you report, customers, suppliers, etc.

It is therefore good if you know what your qualities are in terms of influencing. You also know which skills you lack and can therefore learn.

The first step in influencing effectively is determining your goal and determining the party to be influenced. Influencing then has a lot to do with the way you think about the person or group to be influenced. Half of the desired result is already achieved if we can see the other person as a potential partner, as someone with potential, regardless of whether this person might have certain characteristics that might make him/her less accessible.

The basic rules:

  • Be authentic
  • Be genuinely interested in the other
  • Also be positive

Influencing can be done in many ways and there are many tips. A lot of people like these kinds of concrete lists just like me, so I've set up one too.

1. Giving Attention

To many it will seem almost paradoxical to start with this when it comes to influencing. Yet it's necessary to pay unconditional attention to the person or things on which one wants to exert influence.

2. Understand the needs of the other person.

Tune in to the other. Every person has his own wavelength, his own way of thinking and acting, based on his own presuppositions about the world. Just say his own frame of reference. In order to understand the other person well, and to speak 'the same language', tuning to the right wavelength is therefore of great importance.

3. Assertiveness

Giving attention and then tuning in to the other party lays the foundation for an excellent relationship. More is needed to be able to exert targeted influence.

Somewhere in the influencing process a turning point can be recognized to take on the more leading role. While the previous phases and skills were more related to the relationship and "following" the other, with assertiveness the emphasis is on taking action, taking initiative, taking leadership, ventilating one's own opinions and interpretations, to convince, to enthuse, to intervene, etc.

Clear expression, being able to clearly indicate one's own goals, setting boundaries, approaching others, and networking are just a few of the skills that come under the concept of assertiveness. Being convinced of your own message and conveying it convincingly and enthusiastically are important skills.

4. Alternatives

Everyone still has a number of characteristic features or skills that can ultimately also be functional in the process of influencing. Such as the use of humor (if dosed), deliberately inserting pauses, the use of metaphors, analogies, and historical examples. 'Masters of communication' can deal flexibly with these alternatives, based on a certain authenticity.

5. Preparation

If you are well prepared, this results in 90% of the success.

So that preparation contains your own story, but the people you want to influence are also part of your preparation.

6. Investigate each other's (common) interests.

Influencing effectively has to do with finding or creating a common basis of interest. It's so much easier to talk when you know what you're agreeing on. You can use the common interests as a starting point and thus clearly indicate that you don't think differently about everything.

7. Harness the power of kindness.

Rarely can you achieve more with kindness than with (positive) influencing someone.

8. Never forget to smile.

However, it's necessary that you can give substance to those points.

It's about knowing how to get things done. Just knowing or recognizing the points doesn't mean that you can apply it and recognize when you can apply those points.

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