Influence is the ability to impact the characteristics, advancement, or performance of someone or something.
Decision making is an intricate process that is directly impacted by internal and external influences.
Do you know what influences affect how you arrive at final decisions?
It is common for people to consider their loved ones when making major decisions. As such, the people closest to you likely have a significant influence on the choices you make in your day-to-day life.
But how can you become an influencer, i.e., someone who can directly inform the decisions, behaviors, and actions of other people?
Lead by Example
The most effective way to influence someone to adopt a given behavior is to exhibit that behavior yourself.
If you want to have a direct influence on how someone behaves, be a living example of that behavior in action. Be the type of person others want to model. Arrive at work on time, work hard to achieve your objectives, and avoid getting involved in any office politics or gossip.
Also, be mindful of how efficient you are at work. Do you use your time wisely, or are you “milking the clock? If you want your employees or colleagues to function more effectively, you need to ensure that you adopt the behaviors you want them to mirror.
Lead by example, positively and thoughtfully, and others will follow suit.
Think About How You Communicate
The words you use and how you deliver them play a fundamental role in influencing others.
The most effective influencers are those who are positive, open, and polite. If you adopt an arrogant, condescending way of communicating with others, they will have little respect for you and will be unwilling to consider your views.
One useful strategy by which you can effectively communicate with others is by imagining you are talking to your father-in-law at a dinner party. You would speak to him in a respectful, calm, and non-condescending manner.
Take the “salt and pepper” approach. Speak to someone as you would if you were asking them to pass the salt. Would you do so in a condemning, egotistical manner? You’d probably adopt an even, soft tone with a slight lilt in your voice. It would influence the individual who is nearest the salt to pass it to you without hesitation.
Be Authoritative, But Not an Authoritarian
The difference between being authoritative and being an authoritarian is about how you speak to others. There is a fine line between speaking with confidence and speaking with arrogance.
If you want to influence others positively, adopt a confident, yet encouraging and respectful tone. It will win the respect of others and make you come across as a measured, intelligent individual instead of overbearing or bullying.