Nicole Soames, author of The Influence Book and The Negotiation Book shares an introduction into influence from her latest book.
An Introduction to Influence
“As a business skills trainer and coach, I’ve come to understand the powerful role influence plays in all aspects of life. From the moment we are born, we learn the importance of influencing others to help us achieve our goals, whether it’s in the playground, on the sports field or in the workplace. Consider the most influential people in the world today – they all share the ability to inspire and motivate others to take action and embrace change. By viewing influencing as a core life skill that can be developed over time, you too can build a powerful personal brand that leaves a lasting legacy.
Whether it’s pitching a business idea to potential investors persuading a client to agree to your proposal or cajoling kids into doing their homework, we all influence others every day. Yet, more often than not, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We overlook these interactions and tend to see them as a type of selling, which, rightly or wrongly, has negative connotations for many. Selling is seen as pushy, aggressive or even manipulative behavior. This can cause people to shy away from being front-footed, confident and in asking (influencing) mode. However, as behavioral science author Daniel Pink said in his book To Sell Is Human, “Like it or not we’re all in sales now. Just because you don’t have ‘sales’ in your job title doesn’t mean you don’t have to sell to people.
Whatever your walk of life, you invariably influence on a daily basis and you draw on your influencing skills to get people to agree to your point of view. Imagine a teacher who is an expert in their subject but fails to inspire and influence their students or a website developer who creates technically brilliant new designs but doesn’t have the communication and influencing skills necessary to persuade their client to implement the changes.
It’s clearly time to change our mindset and view selling as a communication tool that influences others. Only then will you truly understand the immense value influencing can bring to your life, and make an effort to strengthen your daily influential interactions. This is particularly important in today’s digital age, where we’re bombarded with more information than ever before – much to the detriment of human interaction. Given this and meaningful messages is crucial to differentiating yourself and increasing your level of influence. So, whenever possible, resist the temptation to send an email or text to ask someone to help you and remember to ask them in person instead. This way you are far more likely to achieve your desired result. I’m a big believer that people buy people, so make it your priority to develop your emotional intelligence – those so-called soft skills that are often the most difficult to master – to help you win the other person’s heart and mind.”
The Influence Book is available exclusively in WHSmith right now, before it’s UK publication date on 8th November.
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