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Influencing Skills 101 – Things You May Have Forgotten

Influencing skills 101 – things you may have forgotten

In our last few blogs we’ve talked about influencing styles and how you can use them to improve your personal impact – you can catch up with them all on our website. Here’s one of the founding styles in influencing, but one that is frequently used so badly that it loses its edge and can have the opposite effect to the one you intended.

It’s the good old “recommendations backed up by logic”,

An excellent style when it is used well.  But oh how often we hear the style being misused by:

  • Making proposals but not giving any reason to back them up.
  • Overwhelming people with words, as if more words means more persuasive.
  • Making a suggestion so gently that people can’t actually tell you are making a suggestion. (“So has anyone thought about whether we should maybe leave this to the next financial year? Or not? Or is that not a possibility?”)

When it is used well though, the acquired behaviour of making clear concise recommendations backed up by reasons can cut through waffle and indecision like Moses through the Red Sea. It is the welcome breath of air that helps people move towards decisions and actions. However reflective we are, we all have a deep desire to be productive.

Here are a few recommendations of ours for using this style effectively:

  1. First things first.

Start with the proposal and back it up by reasons. Sometimes people begin by giving you the reasons and your mind starts guessing what their proposal might be and by the time they tell you their proposal you have come up with your own, which you are now rather attached to.


  1. Keep your reasons to no more than 3.

The human brain has a limited capacity for concentration. The shorter you are the clearer you will be and the easier you make it for people to agree with you. The enemy of this style is waffle.


  1. Convey you are serious about it through your non-verbal communication.

If your words contain a proposal but your facial expression, hunched shoulders and upspeak in your voice (finishing your sentences on an up) convey that you are tentative or uncertain people believe the tentativeness in your non verbal communication and don’t take you – or your proposals – seriously. There is research to back this up. So sit or stand with a straight back, head upright, look them in the eye and speak with a clear strong voice.


  1. Make it clear that you are making a proposal

By saying “I suggest” or “I propose”. Don’t use words like maybe, perhaps, hopefully.


  1. Tailor your reasons.

The first reasons that come to mind are often the ones that work for us. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think about what reasons will influence them most. It seems obvious but it is important.


  1. If you have data, add that in.

This is the style of logic and reason and data is a powerful support. That might mean financial data about what has been spent so far and what the savings will be. Or it could be data from your engagement survey. E.g.55% of people who work here feel their ideas are listened to.

It’s a style worth rediscovering. Our recommendation is that you think about your last few influencing situations and replay them using the hints and tips above – then try it out in practice because you’ll be surprised by the results.

Find out more here on our website, and follow us on Linkedin and Twitter for the latest in Levati thinking.

The Levati Team.



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