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Influencing Skills

Influencing Skills

Influencing is about persuading people to accept your point of view. There are a number of guidelines that can help us to understand the key points of doing this well, they include:

  1. People do things for people they like
    So it is important to take the time to build a relationship with the person you want to influence. Bear in mind that it might be necessary to influence more than one person in order to get something done.
  2. Put yourself in their shoes
    There is no reason why it has to be obvious to another person that something is a good idea, we must be able to tailor our explanation in a way that makes sense to them. So our ‘pitch’ should take account of their knowledge, experiences, and personality traits.
  3. Have a clear proposition
    So that you can explain what you want and why in thirty seconds or less. Without this kind of focus it can be difficult to get your point across in a clear and compelling manner.
  4. Lobby the decision makers
    Ideas often get turned down because they are new or unfamiliar so it is vitally important to have informal ‘chats’ with key people in advance of any formal meeting. In this way any issues can be identified and a consensus in favour of your idea can start to be built.

Assess your current situation

Reflect on your current approach to influencing other people. As you ponder this topic what do you consider your strengths and weaknesses to be?

Decide what changes you want to make and set yourself a goal(s).


Laborde, Genie Z, (1998) Influencing with Integrity
Crown House Publishers.
A good book on NLP influencing skills covering rapport building techniques, reading body language, the power of metaphors and defining needs.

Erickson, Juliet (2004) The art of persuasion
Hodder & Stoughton
Covers how to structure and deliver a business case.

Any book that you can find in your local library or on the internet that strikes you as relevant.

Watch influential people

Observe how people in your organisation, who you consider to be role models in their ability to influence others, go about getting things done. How does what they do compare to what less influential people do? How does what you see relate to your approach?


Cialdini, Robert (2003-2005) The principles of ethical influence, Influence at Work.
Lecture on the six key principles of persuasion by an expert in the field.

Then - most importantly

Go through the steps shown in the How to Use Our Tutorials page to really cement and develop what you've learned into a useful part of your business skill set.



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