Influencing Styles

“…as social beings, we are moved in the relations with our fellow beings by such feelings as sympathy, pride, hate, need for power, pity, and so on.” – Albert Einstein

Who hasn’t experienced the challenge of having to get things done through others? And to add to it, the frustration of having to deal with people who just won’t cooperate? According to the Oxford Dictionary, to influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something”.

There’s a myriad of ways in which you can exert influence, and it goes without saying that being proficient in a wide range of influencing styles will ensure more success. There are many models and descriptions of influencing styles out there, and in this piece we have tried to summarise them for you, hoping to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and practice new ways of influencing!

Influencing styles can be divided into Push and Pull approaches. The Push approach usually means the influencer is trying to take others down a path he/she has already predetermined, often without hiding this fact. Yeah, not the best approach to adopt if you want to make friends, but useful when you need quick results.

The Rationalising or Logical Approach.
A rational and well-organised approach; use facts and details, research and evidence, point by point, to persuade. But hey, remember even logic is sometimes relative, so make sure you get the other side on board.

The Assertive, Tell or Autocratic Approach. 
It’s simple; you tell them what to do, and they do it. This approach works best when you are in a certain position, using your power, authority or age to exert influence. It is however the most unpopular of the push approaches.

The Selling Approach. 
Find out the needs of the “customer” and meet those needs. Work on being able to distinguish between the direct sell—describing the advantages and benefits, and the manipulative sell—exaggerating and distorting. If you use the latter, be ready for the consequences!

The Pull approaches involve including the individual in the decision-making process, and may be useful when you are not necessarily in a hurry, but need to create an environment of teamwork and collaboration.

The Negotiating or Bargaining Approach .
Meet your goals by using compromise, finding the middle ground, but be sure not to compromise away your ideals.

The Inspirational or Emotional Approach. 
Use stories, paint a picture of the future and communicate a sense of shared mission and exciting possibility. By linking the desired outcome to a set of values and ideals honoured by the individual/group, you appeal to emotions; a primary driver of motivation.

The Bridging or Reciprocal Approach. 
Get what you want by uniting and connecting with others. Build coalitions and personal relationships, and use reciprocity to reach your goal.

Pick and choose between the influencing styles, but remember that your personality, the personality of the person or persons you are trying to influence—and above all—the situation, all play important roles. Ultimately, your ability to flex your influencing style is the decisive factor in your success as an influencer.

What is your personal influencing style? Who do you think is a successful influencer? Contribute to the conversation below.

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