“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.”
— John Hancock
Over sixty years ago, Dale Carnegie wrote the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. The book has remained relevant through several revisions. In some ways, influencing skills have become even more important over time. Why? Reduced workforces and tighter deadlines are causing cooperation among employees to be more crucial than ever.
Influencing may take the form of peers influencing each other to get things done in a timely way, or to reprioritize their workload. It’s not easy to influence another person to meet your deadline when they have many of their own. When the help of a co-worker outside the department doesn’t translate into bonuses or performance evaluations, it becomes that much harder to obtain their “buy-in.” In this situation, personal influencing becomes not only a “nice to have” but also a “need to have” skill.
Given these new realities, what steps can be followed? Here is an adaptation of the influencing master, Dale Carnegie’s, tried-and-true techniques. The wording will guide your conversation toward successful outcomes.
- Begin in a positive way – “I would like to get your input . . .”
- Identify and understand their priorities – “What is important to you?”
- Show respect for their opinions – “I understand your concerns; let me help with a way to address them.”
- Identify the intersection between their ideas and yours – “We both have this in common . . .”
- Offer options and benefits of your ideas – “The benefit to this idea is . . .”
- Identify and address the obstacles to “yes” – “Now that I know what your concern is, could we . . .”
- Throw down the challenge – “Can we try it?”