How influential are you?

Learning a few techniques to present and negotiate with impact can give you a vital competitive advantage and turn you into a high performer.

Pitching, selling, negotiating, mediating, leading, team-building or motivating… Every aspect of your business life is defined by your ability to influence whoever is in front of you to understand, consider and adopt your stance. And this is especially true when it comes to competing for a new job.

So if you’re not persuasive enough, the chances are that you’ll end up failing to fulfil your true potential. So get your tone right, adjust your body language and prepare to step up!

Filtering out the myths

According to Peter Nelson, Programme Director for Henley Business School’s Influence and Impact programme, you should probably ignore most of what has been written on the subject.

Top of Peter’s list of gripes is the myth that you’ll exert greater influence when presenting to an audience just by measuring your tone and speaking in a slow, deliberate way. Peter’s experience tends to suggest that this can be regarded as highly patronising.

Peter Nelson

‘People can think much faster than anyone can speak, so speaking quickly is not the problem. Indeed, it invariably conveys a sense of fluency, passion and urgency, all of which reinforce your case. The issue is that your audience is likely to stop listening after a while unless you learn to pause, punctuate the flow and add emphasis.’

Do you ‘Blair’ right?

We’re constantly being told that the ability to pause in the right place is the exclusive preserve of great actors or comedians, who have an innate sense of timing. But it simply isn’t true; anyone can learn these techniques quickly and easily.

Peter labels it ‘Blairing’. As he explains, this is ‘in honour of the former UK prime minister, who developed a style of random pauses to maintain the attention of his audience, and for the most part, it worked remarkably well. Indeed, the more unexpected the pause, the more effective it proved to be!’

Henley’s programme covers hundreds of practical tips for making more of an impact, including how to stand, what to do with your arms and legs, PowerPoint, dealing with aggressive questions from the audience and how to avoid the glass of water trap…

What is clear is that whatever it is that you wish to achieve in your career, exerting more influence will improve your performance, enhance your personal reputation and allow you to reach your potential.

Find out more about the Influence and Impact programme

Contact Image

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact our programme advisors, Hannah, Ruhi & Diana by email at or by phone on +44 (0)1491 418767.

Related links