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In which direction do you want to have more influence?

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‘In all scenarios,’ says Peter Nelson, Programme Director for Henley’s Influence and Impact programme, ‘those who can create impact, and those who are more persuasive, will tend to rise up the ladder.

‘So, whether you’re a manager wishing to influence up to your board and down to your team members, or whether you want to convince customers to buy your product or service, understanding the subtleties of influence is key to achieving your goals.

‘The same rules apply at every level, internally and externally, in meetings and negotiations, conferences and pitches.’

We’ve all been in presentations where we have been bombarded with PowerPoint, bored by a monotone monologue or simply turned off by a lack of relevance or compelling messages. Equally, we’ve all been at conferences where a speaker lights up the room by engaging us with fascinating stories, humour or a riveting, informative subject.

You may even still remember the one teacher who inspired you to follow a particular path or motivated you to do better in a subject. These individuals have a massive impact and are clearly more likely to influence us.

Outgoing or outstanding?

One of the most often cited myths of a good presentation is that the speaker needs to be outgoing, but there are too many exceptions to give this any credence.

The reality is, that people who convey a sense of quiet authority are always more highly regarded than those who attempt to verbally bully their audience into submission.

Greetings and meetings

Every time we meet someone new for the first time we make an instant impression. Learning what creates a positive impact helps us to set a positive tone for future engagement. In addition, especially in one-to-one meetings, recognising cues and having a toolkit of skills will maximise the chances of a favourable outcome.

Being able to deal with disruptive people who are irritating, or who constantly interrupt meetings, is a skill we can all learn and develop. The Influence and Impact programme is full of hints and tricks to manage these scenarios and covers: speaking techniques, body language, posture and negotiating tactics.

According to Peter, the trick is often in the response we give to the other party in a face-to-face situation. ‘In my experience, a culture of giving positive, constructive feedback – briefly and directly – encourages a sense of honesty, transparency and nurturing. This, in turn, leads to higher productivity, lower attrition and more effective teamwork.’

Find out more about Henley’s Influence and Impact programme

Peter Nelson

Programme Director, Influence and Impact
Published 19 May 2017

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