Want to Be an Influential Leader?

Black female leader

Here’s an Acuity Tip…

Perception plays an important role when it comes to being influential. Often, people don’t understand what you are trying to say because what they hear or see is filtered through their perceptions. When someone, from their perspective, doesn’t understand why your message is important, it’s not likely that they’ll buy in. Before you approach someone, even if the matter seems unimportant, take the time to put yourself in their shoes… Consider how things might look from their perspective. What might they like about it? What might they resent? Watch their reactions and listen to what they say. Show that you appreciate their perspective.

Remember to …

STOP: Be mindful of what you say or how you say it before you speak. Focus on your intention and your goal. What do you expect from this interaction? What do you want the other person to hear and understand?

LOOK: To understand how someone is responding, concentrate on all visual cues. Look at their facial expressions. You may get a sense of how they are feeling. Do they appear angry, confused, uninterested? Do they make eye contact with you when speaking? Do they seem relaxed or tense? All these cues help to understand their personal reactions to your message.

LISTEN: Influencing also includes being open to hearing another person’s point of view. When you are able to see things through another person’s eyes, you have a greater probability of gaining their agreement.

Use this easy ABC structure to frame your communication:

  1. Acknowledge Individual Interests – Understand and focus on what each person deems important. In other words, ask yourself, “what’s in it for them and why would they be interested in listening further to what I have to say?”
  2. Build on Shared Interests – Look for common ground. Think not only about your interests but the other person’s interests as well. Then look at those you both share and help the other person see them too.
  3. Connect to Communicate – Connect with them by showing an interest in their perspective. Actively listen for the meaning behind the words you hear and take note of what you see. Does the other person look confused, annoyed, interested, or uninterested? Refrain from criticism. Suspend judgment and demonstrate respect for their perspective.

Keep this in mind when building your relationships. Take the time know your audience. Try to see things from their perspective. The better you get to know people, the more influential you are likely to be. The added bonus is your relationships will be more productive. And productive relationships always generate better results.