The A, B, C of Influencing Someone at Work

The A,B,C of Influencing others_Victus People

A question that often pops up in our EQ workshops is,

“Isn’t it manipulative to get someone to do what we want?”

Well, think about it this way, would you say the same about interviewing, negotiating, or even dating?

Dr. Nashater Deu Solheim, a forensic psychologist & leadership coach, shares these three insights on how to build influence at work.

How to build influence at work_Dr Nashater

Before you read the framework, here’s a fascinating tidbit about Dr. Solheim. Her insights stem from diverse experiences, ranging from working with psychopaths in maximum-security prisons to supporting veterans affected by war trauma. She’s found ways to translate these experiences into valuable lessons applicable in business contexts.

The A, B, C of Influencing Someone at Work

🔵 Advanced preparation

Influencing someone starts well before the first interaction. People usually appreciate when you make an effort to build rapport by trying to learn about them without asking them. So, before your first meeting, do your homework. Read their profile, talk to mutual connections if possible, and understand their interests, motivations and pain points. Here is a challenging one; try to discover their life purpose. What drives them? Knowing this can be a game-changer.

🟡 Body language

how to build influence at work_90° seating_victus peopleThis one is pretty obvious, but Dr. Solheim shares a unique tip. If you’re meeting in person, sit at a 90° angle . Apparently, sitting directly opposite someone (180°) across a table creates ‘guardedness, defensiveness and a big barrier’. However, a 90° angle or a V-shaped seating, preferably without a table, makes a more collegial conversation setting. It allows for easy eye contact, relaxes body language, changes the feel of the conversation. It moves away from power dynamics. I’m going to give this a try in my next meeting with a potential client. 🤓

Simple actions can create a collaborative atmosphere: stay relaxed, open, and show genuine interest. Keep in mind, what you’re feeling or have on your mind, will show up in your body language. Hence, I would highly recommend practicing a mindfulness exercise before entering the interaction.

🟢 Conversation

One of the easiest and simplest things we can do when entering a conversation is to not complicate matters. Start with a friendly greeting and genuinely ask about their well-being. Gauge how they feel about meeting you. This can inform you how motivated they are to engage with you. Use that to strengthen the process of rapport building. A good place to begin would be to clarify any suspicion or doubts they might have about you and let them ask you questions to help build trust.

🔴 Finally, one of the common challenges of influencing someone is getting wrapped up in our own agenda and thoughts. The anecdote? Show empathy and stay curious.

Don’t start with what’s most important to you, try to figure out what’s in it for them to help or support you.

Stay curious by constantly testing your assumptions. Ask open-ended questions and explore their responses, paying attention perhaps to emotions behind their words as well as the facts. Listen so well that you can summarise their thoughts accurately.

Do you have a ‘D’ for how to build influence at work?