To be effective in organizations today, building influence at work is essential. And it’s not always about having a fancy title. You will often be required to persuade others without necessarily having the authority. To some, this skill comes naturally. But to others, not so much. The good news is that you can learn to build influence at work in a way that motivates co-workers to adopt your perspective and support your goals.
There are also many benefits to having influence in the workplace. For one thing, it’s easier to get things done. As a result, you can be more productive, which usually results in a greater likelihood of getting promoted or receiving a raise. Another advantage is that you’ll be seen as someone who can bring people together from different parts of the organization, which is a valuable skill as you climb the corporate ladder.
But in a world of distractions and information overload, it’s never been more difficult to get people’s attention. In addition, most employees are working remotely, which makes establishing influence at work even harder. Yet, there are still ways to persuade others regardless of whether you are in the same location. Here are five ways you can build influence at work while cultivating personal relationships and making people want to support you.
Listen and build rapport
There’s nothing worse than trying to talk to someone who is scrolling through their text messages while you’re trying to convey an important point. Practice active listening to build rapport with teammates. That means paying attention and letting the other person know you are doing so. Once you’ve listened, repeat back what you heard and ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand them. This approach will make your colleagues feel respected and heard, which will help you build influence at work.
Check your tone and body language
Your body language is critical when you want to build influence at work. To deliver the right message, stand up straight with your shoulders back. By taking this stance, you will come across as more confident and powerful. Another trick is to keep your arms uncrossed and turn your body towards the person you are speaking with. This lets people know that you are approachable and open to their perspectives. Your tone of voice is also important. Practice lowering your tone a bit which will make you more convincing. It’s also a good way to combat nervousness, which tends to make your voice go higher. Studies even show that people who lower their voice pitch tend to feel more powerful and think more abstractly.
Become an expert
Being seen as an expert in your field is another way to increase your status at work. To do this, invest time and effort in your craft. Set specific goals and look for a mentor who can guide you. Make it a point to stretch yourself by taking classes in your field and attending webinars and conferences. By engaging in deliberate practice, you will be able to test out new skills and challenge yourself along the way.
Promote others’ ideas
A recent study conducted at Rochester Institute of Technology found that a simple technique called amplification can help boost your influence at work. This approach refers to publicly endorsing another person’s ideas with attribution. The study found that those who repeated or complimented another’s idea during a meeting were considered more influential than those who amplified their own ideas or stayed quiet.
Frame the issue as a win-win
Framing is an important tactic to build influence at work. Try to frame every negotiation as a win-win. That means being able to find the mutual benefit in all your interactions. With a win-win solution, everyone feels heard, satisfied and committed to the agreed-upon result.
You don’t have to be a C-suite executive to influence your peers. All it takes to build influence at work is communication that is intentional and inclusive. By positioning yourself as an informal leader, you can motivate colleagues to support your initiatives and ultimately accomplish great things.