The art of influencing has the air of something akin to a ‘dark art’; mysterious at best, possibly manipulative and underhand at worst. In reality it is simply less tangible than many other workplace skills; more a dynamic process than a list of dos and don’ts. In this article, Alasdair Cant takes a look at the basics.
The origin of the word ‘influence’ is interesting. From the term ‘influere’ meaning ‘to flow in’, it suggests more about positioning rather than power, privilege or persuasion as is so often assumed. If we think about our position in relation to the person we are trying to exert influence on, there are a few critical questions we might ask ourselves. These questions should help us get on that person’s wavelength as far as possible.