10 Influencing Tactics at Work

We all need to get others to do things for us willingly, or persuade them of a point of view, without losing respect or be seen as aggressive. Our influencing tactics complement the '10 steps to Influencing' from an earlier newsletter (look them up at Influencing Skills course materials.

Feel free to circulate as e-learning to your staff.

Wrong Communication at Work
  • Influencing

1. Broken Record
Broken Record is simply repeating the same message, but using different words, during the conversation. For example:

Your 1st response: “I cannot meet your deadline for that work.”

Your 2nd response: “I appreciate that you need it for the 15th, however I cannot complete the work by the 15th”

Your 3rd response: “I am two short over the next few weeks, which is why your piece of work will not be finished by your deadline. What I can do is produce most of the work by the 15th, and the rest by the 18th”

2. Self Disclosure
‘Self Disclosure’ can be of great benefit to you in emphasising your communication, by expressing how you feel. When we continually suppress our feelings, and then they finally emerge, very often we lose control. By actually saying what we feel, we can release the anxiety that interferes with clear thinking and communication.

For example: “I feel frustrated that we are not making any progress and think that we should ......"; “I understand the reasons for your decision, however I do feel quite annoyed that.....”

3. What if
When faced with a stalemate in discussion, describe a possible solution e.g."I can see that you’re desperate to get that day off but I’ve also got to make sure there’s cover in the department. What if you talk to George, and see if he’s happy to swap shifts?”

It gives you and the other party a different slant on the problem, with a hope that it can move you further forward.

4. Use of Silence
Keep quiet for a few seconds after the other parties’ last response. Count to 3 slowly in your mind before countering with your response – it just may give an impetus to the discussion for the other party to give in to your request or offer a concession.

5. Fogging
Fogging involves training yourself to stay calm in the face of criticism, and agreeing with whatever may be fair and useful in it. By refusing to be provoked and upset by criticism, you remove its destructive power. For instance, if someone calls you stupid, you can agree that sometimes you are. After all, everyone does foolish things sometimes.

Phrases typically used when fogging include: 'That could be true', 'You're probably right'. 'Sometimes I think so myself', 'I agree', 'That's true', 'You're right' and 'You have a point there.'

6. Complementing
“George, you’re good at this, will you help me out with ……….”; “Jane, they tell me you’re the expert at ……. . Any chance you can help me out with this”; “From your experience, Karen, what would you recommend?” – got to be careful that you don’t come over as insincere.

7. Avoiding Accusation
Phrases such as “You said last week that...” (when they appear to have changed their mind or ignored what they promised) or “You’ve misread the information I sent you” may be viewed as accusational, and cause unproductive asides to a productive outcome.

Re-phrasing to “My understanding of our conversation was that.....” and “I can see that you‘ve interpreted it in that way, however the reality is that......”

8. Gaining Commitment
By getting the other party to confirm some action on their part, they may be more committed to achieving a productive outcome

e.g.: “So I’ve booked you in for next Tuesday the 21st at 10am. You will let us know if there’s a problem with that won’t you, Mr Jamali?”

9. Factual Persuasion
Use facts, figures, logic and the effect on the business. Avoid the ‘I sense’ / ‘I feel’ to describe the present situation

e.g.: “I feel that this new procedure isn’t working”. Instead use statistical evidence and/or examples of behaviour to back up the argument and describe the effect of the present situation on the team, department or organisation.

10. Avoiding Absolutes
Words like ‘always’, ‘never’ and ‘constantly’ are absolutes and should be avoided.

E.g.: “You’re always arriving late for appointments”; “You constantly interrupt me”; “You’re always arriving late for appointments”; “You always do what Jane wants to do”; “You never listen to a word I say”

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