How to Influence

In today’s business world the L&D function has an increasingly important role to play at the top table – in the boardroom.  Talent and capability are front of mind for most CEOs who struggle to ensure that:

  • their business is agile enough to thrive as the high rate of change in the market continues
  • they attract and retain the right people and
  • their people have the right capability to deliver.

In many cases L&D professionals need to educate their stakeholders to move away from the old perception of L&D being seen as a cost centre and ancillary to the business’s central function towards that of L&D being a true enabler and profit contributor intrinsic to its’ success.  L&D professionals increasingly need to bring challenge to the business, to be seen as performance experts and advisors.  But changing perceptions can be tough.  It requires highly effective influencing skills.

Tom and Jerry have developed the C3 Model of Influencing™, which they have taught in their open courses and which has been proven in a wide variety of influencing situations.  The Model encapsulates the three foundations of how to influence effectively, bringing practical tips and techniques to ensure that you developing your abilities in each area thereby increasing your influencing skill.

The C3 Model of Influencing™

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Confidence

Everyone is confident in some situations but it is important to be confident in all of your influencing situations. This is sometimes difficult if you are dealing with a very senior stakeholder or someone with whom you find it difficult to communicate. There is a distinction between surface confidence and deep confidence. Surface confidence can be created ‘in the moment’ through applying approaches such as diaphragmatic breathing and visualisation whereas deep confidence comes from your mind set. The good news is that both surface and deep confidence can be developed.

Credibility

Credibility comes from the Latin Credo which means ‘I believe’, so its about your believability.  Credibility is communicated by your knowledge, experience, position and credentials. But it is also communicated in your body language and voice tone. The voice tone of ‘credible’ is more monotone with sentences ending in a downward inflection and the body language uses palms-down and face-on stance. There are simple techniques you can use to make yourself appear more credible.

Connection

Connection is about creating common ground, or rapport, with the person you need to influence. You do this through matching body language and engaging in conversation about things you both enjoy. Connection is also demonstrated by more variety in your voice tone and body language that uses more palms-up and a side-on stance in communication.

How to Use the C3 Model

To know how to influence people it is important to have mastered all three of these components and to consider when you need to show or build credibility or connection. For example, at the beginning of a meeting you may need to build a little credibility first – perhaps by summarising an issue or asking an insightful question – and then you may need to focus on developing your connection by seeking some common ground. When the conversation approaches a decision point you can use credible voice tone and body language to put the message or question across.

The key to this model your ability to adapt. Each of us has a preference (often one that we are not consciously aware of) towards either credibility or connection and we tend to approach business relationships through this preference. So, if I have an unconscious preference for connection I will tend to focus on connection more than credibility in my business relationships. This might lead to relationships that feel very comfortable but fail to deliver when they need to in terms of outcome for the business. If my personal preference is for credibility then I might more easily develop relationships with other people who filter for credibility but my relationships with connection- oriented people might lack the warmth and sense of common ground that would support an excellent working relationship.

Developing your skills

  • Understand your preference: credible or connection?  Think about those people where you have an ‘easy’ relationship. Are these relationships based on connection or credibility?
  • Be curious about the other person: look for clues that will help you gauge the communication needs of the other person – are you a credible communicating with a connector or a connector communicating with a credible?
  • Adapt – one step at a time: pick one or two aspects of your approach that you wish to develop. For example, if you are a connector, consider how you can build even more credibility through your voice tone and body language and commit to trying something different.
  • Reflect: a key aspect of developing skills and behaviours is to reflect on something you have adapted and consider the result of that change.

You can find out much more about our C3 Model of Influencing™ and how you can use it in The Financial Times Guide to Business Training.  Also, our comprehensive e-book provides an effective self-directed skills building guide to develop your abilities in this important area.  Please email info@ftguidetobusinesstraining.com if you would like to know more about our e-book.