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by Laurus Nobilis
My BrainCast

Human Resources

Phases of Influencing

Influencing Skill





The influencing is the key element of interaction and negotiation with clients. Also, influencing is very important during the communication within company too.


Posted: Mar 2012

The influencing is present in every sphere of the business. The process of business activities is based on interaction between carriers of process segments. During this process one person is influencing another person. Despite of the fact that the relation between process carriers should be predefined, still influencing skills plays a great deal.

For example, the salesman is offering the new price list to the retailer, but the retailer is not interested. Although it is normal to expect that retailer should be interested for the new products, sometimes the sales cannot go that smoothly.

Another example, the new supervisor is appointed, but the reaction of subordinates is repulsive. Again, by default the subordinates should respect the authority of new supervisor, but sometimes the reaction is opposite.

In both cases it is necessary to have more than just the position of power. It is necessary to possess sufficient influencing skills in order to direct the other party to desired actions.  

The influencing skill is primarily managerial skill, but is also related to non managerial position as well. The importance of this skill grows with the rank within hierarchy. The influencing skill is important within organization, but it is a necessary asset when it comes to interaction outside of the company as well.  

Person with developed influencing skill will be able to perform the business objectives more efficiently. The skill depends of the personality, but it can be developed as well. Here are the tips that can direct you in a structured way of building and maintaining your authority, through subtle steps and techniques.


Phase 1: Entry and Building Trust


  • Try to establish common ground – common interests, common experiences or a common need.

  • Common ground provides the bridge for further sharing of thoughts and feelings

  • Influencing Skills

    If people are to feel relaxed and comfortable with us, we need to respond to their style rather than try to impose our own.  For example, some people will need (and offer) a few minutes’ social chat before starting with business issues.  Others may be brisk and business-like because their needs are for results. The implications of this are that we need to notice the clues people give us of the style they feel comfortable with and be prepared to respond appropriately.

  • People rarely find ambiguity comfortable so it takes a simple agenda to achieve agreement.

  • Effective entry demands a genuine relaxed interest in the other parties.  It requires sensitivity to their needs and style and excellent listening skills.



Phase 2: Diagnosis - Understanding Client and Situation


The influencing is the key element of interaction and negotiation with clients. Also, influencing is very important during the communication within company too.

  • It helps to have some idea about the areas we want to diagnose – simply making a list and working through this unobtrusively and flexibly can sometimes be enough.

  • Diagnosis should include what is going on in the part of the organisation the person manages or works in.

  • It is important to listen and not defend our ideas or try to force them through.

  • Skills required are listening, asking open but unthreatening questions, summarising to check understanding and avoid premature judgements.

  • Diagnose the person and the situation.  When we know what they consider to be important, we can present a proposal that meets their needs in a way which makes it easier for them to say ‘yes’.

  • This sort of diagnosis requires gentle listening, questioning and summarising and careful observation of what the person actually does.



Phase 3: Intervention - Making ‘Yesable’ Proposals


  • The intervention is an action that changes the thinking.

  • The commonest form of an intervention is to make (or develop) a proposal to do something.  The proposal should produce a benefit that the client values.

  • You develop the intervention by responding to the needs shown in the diagnosis.

  • The process is tentative, not demanding.  This increases the client’s ownership of the solution and makes it more likely that he/she will improve it.

  • The problems people have in influencing are not at the intervention stage because we jump at selling them rather than building a good relationship first and then find out what people need.



Phase 4: Contracting - Reaching Clear Agreements


  • In order for the proposal actually to happen, you need to agree the details – who, when, where and how.

  • All those involved need to know what to expect, especially the influencer and the client.  Contracting is about making sure things go professionally and is very easy to neglect.

  • If you find it difficult to gain commitment down, there is a good chance that you did not have a real agreement to the intervention.



Phase 5: Transition - Following Through


  • Transition is about keeping the ball moving and the identified problem moving towards a solution.

  • Your approach might be to arrange a follow-up meeting to discuss the situation, or a series of follow-ups to ensure progress is being made and everyone is still committed and fulfilling their part of the agreement.

  • Where the work may have involved a group people learning new things, you might maintain the momentum by encouraging the group to take turns listening to each other’s experience of putting their learning into practice.

The influencing skills are the product of personal potential and development. Usually it takes both talent and development to reach significant influencing skill.


Related Reading:

Influencing Skills
Phases of Influencing
Coaching For High Performance
Guiding Principles of People Development



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