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24 Important Tips On How To Exert Influence Over Others

24 Important Tips On How To Exert Influence Over Others

Building influence is a challenging and worthwhile goal. More influence means that you can obtain followers, win promotions at work, have more friends, and have more opportunities in general. A recently published infographic based on Robert Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power gives us further insight on building influence.

1. Win with your actions, not arguments

We have all heard the expression “actions speaker louder than words.” However, this tip points out that a focus on action leads us to wins faster than focusing on speaking or writing. For example, if you are often mocked for being late to meetings, commit to arrive five minutes early for the next 10 meetings you attend, rather than giving excuses for your lateness.

2. Keep your hands clean of nasty deeds

Breaking the rules has a way of coming back to you. In our daily work, it is easy to take shortcuts to achieve results faster — for example, rushing through paper work to complete a sale. Instead, take the time to win the honest way.

3. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd

Personal branding and elevator pitches are all about making yourself memorable. These methods are widely taught because they make a huge difference when it comes to being remembered. There are two ways to become more memorable: build up expertise in a valuable skill and take a deep interest in other people.

4. Never outshine the master

When you are excellent at what you do, it is natural to seek admiration and advancement. However, there is a time and place for that activity. In the workplace, your boss has great influence over your prospects. Keep that in mind when you reference your accomplishments.

5. Always say less than necessary

In our always-on Internet culture, we have been conditioned to speak and share all the time. Constantly speaking raises two threats. First, you will have less energy to observe and listen to other people. Second, you are likely to run out of good ideas and start mentioning low-value concepts.

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In your next work meeting, focus on making a few valuable contributions, rather than out-talking everyone else.

6. Work as a spy

What is the greatest contribution that spies make? They collect valuable information and listen carefully. When you are around senior management or other influential people, be sure to observe them. How do they speak about the organization? What problems are they working to solve? Paying close attention to these points allows you to better communicate with them.

7. Learn to withdraw

From time to time, it is wise to withdraw. In Greene’s research, the purpose of withdrawing is to help people to recognize your value. Even if you are highly dedicated to success, taking a break from the arena is important. It gives you a chance to rest and seek new ideas. Even more important, many successful people — including Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs — have withdrawn for a time to overcome defeats.

Tip: How To Find Time For Yourself

8. Give people options that work in your favor

This recommendation takes thought and wisdom to apply. First, you have to be creative enough to develop several options. Many people make the mistake of simply presenting one option, take it or leave it. Secondly, you must look for a way that you can make a contribution in each project and focus on that.

9. Transform weakness into power

Think about your weaknesses in new ways. Instead of ignoring a weakness, take the time to get to know yourself better. For example, if you struggle with staying organized, learn the Weekly Review. Self knowledge is important to acquire. Otherwise, you risk falling victim to a blindspot and making the same mistake over and over again.

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10. Act like a king to be treated like one

How confident are you in your daily work? A robust sense of self confidence helps you to make an impression and move ahead. Improving your confidence starts with your language. Remove qualifiers from your speech. Make more statements and ask fewer questions. These tips will get you started on the path to being treated like a king.

11. Always be bold

For this insight, Greene reminds us of the rewards for taking risks. In romance, this could mean asking for dates even if you feel nervous. In the business world, being told means asking for the sale with a potential customer. Sales expert and trainer Zig Ziglar commented, “Timid salesmen have skinny kids.” The determination to do something challenging and uncomfortable will land you in the spotlight.

12. Master the art of good timing

Timing is a powerful skill that is well worth developing. With poor timing, your ideas and needs will be ignored, mocked, or worse. Good timing in business means knowing when to challenge your boss (and when to stay quiet). Not every battle is worth the challenge. If you struggle with timing, here is one way to get started: pause for 10 seconds before speaking when a thought occurs to you. That pause will give you a moment to decide if this is the right time and place to share.

13. Make sure not to offend the wrong person

Offending someone causes many problems for your career and the rest of your life. If you have caused a major offence, you may not be able to get that person’s attention again. If you are feeling angry, pause before you send an email or make a phone call. There’s nothing wrong with having strong feelings, but it does matter how you act on them.

14. Don’t fully commit to any side

In the investment world, we understand the value of diversification — holding numerous investments to manage risk. This principle also applies in a career context. While you may love working for your current company, realize that layoffs and other events can happen suddenly. Even worse, an unethical or abusive person may be promoted to management. In these cases, your best option is to leave the organization — commit to having several options.

15. Avoid the unhappy and the unlucky

The company you keep makes a big difference in your life. That’s why people spend money and time to attend conferences and join associations. The first step in putting this tip into action is to reduce the amount of time you spend with negative people. When you spend more time around happy and lucky people, you will be encouraged and learn about interesting opportunities.

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16. Pay attention and work on the hearts and minds of others

Most of us have heard about the value of emotional intelligence. It’s a vital principle. While reason and logic play a role in influence, this tip reminds us that most decision-making is emotional. That means you have to learn how to listen and make an effort to build relationships. If you are seeking a promotion, take the time to learn about the managers who make promotion decisions. They may emphasize different results and values than you think (for example, the ability to develop staff and achieve results).

17. Make other people come to you

Becoming a “go-to person” is a great way to develop your influence. You may become known as the person who is able to influence upset customers. That’s a valuable skill in sales, customer service, and many other jobs. By building a reputation for great results, you will make people come to you for help.

18. Follow your own path and don’t get lost in someone else’s shadow

In the long term, it is more exciting to work on your own goals. In the short term, there is nothing wrong with studying with a master — that’s a key concept from Greene’s book Mastery. After a few months or a year, reassess the situation and decide whether it’s time to move on to a new job.

19. Plan ahead so you’re not overwhelmed by potential consequences

Planning is the quiet method that many successful people use to get ahead. Building the Weekly Review habit is an excellent way to prevent painful surprises — no more failing to prepare for important meetings with customers or your boss. In addition, you can use planning to reduce risk. This can mean purchasing insurance to cope with the risk of theft or loss in your business.

20. Never appear to be too perfect

Striving for great results is well worth the effort. In contrast, there’s not much point in going for perfect for two reasons. First, you will avoid taking chances and miss out on opportunities to grow if you focus solely on perfection. Second, your coworkers and friends will find it difficult to relate to you if you always come across as perfect.

To go deeper on this tip, watch “The power of vulnerability,” an outstanding TED talk by Brené Brown.

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21. Always pay the full price instead of cutting corners

Success often involves long hours of grinding work. There’s just no way around it in some cases. The very best musicians often play scales and other exercises each and every day. In the workplace, making a single sale is good, yet it is only the start. You will start to achieve influence after you make dozens of sales per month and find yourself winning awards.

22. Make sure your accomplishments seem effortless

Are you still talking about how busy you are each day? Few people are impressed by effort alone. Instead, apply yourself to your work and avoid seeking constant validation from others on social media. Just think about Olympic-level athletes — we’re interested in seeing their top skills in action, not hundreds of practice sessions.

23. Create compelling spectacles

Delivering the goods at work matters, but it is not enough to win influence, fame, and money. Sometimes, there’s a need for spectacles. For example, when you have your annual salary review with your boss, prepare an impressive document for the meeting. Your presentation may include letters or emails from important customers and well-designed charts demonstrating your results.

24. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public actions

Public-speaking skills allow you to share your message and stand apart from everyone else at work. When you give a presentation, make use of dramatic devices such as repeating your points (a classic tip from Winston Churchill), using visual aids (this is how Steve Jobs presented new Apple products), and using humor. Learning these skills takes practice. You can get started this week by joining ToastMasters.

Featured photo credit: Robert Greene/Robert Greene via 48lawsofpower.powerseductionandwar.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

15 Office Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Productivity at Work

15 Office Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Productivity at Work

Where you work has an enormous impact on how you work – on your ability to focus (and stay focused) and your overall ability to be productive. That means the design of your office, whether you work at home or in a larger company environment, is of supreme importance. This isn’t just about Feng Shui, this is about producing results and getting things done.

According to studies done on workplace and productivity, the most significant factor in determining an employee’s ability to focus is their physical environment. In fact, it’s been said that a well-designed office can increase your productivity about 20%. However, despite the studies and statistics, nearly half of the employers interviewed don’t consider workplace design a good business investment.

So what is a productivity hack to do? What if you work in an environment that doesn’t promote focus?

Check these 15 factors and make changes where you can. A little adjustment can produce a lot of impact.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important factors in staying focused and feeling inspired to create, yet it’s one of the most overlooked and least invested in. Bad lighting can cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches and overall irritability. Dark spaces can actually produce depression.

If you work in a company office:
You probably have no control over your general lighting so bring in your own, if need be. Consider using natural light bulbs or a light therapy device.

If you work from a home office:
Open the windows and doors and let natural light in. Using lamps in a variety of areas for cloudy days or when it’s dark.

Chair and Table

If you’ve ever sat at a desk to do work but found yourself adjusting, stretching and moving too often to actually stay focused, then you’re aware of the importance of having a correctly fitted table and chair. In today’s work environment where so many of us are sitting for most of our day, it is critical that your throne fits your body probably.

Consider these quick ergonomic checks:

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  • Eyes 24-36 inches from the computer screen. The top of the monitor should be below or at eye-level.
  • Feet should be on a foot rest or resting on the floor.
  • A slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce pressure on your spine and minimize lower back pain.

If you work in a company office:
Ask for an adjustable chair. Add pillows for your lower back or bum, if you need it. Many companies will also provide risers for computers to adjust the height of your computer screen (and a separate keyboard to keep your hands and wrists in the ideal position)

If you work from a home office:
Invest in a decent chair or at least use a few pillows to make the chair more comfortable. If the table is too high, add pillows to your chair. If it is too low, consider buying leg risers from your local hardware store and using books beneath your computer to raise the screen. Use a separate keyboard.

Clutter

Your mama was right, it’s important to clean up your room. Clutter may help the creative mind create, but it isn’t necessarily helpful for focus and productivity.

If you work from a company office: While you can’t control the cleanliness of the office at large, do keep your own environment around you clean. Spend 10 minutes every morning or evening making sure things are put away, filed, organized and generally out of sight so you’re not distracted by it later.

If you work from a home office: Because you work from home, the entire house or apartment is potential for distraction. If you can afford it, hire a professional cleaning service to keep your home clean. If not, schedule a specific day and time to clean your home. Commit to doing daily pickup at a specific time. And spend at least 10 minutes every day making sure your office  is organized and tidy.

Room Color

The colors around us all have an effect on our moods and brain function. It evokes both a physical and emotional response. So choosing the right colors for your work space has the ability to affect your productivity. For instance, blue has been said to illicit productivity. Mind you, too much of anything can be overwhelming, even color.

If you work from a company office: Bring in items from home that are a certain color that inspire you and keep you focused. Use postcards, magazine cutouts, even just blocks of color will do.

If you work from a home office: If you work from home, you have much more control over the colors around you. Consider repainting a wall, adding color to the table you work at, or hanging pictures that are dominated by a specific color.

Room Temperature

Most offices keep their temperatures around 65-68 Fahrenheit but it turns out that this might not be good for productivity. Warmer rooms actually make people more productive.

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If you work from a company office: Most offices are regulated by somebody else, so bring a space heater, sweaters and blankets to your work space.

If you work from a home office: Depending on the season, open the windows or adjust the heat or a/c so that you’re more comfortable and warm. Pile on the sweaters in the winter or add a space heater to your feet.

Room Scents

Like the color of the space you work in, our sense of smell can powerfully affect our mood, mindset and thus our productivity. Consider adding scents to your work space to jar your mind into focus when you start to notice yourself drifting off.

Try using these scents to stay focused:

  • Pine – Increases alertness
  • Cinnamon – Improves focus
  • Lavender – Helps to relax you during a stressful work day
  • Peppermint – Lifts your mood
  • Citrus (any) – Wakes you up  and lifts your spirits

If you work from a company office: Most people will not appreciate added scents to their work environment so you’ll need to keep it subtle. Keep essential oils in your bag or drawer and when you’re in need of a boost put a few drops on a handkerchief or cotton ball.

If you work from a home office: Use candles, incense or essential oils. You can also simmer herbs and spices in the kitchen to fill your home with a warm scent.

Noise Level

The noise level in a work environment can vary greatly depending on the size of the team you work with, the office design and company culture. But make no mistake, the noise around you affects your ability to stay on task. Not only can it be distracting, it can also raise stress levels making your ability to sustain productivity far more difficult.

If you work from a company office: Bring in noise cancellation headphones and use music services like Spotify or Songza and choose concentration boosting sounds, like white noise.  Find out if your office offers quiet work spaces for times when you need the utmost focus.

If you work from a home office: Sometimes the complete quiet can be as distracting as an office. Use a service like Coffivity to mimic the noise of a coffee shop, which has been said to help with concentration.

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Air Quality

Air quality can drastically affect our ability to focus and think clearly. Get this: OSHA estimates that the total annual cost of poor air quality in office environments costs employers $15 billion “due to worker inefficiency and sick leave.” Yeah, it’s serious business.

If you work from a company office: Talk to them about installing air filters. If there is a way to bring in fresh air through windows or doors, arrange to have them opened for at least a portion of the day. If nothing else, get a personal air filter to have on your desk or nearby.

Also, get a plant (or better yet, have the company buy and use more plants in the office!). Plants are great at filtering the air and providing clean, purified oxygen.

If you work from a home office: Open windows and doors and let in the fresh air. Install an air filter or get a portable air filter to keep near your desk. And, yes, you too should get a plant.

Different Spaces

If you can manage it, give yourself more than one space to work from. Putting yourself in a new space with different qualities and things to look at quite literally shifts your brain and helps you stay focused.

If you work from a company office: Many offices offer a variety of environments to work from: your personal space, lobbies, break out rooms, conference rooms, kitchens and eating areas and, if you’re lucky, they also provide lounge areas. Use all these spaces to vary your routine. Make sure your supervisor knows so they don’t think you’re slacking off and know tat you’re actually getting more done!

If you work from a home office: If you work at a desk, add a comfortable couch or chair to the room. If your space is less flexible or ultra tiny, think about more creative ways to change your work space. Rotate the pictures on your walls every couple of days. Sit on the other side of your desk. Get a lamp and multiple colored bulbs. Or go work at a café, the library or in a park.

Organization of People

Most employers organize employees around job function or in specific divisions. Instead, studies show that people are more creative and productive when they are sitting with colleagues that share the same goal or client. Not only are you able to get answers and generate solutions quicker, but because you’re directly accountable to the people around you, you’re more likely to stay on task and productive.

If you work from a company office: Ask your employer if you can experiment by clustering your group together in a conference room for a day or a week. Get feedback from everybody involved. Show the results. If your company won’t make permanent adjustments, perhaps they’ll allow you to work together a couple times a week when the conference room or lounge area is free.

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If you work from a home office: This is a little bit more difficult because when you work at home you’re not with colleagues. You can recreate a similar space digitally, however. Create a Skype group and have everyone logged in during working hours. You can do morning accountability and check-ins while remaining available for questions, solution-finding and general banter that promotes creativity.

Idea Storage

Ever been working hard when you’re suddenly distracted by a great idea? At first you try to push it away, but then the next thing you know you’re 20 pages deep into an online search on the topic. Ideas should be encouraged and cultivated, but when they come right in the middle of another task it can be incredibly distracting. Instead, create a place to store your ideas that’s easily accessed from your work space.

For both a company and home office: Keep pads of paper around, have a chalk wall, get a white board – when you have a spark of inspiration write it down right away to get it out of your head then return to the task at hand. Then, at the end of the day or when you have free time, collect all the ideas and review them. With a little time and space you can better decide if it’s worth pursuing or better to leave it on the back-burner.

Refreshment

Our brain needs nourishment to keep going, especially when we’re driving hard and staying focused. You can let a rumbling stomach go on for only so long before the brain shuts down. Assuming your different is like wanting your car to keep driving without having to stop and fill it with gas. A novel idea, but not realistic.

If you work from a company office: Pre-make snacks for the day and/or week. Or, bring in prepackaged snacks. Keep in mind that junk food has properties of diminishing returns so if you’re buying your food prepackaged think nuts, fruit, unsweetened yogurts, and hummus and crackers. Likely, your company provides coffee, tea and water so you don’t have to worry about supplying that for yourself.

If you work from a home office: If you work from home, this can be a key distraction. Try to reduce the number of times you walk into the kitchen each day. To do this, keep quick and   easy snacks pre-made or prepackaged ready and near your desk. Keep a water bottle nearby. And consider bringing a kettle into your office and stocking tea and coffee so you’re   not tempted to wander around the house and lose time poking through the pantry.

Bring in Nature

We are biological creatures, first and foremost. So we are deeply affected by our access to (or lack of) the natural world. It’s important for our psychological and physiological functioning, which directly affects our ability to be productive.

If you work from a company office: If you don’t have windows in or near your work space, bring in pictures of the outdoor world. Keep a picture of something natural as your screensaver and/or desktop wallpaper. Take walks outdoors at lunch or in between major tasks. Just a few minutes outside in the fresh air and sunshine can boost our mood and shake out the doldrums. Be sure to add a plant to your desk, too!

If you work from a home office: Keep the shades open and, if you can, let in fresh air. If you can’t see anything natural out of your window, keep pictures of the natural world as your screensaver and/or desktop wallpaper. Take walks. Or, just step outside and put your feet on the ground. Put plants in your office – research shows that having live plants in your office makes you more productive, happier and less stressed.

Digital Space

For most people, our primary work is housed within our laptops and our physical environment simply the backdrop to our digital lives. Make sure your computer has software that helps you sculpt the digital environment that best elicits productivity. Use focus apps like this one or this to decrease distractions. Or design your day using intervals with an app like this one to keep you at your peak focus throughout the day.

Featured photo credit: Phil Desforges via unsplash.com

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