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24 Important Tips On How To Exert Influence Over Others

24 Important Tips On How To Exert Influence Over Others
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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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