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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 March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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