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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

More by this author

Bruce Harpham

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

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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