Have you ever thought to yourself, I want to increase my communication skills? Or, maybe you’ve thought, if I could just become a more adept leader? And then life gets in the way, and you get wrapped up in your daily to-dos, and developing your ability to influence interactions falls by the wayside.
The upside, your intuition knew exactly what you should be focusing on. Surprise, not really, you have great intuition, and already knew that. But in the workplace, it can be tough to trust your gut, corporate politics are at play, and your daily action items pile up, pushing your gut off to the more pressing, but less important, things that just need to get done.
The downside, if you continue pushing off your ability to influence interactions, you form the habit as the busy-bee who outworks everyone, but doesn’t necessarily get compensated accordingly. And even more-so, your network cements their view of you as the same.
Countless data points support emotional intelligence, or as I like to refer to it “influencing interactions” as the top workplace skill resulting in winning promotions and overall success. So I ask you, what percentage of success in your career comes from influencing interactions? Go ahead, think of a number?
I usually get an average response of 70%. In that case 70% of your success on the job is related to your ability to exhibit a high-level of influence over interactions in your workplace. I'll say that again, 70%!
The question I have for you is if you said, 70% of your success on the job comes from influencing interactions, do you spend 70% of your time honing that skill-set? Likely, you don't.
Be radically honest with yourself, have you spent even an hour over the last month working on that skill? I doubt it. That’s okay, that's what we are here for. To highlight, the small adjustments you know that you should make to pave the way to your network seeing you in a whole new light. Ultimately, leading to a promotion because of your expanded influence in the workplace.
Let's dive into three key guiding principles to begin the process and release the alpha inside of you. We explore two concepts from Dale Carnegie’s 1936 book on How to Win Friends and Influence People and combine them with a law from Robert Greene’s 1998 book, 48 Laws of Power.
Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People - Arouse an eager want. Carnegie frequently fished in Maine, and he was a man particularly fond of berries and cream, but for some strange reason fish prefer worms over berries and cream. Carnegie didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream, he baited it with worms. He didn’t think about what he wanted, but rather what the fish wanted. In short, bait the hook to suit the fish. But how do we know what to bait it with?
Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People - Become genuinely interested in other people
48 Laws: Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self interest, never to their mercy or gratitude
Maintaining the theme of radical honesty, how often do you find yourself asking someone about their weekend when you don’t really care? The truth is, each person is starring in their own Hollywood movie. The key is to hit pause on your movie. I challenge you have to have two conversations this week with an individual that you want something from, or want to influence and focus on being interested rather than interesting. Then leave the conversation, think about what that person said, and continuously ask yourself - “how does what they want align with what I want?” Once you can genuinely answer that question, engage in the other conversation, where you begin by appealing to their self-interest, try using some of the exact words or phrases they used when asking for what you want.
Find a chance to influence an interaction this week by arousing an eager want. How?
Have two conversations where you focus on being genuinely interested, and then take that information and appeal to your counter-parties self-interest before you own. I think you’ll be shocked to find how much time you save yourself with this approach. Manage the minutia to budget mental-bandwidth for the important.