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Influencing Techniques with Arnie Skelton #2

In the second episode of this “Effective Top Tens” podcast, Arnie Skelton talks through his top ten tips for successfully influencing others.

He makes the point that influence is inevitable, so two key questions are:

  1. Is it an important part of your work, to influence others?
  2. And if it is – how do you do it?

Among many other things, Arnie talks about currencies, reciprocity, and how to make yourself likeable!

Top Ten Influencing Technique Tips for Teachers and FE Managers:

Manage the impression you make

We all have 3 key outlets through which others form an impression of us. How we look, sound and act. If we look friendly, sound friendly and act in a friendly way – then others will think of us as…friendly. Over time, and especially if we are consistent, our LSA becomes our DNA. So choose your LSA wisely…and if you should want to be thought of as friendly, but don’t LSA it – you are delusional.

Choose your label carefully

How you introduce yourself means giving yourself a label – so make sure it works for you, and in particular, in any particular setting.  People form impressions around labels, before they get a chance to know the real you.  Imagine I introduced myself to you as one of the following:

  • Manchester United fan
  • Buddhist
  • Divorced 3 times
  • Marathon runner
  • Writer
  • Northerner

Would you feel positively or negatively disposed towards me, depending on the label?

Put yourself out to put the other person in

If you want to influence someone positively, then they and their needs should be a major consideration – even if meeting them puts you out a little.  They’d prefer to eat at a vegetarian restaurant, you wouldn’t.  Doesn’t matter – put yourself out to put them in.  People tend to be influenced  by people who they are closest to – so you won’t have much success if you distance yourself from them, by prioritising your own preferences over theirs.

Think about currencies

If you were going to France for a holiday, what currency would you take?  I’m assuming you’d say Euros.  But if you’re from the UK, why not take £ – pounds stirling?  The answer’s pretty obvious: you wouldn’t get far, and you’d be dismissed as rude and self-centred, arrogant even.  Yet this applies in building relationships too; everyone has a set of currencies – ways they prefer to operate; how they ‘spend’ themselves; their ways.  And the sooner you can identify them, then match them, the sooner they will be at ease with, and accepting, of you….

Use cues and clues

Listen carefully.  Observe carefully.  The other person is always transmitting cues and clues – things you can make a mental note of, and refer to later.  They may tell you the names of their two daughters; or their favourite food; or the car they drive.  Make a mental note, and bring it back into the conversation at some time.  It is usually appreciated – often at the unconscious level: it is telling them that you have genuinely paid attention, and listened, and have a good memory….

Develop credibility

People tend to value, and be influenced by, someone’s credibility.  Their reputation or track record.  And especially if it comes from a valued third party…

Develop likeability

You don’t have to be attractive in the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie way.  What I mean by this is that people should generally feel comfortable and safe with you; they ‘like’ you.  They would be happy to sit at a meal table with you; or get into a good conversation with you.  You’d put them at ease…

Develop affinity

‘Affinity’ here means common ground – that you share something in common.  There are any number of contenders, you just have to seek them out:

  • background
  • interests
  • values
  • likes and dislikes
  • experiences

The more common ground you have, the more you are likely to associate with each other, talk to each other, and of course, be influenced by each other.

Understand reciprocity

Reciprocity is all about equalising.  Most people do not like being ‘one down’, or ‘in debt’ (this is sometimes called ‘indebtedness’).  If you’re at the pub, and everyone else has bought a round of drinks, you’ll feel it necessary to buy one – even if you don’t want a drink.  Some people can take advantage of this, by giving you a gift, or doing you a favour, knowing you will be under psychological pressure to reciprocate – equalise. So you may give something or concede something entirely because of the need for reciprocity, when under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t have given or conceded at all…

Be interested in their interest in their interest

It’s pointless to pretend to be interested in their interest if you are not – they will see through that straight away.  However, it is perfectly valid, and helpful, to be interested in THEIR interest in their interest:

  • how long have you had that hobby?
  • what made you start?
  • how many have you now got?
  • what’s your most valuable….?

…and so on.  That is something they will appreciate – and love talking about – so settle back for more cues and clues…

Effective Top Tens with Arnie Skelton

Arnie Skelton, Managing Director of Effective Training & Development Ltd, has spent the last 30 years working in a wide range of organisations, and all his tips are totally practical, and can be implemented by anyone, any time, at no financial cost.

There are 65 episodes in total in the Top Ten Tips for Teachers and #FE Managers Podcast Series. 

If you have enjoyed this series, or would like to suggest a new topic for Arnie to cover, please email Arnie Skelton with your comments and suggestions.

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