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Dominate the Conversation in Your Industry

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ConverstaionAs a professional who has spent many years in your industry, you have the expertise to spot trends and potential problems. But how do you get your voice heard? By positioning yourself to sway the conversation in your industry, you can be a force of change and create credibility that increases sales as well. Follow the three steps below to become an influencer in your industry.

Focus on Your Niche

Unless you are Leonardo da Vinci, it is likely that your expertise is strongest in a particular niche. To be the authority on a subject, you need to devote your focus to one area that you are highly knowledgeable about. This means committing to staying current in your area of expertise as well as having the knowledge and foresight to analyze trends and anticipate where things are heading in the future. Broaden that niche too much, and you lose the ability to speak authoritatively on a subject in a way that makes your voice one that is listened to.

Make Time for Social Media

You probably are not going to be asked to be an expert panelist on CNN today. On social media, however, you already have an audience. For those serious about becoming an influencer in their area of expertise, social media isn’t a nuisance or waste of time. On the contrary, it is one of the first channels available to get your voice heard. Regularly plan time for creating concise and well-written statements for social media that highlight your expertise on a subject. This might involve a short daily block of time when you create a single post or two or a longer block on one day of the week where you create several posts that you schedule to release over the course of a week.

Book Seminars

As you begin to gain attention for your area of expertise, it pays to move beyond the screen to speaking to people face to face. Booking a seminar to educate people in your chosen field of interest can set you apart as someone worth listening to. Make time to attend seminars as well. This provides you with opportunities to network with others interested in your area of expertise as well as providing an opportunity to learn from others in your field.

Let your passion for your niche shine through and be a force of change for good. The benefits will not only be reflected in sales, but also in helping shape the future of your industry.

How Aristotle Invented Influence Training

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While we may think the basics of public speaking starting recently, it was actually 2,300 years ago that Aristotle recorded his theory on effective public speaking. He espoused the importance of ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic) to influence behavior. His principles are still the key foundation for negotiations training. Here’s how Aristotle’s tenets have shaped the art of argument and influence in business today.

Ethos – The Speaker’s Character

To persuade anyone of anything, you must appear credible. Regardless of what you wear, how solid your company is, or even how your reputation may precede you, if your listener has reason to question your credibility, your negotiations will suffer. Aristotle says a credible speaker conveys three qualities:

  • Competence – The knowledge and ability to do what you say you can do.
  • Good Intention – You intend to do good for your listener.
  • Empathy – The listener feels as if you have been in their shoes.

Ethos is both articulated and nonverbal. Your demeanor, body language, and tone all play a role in your perceived credibility. It’s about your audience’s perception of you and your ability to control that perception. To improve ethos, develop expertise in the subject you’re going to be speaking about. Learning more and growing more comfortable in the subject matter will allow you to speak confidently and convey knowledgeable insight.

Pathos – The Speaker’s Emotional Influence

If your goal is to persuade, you must make an emotional connection. Aristotle said if people feel anger, the speaker should discover with whom they are angry and why. The first step in doing this is to have a basic knowledge of your audience. What are their values and beliefs? Use techniques that appeal to their emotions and offer something they desire.

Choose presentation techniques with which your audience can identify. Use humor to get them laughing with you. Tell a story to draw them in and help them make personal connections. Use words that are charged with the emotion you seek to convey. Offer carefully chosen visuals so your audience sees what you have seen.

Logos – The Speaker’s Appeal to Reason

Only after you have established credibility and made an emotional connection, should you proceed with your logical statement. This step is as important as the other two, but, without ethos and pathos, logos will fail.

Evaluate your message to be sure it makes sense. Use plain language that everyone in your audience can understand. Repeat key ideas so they stand out. Present facts, statistics, and evidence to back up what you’re saying. Give your audience a clear call to action so they know what to do with what they’ve experienced.

Keep ethos, pathos, and logos in your mind the next time you come to the negotiation table.

 

How to Influence High-End Clients

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Many business owners are so preoccupied with the task of acquiring more customers, they stop attracting the right customers. Even in the world of retail and services, sometimes quality is much more important than quantity. For many small and large businesses, high-end clients can significantly boost monthly revenue, profitability, and growth. All you need to do is know how to reach and influence them.

Step One: Mindset

Before you can start bringing in those premium clients, you must be mentally prepared. It’s not enough to just want to bring them in. You also have to believe in yourself and your product and stop any negative thoughts before they even begin. “I can’t imagine charging such a high price,” or “Who am I to work with these high-end people?” are the sort of phrases you should avoid at all costs. Identify and dispose of those thoughts, or you could end up limiting yourself from the beginning.

 

Step Two: Build a Customer Profile

Before you can target your ideal customer, you must know who they are. Building a customer profile will allow you to put yourself in their shoes and think about the sort of products and services they need and how to market to them.

Draft at least one profile (more are better), complete with demographics of the customer to whom you want to appeal. Age, income, sex, location, industry, emotional buying triggers, and company size are all things to consider. The more specific you are, the more thoroughly you’ll be able to understand their point of view.

 

Step Three: Create the Right Message

Now that you know who your ideal customers are and what they want, create a message that will appeal to them. It should communicate the feeling or ideal end-result your products or services offer. Remember, people make purchases based on their benefits and emotional appeal. Use the most effective angle for your customer profile

 

Choose Your Channels

Premium clients, in all likelihood, won’t be visiting the same channels as more mainstream consumers. Some will be reachable through online campaigns and traditional outlets, while others will rely primarily on referrals and networks. Think about how you’re likely to get to them, and focus your efforts there. It may take some mixing and matching to get the results you’re looking for, but, again, your customer profile will be helpful.

Planning ahead is the most important part of reaching premium clients. Put your effort into fine-tuning your understanding of your customers, and it’s sure to pay off.

How to Influence Without Being Pushy

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Sometimes leads are already interested before you start your pitch, but how you attempt to influence them will make or break the deal. There’s a big difference between influencing and selling – your audience is less likely to take your words to heart if you come off as pushy, rehearsed, or “salesy.”

When it comes to influencing people, a few key strategies will lead you to more effective interactions with more positive results. Keep the following in mind.

Build Trust

When you have rapport with other people, it’s easier to speak with them. You need to be able to reach people on a personal level while staying professional. Carefully listen to their concerns and address them fully. Try to take your resolution a step beyond what they may expect from you to show them you are acting with their best interests in mind. Find common ground and work from there. You cannot force people to do things. Instead, you should try to persuade them to want what you want.

Focus on Positives

Of course, you want to be able to relate to the other party if you want them to see things your way, but it’s important to stick to your guns while staying positive. Instead of sympathizing with their complaints, get them to focus on the positive aspects of your discussion. Demonstrate value and emphasize how they will benefit from the decision you want them to make.

Speak Naturally

You may work on your speaking technique in private, but it’s important to be prepared without sounding rehearsed. If you want to influence people, the number one way to fail is to to be unprepared and not know what you are trying to say or sound like you’re selling something or reading from a script. Speak as you would in any other conversation (again, remember to stick to your professional boundaries) and be relaxed. Pay close attention to body language – both the other party’s and your own. Don’t come off as rigid, closed-off, or unapproachable. People will be more willing to converse and be influenced if it feels natural.

Generate Enthusiasm

One of the best methods of influencing others to do what you want is to demonstrate what an amazing opportunity they have and make them excited to see it happen. Generating energy and enthusiasm is a great way to get others on board with your vision and get them to see things from your perspective.

Be Adaptable

Your conversation style needs to be flexible – you can’t speak with everyone in the same way, and every interaction has unique factors that you need to consider. This is the biggest reason that maintaining a natural demeanor is important – when you lock yourself into a routine, it becomes much harder to deal with the unexpected. To influence the other party, you need to be on your toes and ready to handle any question or concern they have. .

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your next major conversation. Remember that influencing is all about getting other people to want what you want – not hammering them until they see things your way.

4 Simple Ways to Build Credibility (And Influence People)

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Building credibility is the first step toward influencing others. You wouldn’t want your team to say yes to someone who walked off the street with zero credentials—and neither does the client you’re pitching to. How does one build credibility in a world where businesses come and go at supersonic speeds? With honesty, authenticity, and a little bit of good old-fashioned gumption.

#1: Learn What Today’s Businesses Want to Hear

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey on corporate credibility, a certain set of factors typically influence corporate reputation. When asked what the most important factors were to corporate reputation, 83% of subjects answered, “Transparent and honest practices.” Another 83% answered, “[A] company I can trust.” Compare these responses to a mere 45% of subjects who believe “financial returns” to be the most important factor—or the 58% who said, “prices fairly.”

#2: Establish Your Brand’s Authenticity

Businesses don’t want to hear about how well your company is doing this quarter. Sure, that might establish that your enterprise isn’t going under anytime soon, but it doesn’t express your trustworthiness. Instead, touch on these points during a negotiation:

• Your company’s loyal customer following
• The values your company commits to 100%
• Topics your company is passionate about
• Your company’s authenticity, proven by a blog or social media presence

By focusing on what gives your company heart, you can establish your brand’s personality. When you let the party you’re influencing get to know you and your brand, he or she will make a judgment based on an emotional connection.

#3: Support Your Claims With Statistics

Nothing builds credibility like cold, hard facts. Numbers don’t lie. If you have relevant statistics about your brand you can cite during negotiations, client will have no choice but to see that you’re credible. For example, simply stating that your client base is made up of “a lot” of returning clients sounds weaker than stating, “75% of our clients are repeat customers who come back to our company for consistent high quality.”

#4: Stick to Your Guns

A brand that wavers on its core values, beliefs, and life’s work is a banner brand for fickleness. Don’t change your values according to what you think a client wants to hear. Instead, establish your brand based on original intent for the company. During negotiations training, teach your employees to stand firm on your company’s core values. Steep your brand in concrete beliefs and confidence, and your clients will recognize you as a voice of authority—someone they trust and want to work with.

How to Negotiate an Extra Day Off from Work

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The workforce is more competitive than ever these days. With the economy on the upswing, more businesses are trying to find employees and entice those who may have given up on finding steady work. This being said, we all need a day off from work occasionally. Whether you’re sick, dealing with a family emergency, or just need a “mental health day,” a day off gives you the chance to rest, recharge, and breathe. You can negotiate for extra time successfully if you follow the right tips.

Know Your Workplace’s Policies

Every workplace, and often every department supervisor, has a different policy when it comes to time off. Some companies, such as Xerox, allow employees to buy extra vacation time, deducting from your pay using pre-tax dollars. Others have similar leave without pay (LWOP) policies, and some will allow leave with pay depending on the circumstances.

For example, you are more likely to get leave with pay to take care of a chronically ill child or other family member. However, never take any policy for granted. Do your homework, especially in regard to your department or supervisor. How often does this department or person grant extra time off? Under what circumstances? How many vacation or sick days are negotiable? Answer these questions before ever bringing up extra time off.

Be Calm

Negotiating extra time off can sometimes be emotional. You may want the extra time because you’ve been given a heavier workload than usual, or perhaps you are expected to do others’ work without overtime or credit. You may need the extra time because you’re unexpectedly ill or because a family member has a serious need.

These situations can tempt you to get angry or even cry during negotiations. Try to avoid this. Although most employers are understanding, too much emotion is off-putting. Anger especially can make you look disrespectful or ungrateful. If you have a pressing need or a grievance related to extra time off, take a deep breath and prepare yourself. You could even practice the request with a trusted colleague.

Respond to Needs

Ideally, you’ll ask for extra time off when it’s convenient for both you and your boss. Sometimes though, this isn’t possible. If you must ask for extra time off during a busy season, be prepared to compromise. If you really want a week, perhaps you could compromise and take three days. If you need four days, maybe you can take two.

Empathize with your supervisor. Say something like, “I know we’re in a busy time. What can I do to help?” Offer to check in during your time off, or come in on a day you’d normally be absent to make up for the extra time. Additionally, offer to work with the people who’ll cover for you so they know exactly what your duties entail.

Be Confident and Warm

When negotiating for time off, be confident, but be friendly. Avoid “closed” body language like crossed arms; this can make you look demanding. Emphasize your hard work or remind your boss of something you’ve done well, but don’t say things like, “I deserve this.” If you’d like extra help, check out our negotiation training for assistance.

How to Invite Employees to Integrate Your Vision

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Onboarding can be an overwhelming time for new employees, but integration should happen as early as possible – without sacrificing the employee’s individuality. There are a huge number of personality types that get hired into the workplace, so there is no one-size-fits-all technique for inviting employees into the culture. There are, however, certain steps employers can take to ensure their company’s visions are upheld by both existing and new employees.

Be Clear About the Company’s Culture

Unless your company is forthright and precise with its descriptions of itself and its culture, employees will have no way of knowing where they should fit or, for that matter, what they are working to fit into.

Arm yourself with a variety of materials that detail what your organization stands for. Some helpful things to include in your onboarding process are an in-depth company history, the central tenets of the business, and a detailed code of conduct and dress. Dress codes are particularly important when communicating expectations. A relaxed dress code can denote a more laid back and open-minded organization, while strictly professional guidelines communicate that the culture is highly focused on professionalism.

Schedule Personal Time With Employees

New hires and existing employees both benefit from some personal face to face interaction with their supervisors. By sure to schedule coffee trips, lunches, and in-office chats with employees on a regular basis to keep your finger on the pulse of their experience. This personal time allows management to assess how the employees are fitting into and embodying the culture of their organization, and can be a great tool in assessing and addressing issues which may arise or have arisen.

Ensure Management Is Leading By Example

Employees often look to their supervisors or managers for cues on acceptable behavior. Therefore, it is essential that the managerial staff hold themselves to the highest standards when it comes to embodying company culture. If your establishment is a suit-and-tie organization, for instance, and one partner regularly arrives in a sweater and jeans, employees will see this as a sign that the culture isn’t entirely applicable. This will create a weakness within the organization and potentially lead to confusion for new hires.

Facilitate a culture in line with the organization’s values. This is one of the best ways to encourage your company to grow in the directions you would like it to. When taking on new hires or coaching existing employees, keep the heart of your organization in mind.

Succeeding in the Workplace with a Disability

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As the world becomes more inclusive, more businesses are hiring people with disabilities. While this is good, many workers with disabilities are coming into the workforce without necessary skills, particularly negotiation skills. There are a few key workplace negotiation skills that will help workers with disabilities succeed.

Assertiveness

People with disabilities have usually spent their lives being told “no.” It’s not usually anyone’s fault; the natural tendency is to focus on what the person can’t do or will not be able to do. Because of this, many people with disabilities struggle to assert themselves, especially as adults. They think they won’t get what they want so shouldn’t bother asking or that others will get upset when asked for things. It’s crucial that people with disabilities know how to kindly, but confidently ask for –

  • Reasonable modifications. In the workplace, this is often a safety and quality of work issue.
  • Competitive salaries. Many disabled workers are used to performing low-wage jobs. They may not know they can ask for raises or think they will be considered deserving of them. However, competitive salaries are a major part of inclusion. Remember, equal pay for equal work.
  • Equal time. Whether this involves time to speak at meetings, time in training or at seminars, or time negotiating with supervisors, workers with disabilities need the same considerations as their non-disabled peers. The same goes for vacation time and sick leave.

 Creativity

Part of being a good negotiator is being creative. Just because an idea won’t work when implemented one way doesn’t mean it won’t work at all. People with disabilities are often highly creative because they’ve had to modify the “typical” way of performing tasks. Supervisors and coworkers should help people with disabilities use their creativity at work, especially when negotiating to take on a project that interests them or when implementing a new technology.

Networking

You can’t negotiate successfully without knowing how to network, either face-to-face or via technology. Many disabilities require assistive technology for communication; this can be useful in negotiations. If your disability impacts your hearing for example, you can expertly use tools like Skype or a visually-enhanced telephone to make negotiations. If your disability precludes driving, you should be given transportation to and from the networking opportunities your coworkers attend. You should also work on skills like shaking hands, making small talk, and pitching products where applicable.

Positive Attitudes

A positive attitude makes every workday more enjoyable and leaves a good impression on supervisors, competitors, and coworkers. Some people with disabilities struggle with this; again, this is a population that hears “no,” “you can’t,” or “that won’t work” frequently. If this describes you, work to increase optimism. Walk into negotiations telling yourself, “I can do this. The company needs me and my ideas. I deserve this. I will succeed.”

3 Ways to Influence How People See You

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Perception is how we navigate both the social and professional world. The way people perceive themselves and the world around them dictates the way they respond to their surroundings. When interacting with others, we often view ourselves a certain way; many times, though, the way we see ourselves does not always align with the way other people see us.

It’s a strange phenomenon that has been studied for years. It may sound disconcerting, but this disconnect in perception can actually be harnessed to positively influence the way others see us. Influence training teaches people how to identify their personality traits and how people perceive them. Once you identify these traits, you are more prepared to change them.

Be Positive and Confident 

If you are a pessimistic, people will see that in you, even if you don’t realize it yourself. One of the most effective ways to change the face you put on for the world is to work on becoming more positive. The more positive you are, the more confident you become. We all know confidence radiates outwardly from a person.

A simple way to work on boosting your positivity is to smile more. Smiling actually releases hormones in your brain that make you happier, which in turn makes you smile. Maintaining good posture, eye contact, and a sunny disposition will build your confidence and ability to stay positive. In time, the forced routine becomes a part of your character. Ultimately, it changes the way people perceive you. 

Show A Little Vulnerability 

Vulnerability from leaders boosts camaraderie and promotes empathetic responses. Empathy is one of the truest connections humans have and understand about each other. We may not perceive someone the way he or she sees him or herself, but we can certainly empathize with him or her. Essentially, this boils down to modesty. Once you build your confidence, you will start to feel like you can take on the world. This is a great thing, but only if it’s tempered with a touch of humility. Respect that other people have different opinions, and listen to what they have to say. If you make a mistake, address it and apologize.

Show Interest in Others

Everyone loves a good listener. When engaging in conversation with someone, always show interest in what he or she has to say. Not only will he or she respect you more, but you will learn about him or her in the process, too. Ask people about their opinions and interests on a topic, and try to make connections with them. Encourage people to open up and talk about what they love.

In short, the best way to change the way others see you is to change your own behavior. Influence training is a great way to kick start this process by helping you identify the traits you want to change and giving you the tools to do so.

 

Source:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/17/influencing-how-others-see-you-oliver-burkeman

How to Influence Management

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You don’t have to be a manager or CEO to influence others. Many people are born with the innate talent to influence. They seem to have a natural ability to compel others to listen; however, this is a talent that can be learned, as well. Influence training helps people learn to look within themselves and find the power to lead people. Leadership is an important skill to learn, whether or not you’re in a leadership role. It’s a skill that can be carried on throughout the rest of your career and life.

Be Logical 

When trying to get your point across, you must first address the logic within your cause. If you can convey to someone that your argument is a logical alternative, he or she will be more willing to listen to what you have to say. If you’re trying to come to problem solve with upper management, logical arguments usually create attentive listeners.

Be sure your side is clearly defined, and offer factual details to back it up. Be ready to address the downsides with effective solutions, as well. For example, if you’re trying to influence management to let you take on new responsibilities, explain how you will handle these duties. Address the common pitfalls that hinder those with new responsibilities and how you plan to handle them.

Speak to His or Her Emotional Side 

Another way to build on your ability to influence is to appeal to the person emotionally. Obviously, you need to understand your audience to do this. Speaking with great enthusiasm isn’t going to win over curt and fact-focused managers. Think about the person you’re trying to convince, speak to his or her emotion, and slip his or her name into conversation when you can. This age old trick is a proven way to get people to listen – just don’t use it too much or you risk sounding robotic!

Work Together 

One of the most time-tested approaches to influencing others is to convince them to get on board with you. “If you can’t beat em’, join em’,” as they say. With this tactic, you’re playing up the solution you will reach together. There are several ways to appeal to the cooperative side of the argument. For example, you could ask the person for help or new ideas with a topic, you could partner up and work directly with someone, or you can form alliances with those who already support your cause.

Many effective influencers use a combination of these three tactics. With practice, you will learn when and where each scenario works best. As you get better at reading people, you will get better at influencing them, and vice versa. This will also help you build essential leadership skills to advance your career.

Sources: http://www.forbes.com/2011/01/03/influence-persuasion-cooperation-leadership-managing-ccl.html