Today in business you will find less autocratic control and more work done by teams. In these teams you need to influence others rather than try to give people orders. The days of jumping up to orders from bosses are numbered. Often you will be placed in the position of being the unofficial “boss” or leader and will need to gain the operation of colleagues and managers. Influencing for success has become an important skill in any workplace.
In his book on influencing Gavin Kennedy says influencing is about creating opportunities for co-operation and limiting temptations for defection (from co-operation). Key to influencing is to “mobilise informal relationships between those charged with working in the business or organisation.
We’ve all heard of the phrase influencing without authority. What does it mean? It’s the ability to influence others without formal authority to accomplish goals, deadlines and resources to get the job done.
Often you have to lead a project but in an unofficial capacity. This means you need influencing skills such as your personal ability, expertise, your network of relationships, knowledge of the business you work in.
If you want to be successful in business, you need to influence others. Writing in business is not only about writing clearly to be understood but also about communicating and influencing.
What is influencing?
Let’s look at a useful definition from vocabulary.com — “Influence is the power to have an important effect on someone or something. If someone influences someone else, they are changing a person or thing in an indirect but important way.”
Your ability to influence others gives you the confidence you need to suggest a change to employees, managers or customers and get them to accept your idea. While you may often communicate in person or via a call, most of your informal and formal influencing will take place via your business writing.
Opportunities for influencing your audience range from emails, letters, business cases, policies and procedures and postings.
To influence successfully you need to know your purpose upfront, be personal, use emotion and intellect, understand how attitude and tone affects your influencing style, use vivid wording, be brief rather than long-winded, use nouns and verbs rather than adjective or adverbs (something we cover and really make understandable and easy to use in your every-day business communications) and present evidence rather than opinions.
Before you write your next email, business letter or post something, think about this little exercise from “Influence: Mastering Life’s Most Powerful Skill“ to boost your influencing skills:
The next time you try to convince someone else to take action, consider your own reasons for desiring a certain response. Then, discard those reasons. Consider the reasons that your target should want to take action. Use those points as the basis for your effort to persuade.
All these important fundamentals of influencing in business writing covered in the Better Business Writing course I have developed after many years of business writing. The course is available online on the ideaaccelerator.co.za website as well as on teachable.com.
If you are interested about writing so that you can be clearly understood, go to these websites now and enroll. Should you wish to obtain a brochure on the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.