Main menu


How to influence other people

  How to influence other people?

influence other people

Effective influence is the key to success at work and in your personal life. On a daily basis, we influence others, and we are also influenced by other people, both for better and for worse. Thanks to the vast amount of research in the social sciences, we are already well informed on this topic, and we can determine what works well. And this article is about how to make it all work.

Who do you want to influence the most? On your colleagues or your boss? Maybe someone from your family or friends? Or maybe your clients or any other interlocutors, you meet on your life path? In this article, we will discuss a complete set of steps and techniques to help you influence others more successfully and achieve better results.

Anchor point of influence

Have you tried to convince others to do something that seemed to be better for themselves and for the whole project or company? What about family relationships? Chances are, you often fail, even though you may have had facts to support your point of view. You may even have set deadlines, offered rewards, or warned of sanctions.

You tried your best, but they didn't move. This is what we call the fulcrum. It's easy when things go their way, but things change when things go wrong. And when it doesn't work, we often make things worse without realizing it.

Since influence is both an art and a science, here is a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci, whose work demonstrates excellence in both directions. DA Vinci said: "He who really knows has no reason to shout. " Sometimes when we can't get others to do what we want, it's terribly frustrating. But irritation is not the best strategy for influencing.

Instead, you can take targeted action. You can choose from an extensive menu of proven options to make the right choices about how to influence others to achieve better results in all areas of your work and personal life.

Despite our best intentions, many of our attempts to influence someone fail before we even begin to do so. A great example of the number one mistake we make without even knowing it is that we unconsciously impose our point of view on others and expect them to agree to it.

We must be aware that everyone has their own point of view on a certain situation, object, behavior, etc. And most of us react lonely when others try to impose their plans on us, even if they have good intentions. No one likes to be pushed and forced to think, feel or do something. When we feel pressure, we tend to resist and resent.

To influence more effectively, we need to start from the perspective of others, not ours. So even when you really need to influence your boss, co-worker, spouse, or co-worker instead of forcing your point of view on them and expecting support, you need a different starting point.

Don't start with words or sentences that mean "you should do this" or "this is what I want." Instead, you need to start from their point of view, from their starting point. When you influence others, you want them to think, feel, or do what you think is right, but don't force it without understanding their starting point.

Sometimes, the more we prepare, the more we care, the more we believe we are right, the more we risk getting the wrong influence. The thing is, we're not always 100% right. But even when we are right about what is best for others to do, we may be wrong about their desire to do it.

Influence is not the art or science of being right. It is the art and science of being efficient. To stay on track, always remember these two truths of influence:

  • First, most people are not motivated to do what we want them to do. They do not feel our urgency, as they are busy with their priorities. They have their own reasons, often hidden reasons, for ignoring our ideas. Our disappointment is not their motivation.

So, our passion for persuasion often exceeds our ability to convince, because what convinces us may seem unconvincing to them. Thus, we can accept the first truth of influence without compromising our standards of thought. And when we do, it can open up new opportunities for communication and influence. This brings us to the second truth of influence.

  • Secondly, starting today, anyone can become a more powerful person. While no one can influence all people all the time, you can influence many more people, and more often. The scientific side of the art and science of influence is very clear about this.

It is important that this is much more to you than just a concept or an intellectual point of view. It should be an inspiring, motivating truth that will help you rethink your current frustration. See influence as a set of learnable skills that always increase your chances of success through preparation and practice.

Always remember the two truths of influence, and when you really need to influence someone, you won't inadvertently treat people as obstacles in your path. Instead, you must remove the obstacle that prevents them from doing what you want. Help people do what you want. Help them influence themselves.

How to determine who should be influenced?

Sometimes it is quite clear who you need to influence and what you want from them. But it happens, on the contrary, especially at work, when you can make a mistake with the person you should influence. Here it is important to choose the right object of influence, so as not to accidentally miss your goals. How to do it?

  1. For each of your goals, list the decision makers. Who has the greatest influence on whether you achieve your goal or not?
  2. For the person on your list that you cannot directly influence, list other people who influence that person. Who influences those who make decisions?

Whether your goal requires influencing one person or several people, don't waste time or risk your goals by influencing the wrong people. To achieve what you have in mind, make sure you choose the right target to influence.

To influence someone more effectively and quickly, you must consider their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Don't just explain to them the very result of the actions you want them to take. You need to immerse yourself in their point of view. To do this, let's look at three key success factors:

  1. Consider their goals relative to yours. What do they think of your goals? Are they for them or against them? Why can they support them? How does this relate to what they want? Why can they resist it? What problems does this cause for them?
  2. Consider their intended relationship with you. How do they treat you? How strong is your relationship? Are they based on trust and are they characterized by open communication? Is there a negative past history and mistrust that needs to be taken into account?
  3. Consider their working style. What are they most likely to do when you approach them? What do you know about how they act when people try to convince them? Do they ask questions, object, defend themselves, avoid conflict, ask for data, and so on?

Write down your answers for each of these three factors. Brainstorm or go through the answers with your partner. You will avoid many mistakes that you would otherwise not notice.

How to choose the best methods of influence for your situation

Just as people differ in their eating habits, different people in different situations can be motivated by different methods of influence. They probably don't have the same tastes and preferences as you. Thus, we cannot use the same method of influence over and over again and expect success with different people in different situations.

We need a variety of methods of influence in order to most effectively interact with the people we want to influence. Therefore, we decided to consider a list of methods of influence that will increase your chances of successfully influencing other people.

The first method is to conduct rational analysis. It means using reasoning, logic, data, analysis, weighing the pros and cons. Research shows that people usually make decisions based not only on reason and logic, but also on factors.

  • First, actively interact with people who think independently, challenge you and make suggestions. Listen to these people and appreciate them;
  • Secondly, even if you are sure that you are right, do not put your ego at stake. Create alternatives, test assumptions, and explore possibilities;
  • Third, keep asking. What information is missing from my analysis? What other possible causes and consequences?
  • Fourth, keep prioritizing. What are the best ideas and analyzes that not only appeal to me, but also to the people I am trying to influence.

The second method is to cite reliable sources. These can be reputable institutions such as leading research centers, prestigious universities or foundations. You can also quote individuals, experts with a solid reputation, high position, status or authority in your organization.

The more authoritative the institution or person you are quoting, the stronger your power of persuasion. Linking to credible sources is a win-win for making you more credible, while adding a lot of persuasiveness to your approach.

  • First, identify who are the leading experts, influencers, and opinion leaders on your topic and how you can quote or refer to their ideas;
  • Second, study the leading research centers, institutes and universities that are working on your topic and summarize their findings;
  • Thirdly, choose from all these ideas and opinions what suits your current situation.

The third method is to refer to laws, procedures or standards. These are different sources of authority. Use this method in the following way:

  • First, if there are rules, procedures, standards, laws, or guidelines that apply to your listeners, then refer to them;
  • Second, if not following your recommendation would result in a breach of an important procedure or process, note it;
  • Third, don't come across as smug or arrogant;
  • Fourth, help them accept the procedure or rule and not feel like they are in violation;
  • Fifth, sympathize and then give them a positive reason to follow the procedure or rule so they don't feel forced.

Opportunities with clear short-term limits tend to be more motivating. To do this, do the following:

  • First, make it clear that now is the time to act. Explain why they will be late if they wait;
  • Second, it's not just about time. If possible, explain why resources, information you provide, or supplies are limited;
  • Third, research shows that loss is the worst form of scarcity, so be specific about what they will lose or miss out on if they don't take action.
The fifth method is to demonstrate pain and benefit. Penalties and rewards, losses and profits, negative or positive consequences. The efforts and achievements that are important to us are very motivating. But often people are more motivated to avoid losses than they are to gain.

  • First, answer the following questions: What concerns, risks, or problems are you preventing? If they follow your advice, what punishments can they avoid? And how does your recommendation help them achieve what they want? What rewards can they receive?
  • Second, choose the accomplishments that matter most to them and highlight them. Use this method to reduce pain and increase results.
The sixth method is the creation of alliances and coalitions. To use this method, do the following:

  • Contact stakeholders and discuss their concerns, then arrange a meeting;
  • Try to build your network of supporters and allies before you need them, because sooner or later everyone will need help;
  • Behave professionally even with your opponents or competitors;
  • Don't underestimate yourself. Ensure that your relevant experience is properly updated and shared.
The seventh method is to use the method of social proof, especially in the face of uncertainty. In certain situations, people tend to look to others to help them decide what to do.

  • First, indicate trends in opinion or behavior, using surveys, tests, etc., that point in the direction you want people to behave;
  • Second, provide feedback or share success stories of individuals, teams, or organizations that are as similar as possible to those you are trying to convince;
  • Third, beware of negative social proof that points to negative experiences.

The eighth method is to initiate mutual benefit. The best way to get what you want is to help others get what they want. Reciprocity is most powerful when the service has the following qualities:

  • They are personalized and clearly designed for a specific person;
  • They are meaningful, in some way, even symbolically, to the recipient;
  • They are unexpected, i.e.You weren't asked for a favor.
To make this method work, follow these two steps: First, find ways to offer value to the people you want to influence, even before you ask them for anything. Next, offer that value in ways that are relevant to them and that are meaningful and unexpected to them.

The ninth method is to encourage commitment and consistency. People generally want to be seen as being consistent and keeping their commitments.

  • First, look for positive and relevant ways to encourage people to make and build on public, active, voluntary commitments;
  • Second, ask for small commitments or simple agreements to set the stage for even larger commitments and larger agreements;
  • Third, ask the other party to be specific about when and how they will perform the task, action, etc.;
  • Fourth, build momentum. Give the people you influence evidence that they are already making progress. Look for opportunities to achieve small wins that demonstrate the progress and direction of your larger, more compelling goals.
The tenth method is comparisons or contrasts. Comparisons and contrasts can sharply emphasize your point of view and open up new ways of thinking on the way to different behaviors, which is crucial when you are trying to get people to think or do things differently.

  • The best comparisons focus on how two different things are actually similar in some way;
  • Second, use contrasts to clearly distinguish between your preferred and undesirable alternatives. Example: invest now in a new customer relationship management system or keep losing more and more loyal customers;
  • Third, avoid the mistake of positive information being followed by words like “but” or “however.” Research has shown that the most effective way to communicate both positive and negative news is to say the positive news after the "but";
  • Fourth, use contrasts to bring attention to the better side of your weaknesses.

The eleventh method is to amplify your ideas. To give your ideas persuasiveness, keep them simple, specific, and engaging.

  • First, simplicity. Express in a few words the main idea you are trying to achieve;
  • Second, specifics. Use specific details to bring concepts and numbers to life in the minds of your listeners;
  • Thirdly, attractiveness. Look for ways to make your message or ideas attractive or unexpected;
The twelfth method is alignment with shared values, principles, or purpose. People want to be positioned as fair to others. How to do it here:

  • First, when you convince someone, focus on the values ​​and principles you share with people and show how your recommendation drives it all;
  • Second, explain how your recommendation contributes to the positive goals of the people you convince.
The thirteenth method is building mutual understanding and trust. Think of it this way: you willingly do things for people with whom you have a rapport and trust. If you develop greater rapport and trust, and strengthen relationships with people, they will be more willing to listen to you and consider supporting your goals. Here's how to do it:

  • First, be a good listener. Respect others, pay attention and let them know that you understand them;
  • Second, build rapport ahead of time. Put in the extra effort to learn about the people you're dealing with;
  • Third, ask the people involved in your conversations, meetings, or projects what will help them achieve great results;
  • Fourth, state your positive intention in advance. Do this before misunderstandings start. Even better, you can link your positive intention to shared values, principles, or broader goals.
The fourteenth method is sympathy. It's easy to underestimate, but liking is a powerful enough factor to influence someone. Here's how to implement it:

  • First, demonstrate a positive attitude. Smile more than frown. Encourage more than criticize;
  • Second, look for similarities and draw attention to them. Similarity in background, experience, and values ​​tends to have the strongest influence;
  • Third, look for positive qualities and sincerely emphasize them.

The fifteenth method is asking for help or advice. How it works:

  • Ask for advice, support, or help to build your mutual respect. People love compliments and are more interested in your success because they want their advice to work;
  • Second, make it as easy as possible. Say something like, "I know you have a lot of experience in this area, can I ask what you think about this?"
  • Thirdly, try to make it easy for you to answer "yes"Ask for things that require very little time or effort;
  • Fourth, express sincere gratitude.
The sixteenth method is to be influential. Being influential means being open-hearted. We tend to open our minds more to those people who have opened their own minds to us. How to use this method:

  • First, don't win arguments. Instead, win hearts and minds. When you argue, you make people want to be defensive or dominate you;
  • Second, in a confident tone, let people know that their contribution has a positive effect on you;
  • Third, tell people about the positive quality you are working to improve, such as how to listen better.
The seventeenth method is to set a personal example. Albert Einstein said that leading by example is a way to influence. This method works like this:

  • First, show the power of your beliefs by doing what you want others to do. As Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world;
  • Second, tell people how you did it and why it worked. You yourself become an additional source of trust.
As Vincent van Gogh said, great things are done by a combination of small things. So go through the list of methods of influence we have listed, and use each of them, depending on the situation and the chosen object. And remember that you should focus on the arguments that will convince them, not you.

Winston Churchill said, "Kites fly the highest against the wind ." His point was that overcoming resistance is often necessary when you are aiming for great results. Powerful people don't take it personally when others object and resist. On the contrary, it motivates them.

If your opponent has objections, the sooner you discover them, the sooner you will know what can actually successfully influence a person, and then you can apply another method from the list of methods of influence we have considered.

So don't resist their resistance, don't object to their objections. Instead, turn objections into action. Treat objections like invitations. An invitation to find out what really matters to the people you want to influence.

How to make your influence desirable?

Powerful people think about the long-term consequences, even in their short-term actions. They strive for results and don't care how they get those results. Interaction with any influence is not limited to results. Strive also to strengthen your relationships and reputation.

Think of someone in your life who has had a significant positive impact on you. Maybe it's a parent, coach, teacher, or friend. Maybe they encouraged you to believe in yourself or gave you the strength to do something you didn't even know you had. Who are these people for you?

Choose one of them and answer the following four questions:

  • Who is this special person in your life and why do you choose him as one of the most influential people?
  • What specifically did they say or do that you found so meaningful?
  • What are the results of their actions for you and your life?
  • What can you do in the future for yourself and for others to celebrate this person's contribution to your life?
Albert Schweitzer said that sometimes our own light goes out and is ignited by a spark from another person. Each of us has a reason to remember with gratitude those who lit the fire within us. Prominent influencers make gratitude a habit. Not only do they convey the positive impact they receive, but they express gratitude sincerely and often.

A great way to do this is to use an approach called The Power of Gratitude. It consists of three parts:

  • First, thank the person for what they have done for you;
  • Second, acknowledge the effort the person has made to help you;
  • And third, tell the person how their actions have affected your life, and how your actions will change in the future because of this.
It is important that you experience this experience as early as possible and see how useful this habit is. It only takes a couple of minutes, and research on gratitude shows that just two minutes of gratitude is enough to change your brain chemistry enough to have a positive effect for the whole day.


It is important that you check your progress and stay on track. Open your calendar and mark the date in three months, so you can come back and read this article again. See what you've improved, what methods you've been using, and which ones you've forgotten about but find useful. See what has changed in your circumstances and what else you would like to add to your influence skills.