Human communication usually has one of three basic purposes: to educate or inform, to relate, or to influence. Sometimes communication that begins with one purpose moves to another.
Influence is more than good communication. Communication moves information. Influence moves ideas into action, and produces an effect without the use of force or command. You can communicate without influencing, but you cannot influence without communicating. ‘Influence behaviours’ are intended to result in action by another party or parties.
Some people confuse influence with power. We can define power as a set of resources that you have, and influence as a set of skills or actions that put your power to work. Others feel influenced when they are treated with respect and offered a choice.
Influence is the act of moving another person toward action without the use of direct power. There are many ways to influence others—some direct, some indirect. Direct influence can occur face to face, voice to voice, or in an electronic domain.
Influence is not a contest. It is a two-way process that involves a relationship.
Every time you influence someone—depending how effectively you do it—you are making it either easier or harder to influence that person next time.
Effective influence requires a balance between building relationships and getting results. Both are essential to your success as an influencer. Emphasising one at the expense of the other may produce short-term results, but will eventually leave you in a weaker position with the other person.
Overemphasise the relationship on the assumption that results will follow—and they do not—and the relationship will suffer. Overemphasise results assuming the relationship is not important, and the results will soon evaporate.
In the first half of 2015, DeakinPrime will run a lunchtime presentation on exercising influence.