What if the best way to become a better influencer is to get better at being influenced. Let’s look for a moment at another critical skill for Peak Performance…
Have you ever tried to improve your ability to ask good questions – questions that make people stop and think?
If you managed to succeed at this difficult task, then you know that the key to developing good questioning skills is to become a better listener.
To know the best question to ask and what question could engage the thinking skills of your counterpart, you have to focus on what they’re saying – often reading between the lines and reading the voice and body. In fact, people often say more with their non-verbal communication than with their verbal.
I believe that allowing yourself to be influenced is the best way to improve your own influencing skills.
This article provides 3 actionable tips to help you do just that. Incidentally, by reading this article you’re already doing number 1.
How To Be a Better Influencee
1) Seek out the thoughts and ideas of others – especially ones that challenge you.
If you want to expand your own thinking you need to go beyond simply being open to different and challenging ideas – you have to go looking for them.
Actionable tip: Do an audit of all of your current newsletters and for each one ask yourself – does this newsletter provide me inspiration and/or actionable advice? If not, let it go and replace it with one that does.
2) Talk to someone who has a vast different opinion from you and make them explain their reasons for it.
Last weekend I met a guy who was an avid hunter – something I openly oppose as a non-meat eater. However, he articulated his rationale behind his position. When I asked him if he could guarantee that none of his prey animals suffered from one of his “kill” shots he answered no. By listening to him and not ignoring him, he didn’t change my opinion but I connected with him on a human level. His honesty helped BIG TIME.
Agreeing to disagree is often the best possible outcome when speaking to someone with an opposing position; not speaking (thus not connecting) the worst possible one.
Actionable tip: The next time you meet someone with a radically different opinion from you (re something you care about), take it as a challenge to listen to their reasons for their view. They might not persuade you to see their side but they might influence you in unexpected ways – ways that you wouldn’t have seen if you hadn’t listened to them.
3) Before dismissing that thing you said you’d never do, give it a try.
Have you ever said you would never do something only to change your mind about it after you’d tried it (skydiving – eating sushi)?
If I think about bungee jumping off a bridge at 19, I’m pretty sure this is connected to having a higher risk tolerance when younger. 30 years later, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t jump off that bridge…nevertheless, bungee jumping at 49 could have something to teach me – it would certainly qualify as leaving my “comfort zone”!
It doesn’t have to be jumping out of an airplane or even off a bridge, but being open to new and even unattractive experiences is key to becoming a better influencee – after all, if you haven’t experienced something you most likely can’t be influenced by it…if putting yourself in an Englishman’s shoes is something you’d like to do, for example, you’ll never fully understand the British experience until you’ve driven a car on the right side.
I’m certainly not advocating you take an illicit drug or take an irrational risk for the sake of leaving your comfort zone. However, think twice before dismissing that thing that you think is definitely not for you. Below the video is a personal story about a why I no longer use the word “never”.
Actionable tip: Make a list of 10 things you don’t want to do (lack of interest or other reason). Go back through the list and underline one or two that you could imagine might result in a positive experience or a key learning.
Take Action Now
Without a doubt, high-impact communication and a more empathic leadership style will help you influence better. However, nothing will make you a better influencer than learning how to be a better influencee.
If you’ like some direct advice on how to further develop this skill, book a Free Strategy Call with me today.
Never Say Never…
Highly allergic to cats as a child, I told my wife we could never have a cat in our flat. 18 years later we’ve got three. I can’t imagine my life without them. Each one of them has taught me countless valuable lessons – how to be present, how to ask for what you want, how to draw boundaries, etc. And they’ve done it without using words.
After all, the best way to influence anyone to do anything is through example. And nobody leads by example better than a cat.