Influencing Skills And How To Improve Them In 5 Steps

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Influencing abilities help persuade someone to agree with one's opinion or think about a topic, without coercion, while also acknowledging their viewpoint. Being influential in the workplace can help you be an outstanding leader and accomplish important business goals. Knowing and developing essential influencing abilities can help you encourage and convince colleagues to support your goals and ideas and become a better professional. In this article, we explain what influencing abilities are, list some examples, explore how you can use these skills and also provide tips to use them in your workplace.

What Are Influencing Skills?

Influencing skills are abilities that encourage and persuade others to adopt or support your ideas. The skill to influence others can be beneficial for leaders to motivate people and make their teams more productive. These skills are especially important in leadership or senior positions, as these individuals are key to motivating the workforce and uniting them to fulfil organisational goals effectively. With these skills, one can impact the attitude, behaviour, choices and opinions of other people positively.

Examples Of Influencing Skills

Influencing abilities can be of different types. Some of these skills help an individual instil trust in their colleagues, while some others help them develop meaningful relationships with them, both of which are necessary for being an influential personality. Some important such skills include:

Active listening

Active listening is essential to understanding the speaker's perspective and opinion. This also creates a positive impression on the speaker, as it conveys sincerity and respect towards the individual and the conversation. Doing this can help build a rapport, which is important to influence them and lead effectively.

Related: Listening Skills Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Assertiveness

Being assertive is a skill very useful for leaders and people in a position of authority. Assertiveness means being able to communicate one's thoughts and opinions in a confident and effective manner. Often, an assertive person can command respect and communicate on the behalf of others. Earning respect from peers can encourage them to accept one's ideas and motivate others to listen to them.

Communication

Communication skills include non-verbal, verbal and active listening skills, which help one interact with others. Being able to communicate with other people in an open and truthful manner is key to influencing them. Articulating the ideas and goals clearly can help effectively convey your views and achieve the desired results.

Critical thinking

Thinking critically in certain scenarios can help one analyse and effectively interpret information. One can use this ability to understand one's own personality and beliefs and also interpret the behaviour of other people. This understanding can help one efficiently decide the course of action to achieve their goals.

Related: 14 Essential Critical Thinker Characteristics And Traits

Empathy

Empathy is a primary requirement for being influential. Empathy is a trait that helps one relate to and understand another person's emotions and feelings. Understanding other people is key to learning the most effective ways to influence them. The skill can help one be reliable and lead to deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Read more: Empathic Skills: Definition And Examples (With Tips)

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are also an important trait for any successful professional. It fosters lasting and understanding relationships. The ability to hold meaningful conversations according to the person or audience involved is essential to motivating and influencing them.

Related: What Is A Social Skills Worksheet? A Complete Guide

Innovation

To influence people, one requires a considerable amount of creativity and innovation to accomplish certain goals to demonstrate proficiency. Innovation can help one earn attention and respect from one's colleagues and be more reliable in the workplace. Being ingenious can inspire others to value one's ideas and rely on them for creative solutions.

Related: What Are Creativity Skills? (With Examples And Benefits)

Leadership

Leadership is an important ability to be an influential professional. Having this skill can help in earning proficiency in a role where one can exercise their authority to influence others in the workplace. Though being in charge of other people is not mandatory to influence them, being an efficient leader can help better translate thoughts and ideas to others.

Related: 18 Leadership Soft Skills And Their Benefits In The Workplace

Negotiation

Negotiation skills can help involved parties arrive at a favourable conclusion in a dispute. These skills can help you influence others to accept your viewpoint in a way that is respectful and benefits all. To develop negotiation skills, it is important to be prepared and to understand everyone's opinions and their stake in the dispute.

Time management

Time management refers to the ability to stay organised and accomplish tasks on time. The ability to manage one's time and resources correctly can enhance their planning and strategising skills as well. Being punctual can show professionalism and mutual respect and make it easier for others to trust them.

How To Improve Influencing Skills

Below are some steps you can undertake to enhance your influencing abilities to grow as a professional:

1. Be aware of yourself and your surroundings

Awareness means an ability to assess your surroundings as well as yourself. It requires being constantly aware of the people with whom you work, your workplace and your reactions to different situations. This helps you be conscious of your actions and to ensure your reactions are productive and can set an example for those around you.

Related: What Is Self-Awareness? (And How To Become More Self-Aware)

2. Be resilient in your efforts

While influencing others, resilience and endurance are important for sustainable success as a leader. Endurance is the ability to stay persistent despite challenges or hardships. It is necessary to approach colleagues persistently and adopt various techniques to motivate them to consider your views.

3. Improve your interpretation skills

Good interpretation skills are essential to making educated assumptions and understanding people and situations. One can also use interpretation to understand an individual's non-verbal behaviour like body language and facial expressions, to guide their actions. Understanding people on a personal level can make it easier to interact with them and eventually influence them.

4. Build up your confidence levels

Self-confidence is an attractive quality that encourages others to emulate and listen to you. Feeling confident about your abilities and accepting who you are is essential to succeeding in your professional endeavours. When you are confident, you exude a sense of authority and expertise, allowing people to follow you and rely on you.

Related: What Is Self-Confidence? (Definition And Tips To Improve)

5. Develop your persuasion skills

Persuasion involves using facts and arguments to convince someone to agree with your point of view. Influencing and persuasion skills can be useful in a variety of situations in the workplace for several industries and job roles. With good persuasion skills, you can reduce conflict and inspire others to take action for the benefit of the organisation for which you work.

Influencing Abilities In The Workplace

Some ways to use influencing abilities in the workplace are:

  • Build trust. You are in a better position to influence your peers when you gain their trust. You can earn your colleagues' trust by being honest and transparent with them at all times and by being a dependable team member.

  • Focus on actions. It is important to prove your words through your actions to build influence over your coworkers. You can devise a strategy and implement it to test its effectiveness.

  • Deliver reliable results. Consistency in performance is also important to building a reputation as a professional. This makes reliability in performance instrumental to becoming influential in the workplace.

  • Be dynamic. Having the ability to adapt to changing situations whilst keeping in mind the best interests of the organisation for which you work is important to demonstrate your versatility. This includes accepting others' opinions whenever required to achieve the desired results, which subsequently earns the trust of your team members.

    Related: How To Become A Motivational Speaker (With Necessary Skills)

How To Highlight Influencing Abilities

Below are the steps to highlight relevant skills during the job application process:

1. On a resume

You can list your influencing abilities in the skills section of your resume. The summary section can also include a few words about your accomplishments reflecting your influencing abilities. The work experience section can include instances where you utilised these skills to accomplish quantifiable outcomes in your previous roles.

2. In a cover letter

Use your cover letter as an opportunity to elaborate on your influencing abilities. You can also explain how your ability to influence coworkers can help you be effective in the role for which you are applying. You can mention future aspirations that you plan on realising with the help of these skills.

3. During a job interview

Interviews are great opportunities to show your influencing abilities. Prepare a list of instances and scenarios from your previous roles that reflect your ability to influence peers. Understand what the employer is looking for and customise your responses to match their expectations to increase your chances of impressing the recruiting managers and getting shortlisted for the job.

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