What Are Influencing Skills?

Hello, and welcome to lesson one of making difference. In this first lesson, what we’re going to focus on is what is influencing all about. influencing is about having an effect on making an impact on whatever circumstances we’re in. It can be positive or negative, it can be helpful or it can be a hindrance. But of course, it’s the positive influence we’re interested in. It’s looking at what it means to make a positive difference. Now, this will benefit the people we’re connected with, whether at work or in our private lives, for us also benefit us, creating more positive relationships and opening up new opportunities for us. So when it comes to making a difference, what we’re focusing on is having the skills to influence the situations we’re in influence the people and the circumstances, to move them in a positive direction wherever we can. So let’s look a bit more closely at some of the key issues involved in using our influence skills to make a difference. So the first topic want to focus on is the idea that all action is interaction. This is something I learned about early in my career. And I’m glad I did, because it’s helped me understand a lot about how people interact with one another. Whenever we do anything, but don’t do it in a vacuum, where we’ve been influenced by other people, even if they’re not physically present. Consider the influence of parents, for example, parents may be a long distance away from where we are, they may even have passed away, but they will still have an influence on us through our upbringing. So other people will influence us in that direct or indirect sense. It may also be that there are people influencing us because we want to impress them, or we don’t want to disappoint them or whatever. So as I say, they don’t have to be physically present to be influencing us. And then of course, we’ll also be influencing what other people do and say, it’s a two way interaction. Hence, the idea that all action is interaction. There’s a tendency to focus on what people do in isolation, and not to consider the wider context. And to my mind, that’s a mistake. Because it fails to recognize that all action is interaction, there will be the influence of other people going in both directions, we influence people, people influence us. Now, an important thing to recognize about this is that it can be positive or negative plus or minus, it can be empowering, or disempowering. how we interact with others can make a positive difference. Either way, positive or negative. For example, how we relate to someone could reinforce their confidence or undermine it. How we speak to someone could make them feel better, or make them feel worse. smiling at someone can make them feel welcome and valued, or frowning can have the opposite effect. So we’re constantly interacting with with other people in ways that improve or worse in a situation, make a positive difference, or a negative one. Now, the fact that this is the case gives us a great set of opportunities to influence what happens by focusing on making a positive difference, we can increase the positive impact we’re able to bring about. And that’s really what making a difference is all about. If you think about this, we’re engaging in a process of empowerment. That is we’re increasing the control we have over the circumstances we’re in. But the beauty of this and this is what makes focusing on influencing skills. So important worthwhile is that in empowering ourselves in this way, we’re also empowering others. It’s a win win situation. It’s not about being selfish and getting what we want at other people’s expense. It’s about moving a situation in a positive direction so that everybody involved wins. we all benefit from that. So the key question to keep asking is, what can I do to make a positive impact on this situation? How can I make a positive difference? One very important point for me to emphasize is that we should not mistake influencing for exploiting, exploiting or manipulating people is about getting what we want at their expense. It’s pizza one way street, in a sense, it’s how can I benefit this other person’s expense? How can I exploit or manipulate them by using my skills, that’s certainly not what is meant by making a positive difference. influencing skills are about helping to move the situation in a positive direction. So the idea is that it’s the benefit of all involved, it’s a positive thing. It’s a worthwhile thing. And certainly not to be confused with manipulating or exploiting people where it is for your benefit, but at their expense. That is clearly not ethical. That’s not what I’m advocating at all. It’s about trying to move forward positively. So that all involved benefit from the situation. And that then should encourage others to reciprocate to do likewise. And that then is a positive thing in itself. Now, underpinning This is a very significant issue around confidence, making a positive difference will depend on a number of factors. And one of the most important ones is confidence. And it’s important to distinguish between subjective confidence and objective competence. They’re both important but in slightly different ways. subjective confidence is the confidence you have in yourself, if you consider that the word confidence is linked with the idea of trust. So for example, confidential information is information that you’re trusted with, to have confidence in somebody means you trust them, you have faith in them. So self confidence is the trust you have in yourself, the faith you have in yourself, and that’s clearly in important in its own right. But there’s also objective confidence. And that’s about being trusted, not just trusting yourself, but other people trusting you. Or another way of putting it is credibility. What credibility do you have in the eyes of other people. And both of these are important, because if you come across as lacking confidence, people are less likely to be influenced by you. And that links in them with the idea of the object of confidence, if you lack confidence, you will not have credibility. If you haven’t credible, you don’t have credibility, you’ll find it difficult, if not impossible, to influence other people. Think about it from your own point of view. How would you feel about somebody trying to influence you where clearly, they have no confidence in themselves, and they have no credibility? it, I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s unlikely that you would allow yourself to be influenced by that person, you’re likely to stand well back in those circumstances. Now, an important point for me to stress is that subjective and objective confidence are interlinked. If we don’t have faith in ourselves, that’s a subjective confidence. How can we expect other people to have faith in us the objective confidence, so if we’re not confident in ourselves, then we will lack credibility will lack that objective competence to we’re giving off a message that we don’t trust ourselves, we are not to be relied on. And of course, that is the exact opposite of the message that we need to be given. Without credibility, our ability to influence people is likely to be minimal or non existent. So an important point to stress right from the start is, whatever it is you’re engaging in, you have to trust yourself, you have to have faith in yourself, you have to feel confident. And of course, confidence can grow over time. But to begin with, you have to have that initial faith in yourself. If you’re telling yourself you can’t do something, then you’re right, you can’t do it. Because you have just written yourself off. It’s about having a positive attitude, having that confidence to trust yourself to begin with, and then to take it from there. So that’s the end of lesson lesson one, where we’ve been looking at what it means to make a difference. In the second lesson, we will be looking at the getting closer framework, as I like to call it and that will involve looking at Sif, six different aspects of making a difference. So that’s it for now. Hope you found this is has been useful, and I’ll look forward to rejoining you in lesson two when you’re ready. Thank you.