by Marjorie Brody
My health insurance agent recently recommended that I change my healthcare policy. I asked him, “If you were me, would you switch to this new policy?” He replied, “I already switched to the same policy myself.”
I gave him the go-ahead to make the change. Why? Because I trust him. In the past, he’s always been fair and honest, and looked for ways to help me.
My insurance agent is a prime example of how influence is a product of personal connection. If you read our last blog post, “3 Steps to Become a Master Influencer,” you’ll remember that people are influenced by those they know and trust.
This type of connection requires that you truly care about others, and they know it. Here are 5 connection-building strategies to help you influence without authority:
- Balance warmth and competence. While warmth is critical for connection, too much can come off as disingenuous, and can even be misconstrued as incompetence. At the same time, if you lead with the right information, but show no empathy, people won’t like you. Strike a balance that makes you likeable, while still demonstrating expertise.
- Use your head and heart. People use logic to justify decisions, but emotion plays an equally powerful role. Organize your points in a way that makes sense, but don’t just rely on the logic of an argument. Connect more deeply with people by coming up with relevant examples, stories, and anecdotes that will hit them in the gut — and ultimately move them.
- Find commonalities. Don’t write people off just because they seem different from you. Think outside the box to find something you share in common. Small talk can uncover hidden commonalities — similar pets, volunteer work, a shared favorite restaurant — that become strong foundations for personal connection.
- Help others without expectations. Giving without the expectation of getting something in return is one of the most powerful ways to build connection. If you consistently do things to help people — with no expectation of reciprocity — you’ll build a reputation of goodwill, making it much more likely for people to listen to your advice and follow your lead.
- Understand perspectives. When people feel heard and understood, their walls come down. Take the time to understand where people are coming from. Listen closely to others and demonstrate empathy for the stories they tell. People are more easily influenced when they believe they were heard first.
Remember, influence isn’t a persuasive moment; it’s a persuasive process.
Regardless of your role, building personal connections is key to influencing those around you. BRODY Pro’s interactive “Influence without Authority” workshop develops the skills needed to increase collaboration and team performance. You can download a full outline of the workshop here.
This article was originally posted at brodypro.com.
Marjorie Brody, CSP, CPAE is a faculty member of LEADERSHIP USA.