Communicating with power and influence
The way a coach asks questions enables the client to look at things in new ways. Very soon the client begins to report that more options are “loosening up the system.” Suddenly it’s as though solutions and pathways begin to appear everywhere, enabling the client to feel like they can move again.
Summary? Palm to forehead, is the gesture I’d use! Another way to describe coaching is like a conversation loaded with “AHA,” and “Oh I see…” moments – like when dots are joined to form a clearer picture.
Today I’m talking about the value of our communication. How much of what I say will be useful, let alone remembered by the other party? How aware am I that I am creating an impression, building my image and reputation, by how I show up and present myself to others?
After observing people, I believe I can offer some value here. How many times have you attended events where people have stuck their name cards at you, mumbling something or other? At the end of the day you go home and you can’t remember anything about them at all?
How many of you think that networking events are a waste of time? The idea itself is brilliant – networking brings us into contact with different people > which makes us more visible; visibility increases (perception of) power and status, and our heightened power and status then makes building and maintaining, social contacts easier. Sensible right?
Yes, to be seen and remembered is important for influence. You can’t select what you can’t remember, can you? Being in circulation keeps you in contact with people, thus increasing the chances that when people need something – advice, want to find an investment partner, or are thinking of a candidate for some position, they will remember you.
So you know many people. Yet networking is not enough. I believe we need to really connect with people, and this involves giving others an experience of you that is meaningful and memorable.
Remember, people want to feel respected… important. People want to “win,” that is to feel that somehow they can benefit by being associated with you. This involves listening for what people want and to associate what you do to what they want. Oftentimes putting yourself in the other’s place is the best way to advance your agenda.
You think being influential is easy? Focus is key.
Put some dry grass out in the sun and nothing happens, even on the hottest day. Put the dry grass under a magnifying glass and the grass catches on fire. The sun’s rays, focused, are much more powerful than they are without focus.
To communicate powerfully, ask:
 What’s my purpose today?
 What’s important about that?
 How can I add value to the other person’s life?
 How do I want people to think and feel about me?
 What happens next?
Power, or influence, which comes first? Are they both the same thing? Is one more important than the other?
Think about people who are powerful and successful. How would you describe them? What personality works for them? What works against them?
When there’s power, there’s the tendency to be overconfident, and therefore less personal, less empathetic. I notice many in power tend not to watch what they say and do as much, being more concerned about themselves than about the feelings of others. I also notice there’s a certain loss of connection; although physically present, emotionally absent, if you know what I mean?
Intelligent people – people who are powerful with knowledge, often demonstrate their impatience with “lesser mortals,” and therefore may intimidate or seem unapproachable to others. Over time this type of behavior only serves to erode their influence over others.
In making decisions about how much respect to show, people will look to our behavior for cues. Observers will associate confident behavior with power. Because of this, coming across as confident and knowledgeable helps you build influence.
Whoooaaahhh! So important to maintain a sense of perspective and to keep balance! Our relationships are mirrors to how well we’re doing. Why not set up role models, choose people you admire, to equal and emulate? I also recommend that every now and then: expose yourself to a social circle that really doesn’t care about your position. Then you’ll really know how people think of you!
When I leave this Earth, people are going to say, “She was a true friend.” How do you want them to remember you?