Picture this. It’s January, you were just assigned your first project for the New Year, and everything is running smoothly. You have used your influence skills so well that your coworkers are turning in their deliverables on time; everyone is cooperating with you, and as a result, you are stress-free and optimistic about success.
The chances of this vision becoming a reality can increase if you make the following New Year’s resolution (in addition to going to the gym three times a week and passing on desserts): Brush up my influence skills!
Moving others to take an action is an art form, and most great artists have had to work extremely hard to become the renowned painters, sculptors, actors, dancers, photographers, and writers that they are today.
So, before you engage in your next major influence opportunity, take a step back and analyze your current influence strengths and weaknesses.
To help you start this process, here are five questions:
1. Am I building relationships with my influence targets? If not, how can I begin to do so?
2. Am I really listening to people? If so, do I demonstrate to them that I have heard their thoughts, ideas, or concerns?
3. Am I expressing my needs to others clearly? If not, how can I ask for action without sounding too demanding?
4. Are my conversations with others balanced between expressing my ideas and drawing out and listening to theirs? If not, how can I listen more or find more room to speak?
5. Am I practicing my influence skills enough at work, at home, and in my community? If not, how can I recognize and seize more opportunities to do so?
By asking yourself these questions on a regular basis, you should slowly see yourself becoming a more powerful and effective influencer in 2015.