A 5 step process on how to influence without authority
Recently a client told me, “All of my days are about influencing other people, often when I don’t have any authority over a person . . . got any ideas to help me with this?”
With that question in mind here are suggestions on how to influence people when you don’t have authority:
1. Take a parcel of time to think about and understand the person prior to a face to face interaction . For example, think about what is the person like?’ What motivates them?; Whose opinion do they respect?’ What do you know about the person from past interactions; What’s going on in their world at present?
2. Relate the answers to these questions to help you decide what you’ll say to the person in the interaction. Generate options that might appeal to the person and also get you what you want. Have a fall-back position if an acceptable agreement can’t be reached. What is your BATNA? (ie. Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). This concept is from the book, Getting to Yes, by Ury, Fisher and Patton.
3. Go to the person’s work area and get their attention. Open the interaction with energy and certainty in your voice, face and body. Ask them for three to five minutes of time and aim to have a sit-down interaction.
4. While using a leveling hand gesture (this involves extending your arm in front of you and making a flat, palm down hand gesture) first demonstrate an understanding of their situation/environment. You might say, “Clare, I know you’ve got a lot on in ‘Y’. I need your help in ‘P’. What I’m proposing is that we explore options for where we might be able to help each other out. Can we do that for a couple of minutes?” Then deliver your options and get their feedback.
5. Close the interaction with energy and certainty while recapping what was agreed to. For example, “Ok, I’ll ask Manny about the Y analysis and you’ll come to my desk at 2:30 tomorrow with what resources you can help me with on P.”
The ‘how to apply’ for this post: Adapt and use the above suggestions when you need to influence a person when you don’t have authority over them.