INTHEBLACK April 2022 - Magazine - Page 61
If you are trying to influence someone and it’s
not working, then stop, says Dr Tim Baker,
managing director of WINNERS-at-WORK.
“Banging on is not going to influence them, and
they become even more convinced that you are
wrong. You will need to vary your approach.”
In his book, The New Influencing Toolkit:
Capabilities for Communicating with Influence,
Baker outlines four influencing strategies:
I N V E S T I G A T I O N : Using facts, figures and logic
to command the information and to convey it
to other people.
C A L C U L A T I O N : Talking up the advantages
and talking down the disadvantages.
M O T I V A T I O N : Putting the proposal into
context, usually the strategic direction of the
company, and making a correlation between
the proposal and what you are trying to achieve.
C O L L A B O R A T I O N : Working with others to
come up with a solution, because if others feel
they have had a say, they are more likely to be
questions that invite other people in, such as
‘I wonder if ’, or ‘Does anyone have a view on’.”
TAILOR THE MESSAGE
No one suggests that, in order to be influential,
someone must go through a personality change.
“Don’t try to be something you are not, but do try to
vary your style depending on the situation you are in,”
“For example, if you are talking to a business owner
and using facts and figures primarily to influence
them, but the client is someone who is very values
based, then you are going to need to tap into those
values in order to be persuasive,” he says.
“It’s having that awareness and insight into people’s
behaviours and motivations.”
Garcia agrees that if you want your ideas to take
hold, then tailoring what you say and how you say
“It doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree with people.
At the highest level of collaboration, there is a precious
thing called ‘creative friction’, where we can have
really robust conversations where we disagree but
arrive at great solutions – or great opportunities
emerge as a result.
“It’s not the same as a nasty argument – people
emerge from these reinvigorated – but it requires
a lot of trust and communication ability.”
“PEOPLE TEND TO THINK OF INFLUENCING AND PERSUASION
AS ‘HAVING A WAY WITH WORDS’ – BEING ABLE TO FORM
AN IRREFUTABLE ARGUMENT THAT MAKES PEOPLE DO WHAT WE
WANT. INFLUENCING, IN FACT, COMES FROM CREDIBILITY, TRUST,
GOOD LISTENING AND A WIN-WIN MINDSET.”
DR TIM BAKER, WINNERS-AT-WORK
Experts agree that changing hearts and minds is one
of the most difficult tasks anyone can set themselves.
To change someone’s behaviour sustainably, you
have to change their thinking first, says Baker.
“This is a difficult task, because it is intangible
– people can hold onto their thoughts. There is no
evidence that you have changed their thinking until
their behaviour demonstrates that their thinking has
“Obviously, you can resort to manipulation, but
leaders are in the business of being ethical and
transparent. If I am trying to influence you, then it’s
important that you know that I am trying to do it.”
If you conceal your true motives or keep people in
the dark, the price you pay is that it reduces levels of
trust and makes it even harder to influence people the
next time, says Baker.
intheblack.com April 2022 61