Communication and influence go hand in hand. Are you consistent from Monday to Monday? Do you put on your “A” game with the same level of effort, focus and preparation for ALL conversations as you do for high- stakes presentation or sales pitch?
Influence from Monday to Monday requires you to be consistent with how you deliver a message and the words you speak during all interactions and through all communication mediums. This high level of communication takes discipline, hard work and a lot of focus.
Begin communicating with influence today by applying the six must-haves:
1. Where are you going?
Have a clear and specific vision of what you want to improve. Be willing to commit to and make that vision your reality. Begin by writing five specific action steps to improve your communication, which you promise yourself you’ll accomplish. Is it time to avoid the “uh’s” and “um’s” that are cluttering your message and allowing your listeners to question your knowledge?
2. Avoid doing it alone!
Every day, ask a family member or peer to immediately give you constructive feedback on the communication behaviors you’re focusing on. This feedback can occur during a phone call, face-to-face or Skype conversation, Google Hangout, meeting or presentation. Ask them to let you know when your non-verbal behaviors are distracting or purposeful.
3. Be consistent.
The perception your clients create of you during your presentation or sales pitch needs to be the same perception they created of you during that first interaction. Influence from Monday to Monday means you never speak with non-words or filler words. You consistently connect and engage with your listeners during all conversations. You walk into every room like you belong there. You have a polished presence that communicates your attention to detail and that you’re someone whom your client can rely on.
When you’re consistent through your words and actions, a trusting reputation builds. Others will want to listen and follow your lead. If they’re following you, there’s a strong probability that they’re influenced by you Monday to Monday.
4. Seeing is believing.
At least once a month, video or audio record yourself during your day-to-day conversations.
Immediately review your playback as you give yourself balanced feedback. Is your message consistent with your non-verbal behaviors? Do you sound confident or uncertain? Do you perceive yourself as having knowledge or uncertainty?
After reviewing your playbacks, answer these questions:
- What did I do and say that had impact and influence on my listeners?
- What do I want to change?
- How will I make these changes permanent?
5. Take five minutes.
At the beginning of every day, identify what communication skills and techniques you’re committed to work on throughout the day. Write these down!
Communicating with influence is like living a healthy lifestyle: both are lifelong commitments based on daily choices. A healthy lifestyle involves making good choices about diet and exercise. Fundamentally, enhancing your influence also comes down to intentional choices. Should you:
- Answer emails during that conference call or use it as an opportunity to practice your influence skills?
- Assume no news is good news or ask for real feedback?
- Give a canned presentation or listen to your prospects and adapt your message accordingly?
Although there are no “quick fixes” when it comes to enhancing your influence, when you hold yourself accountable by seeking feedback and practicing the skills, you will see positive changes fairly quickly.
One year from today you’ll either be the same communicator you are now or you’ll be an individual who has influence, has stronger relationships and is consistently perceived as trustworthy, confident and knowledgeable. Not to forget more money in your pocket.
- The Art of Conversation: A Salesperson’s Guide to Conducting Conversation
- What Can Happen When You Stop Talking and Start Listening
- How to Communicate With Influence: For Sales Pros and Leaders
Stacey Hanke is founder of Stacey Hanke Inc. and co-author of the book; Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A To Z To Influence Others To Take Action. She is in the process of writing book #2 on the topic of Redefining Influence.
She has trained over 15,000 people to rid themselves of bad body language habits and choose words wisely. Her client list is vast from Coca-Cola, Kohl’s, United States Army, Navy and Air Force, Leo Burnett, Nationwide, University of Chicago, Novartis, GE, General Mills, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cardinal Health. In addition to her client list, she has been the Emcee for Tedx. She has inspired thousands as a featured guest on media outlets including; The NY Times, SmartMoney magazine, Business Week, Lifetime Network, Chicago WGN and WLS-AM.