Posted in leadership

Influencing Communication


From the book, The Agile Manager’s Guide to Influencing People by John R. Hook.

To lead a robust communication you need two things –

  • A vision of what you want to change and why
  • The capacity to persuade others to move with you in a new direction

 “Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.” – Lord Macaulay (1930)

Negotiation is the overall process of seeking agreement when two people have different goals or conflicting approaches to achieving goals. It is the overall process of designing a strategy to get what you want and setting the tone for discussions. It also includes careful consideration for whether or not to attempt to persuade. Influence is a soft approach to educate others to your point of view through logic, an appeal to their emotions or values, or through joint development of a solution or course of action. It is more subtle than power. Power is a tougher approach to use when influence fails, yet when getting your way is essential. Conflict management is dealing with differences in viewpoints throughout the negotiations process.

7-Step Negotiation Process:

  1. Clarify your process
  2. Identify the right person to approach/persuade
  3. Assess the negotiation situation
  4. Try using influence
  5. Apply power if influence fails
  6. Manage conflicts
  7. Achieve an acceptable solution

To use this process always try influence first. Do so by asking the following questions:

  1. Whom do I want to influence?
  2. In what order should I influence people?
    1. Confidentiality – some people feel it is important to know the message before others
    2. Credibility – some people feel it is important to hear the reactions of those your approached previously
    3. Learning – some people have the expertise you need; approach them first.
  3. What do I want to happen; what do you want from each person and at each meeting or at least the target person?
  4. What influence styles should I use?
  5. What actual arguments should I use?
  6. What conflict should I expect; how should I deal with it?
  7. How can I polish my act? Practice, practice, practice.

“Power is not revealed by striking hard and often, but by striking true.” – Honore’ de Balzac

When influence does not work, move to power. Determine which form of power to use:

  1. Position power
    1. Legitimate power
    2. Reward power
    3. Coercive power
    4. Expert power
  2. Personal power
    1. Referent power
    2. Connection power

Ask the following 9 questions before using power:

  1. What aremyobjectives?
    1. Substance
    2. Relationship
  2. Do I need to use power now?
  3. What power bases do I have at my disposal?
  4. Is the use of power permissible in my organization?
  5. What’s the other person like?
  6. What is my relationship with the other person like?
  7. What power bases should I use?
  8. What conflicts should I expect?
  9. What do I do if things bog down?

When dealing with conflict determine if you want to

  1. Accommodate – willing to sacrifice your position for the goal
  2. Compromise – give folks part of what they want to get part of what you want
  3. Avoid – temporarily suspend negotiations to resolve conflict later; no one wins, no one loses
  4. Collaborate – use when both parties need to get their way fully




Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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