Understand the 4 Components of Influence
We’ve all encountered people who say less but what they say matters more; people who know how to use silence to dominate an exchange. So having influence means more than just doing all the talking; it’s about taking charge and understanding the roles that positional power, emotion, expertise, and nonverbal signals play. These four aspects of influence are essential to master if you want to succeed as a leader.
- Take positional power. If you have it, influence becomes a relatively simple proposition. People with power over others tend to talk more, to interrupt more, and to guide the conversation more, by picking the topics, for example.
- The second aspect of influence is emotion, and using it is one way to counteract positional power, and generally to dominate a conversation. When the other side has the power and you have the emotion, something closer to parity is possible.
- Passion often links with expertise, the third aspect of influence. And indeed, you can dominate the conversation, beating out positional power, if you have both passion and expertise.
- The final aspect of influence is the subtlest of the four, is the mastery of the dance of human interaction. We learn at a very early age that conversation is a pas de deux, a game that two (or more) people play that involves breathing, winking, nodding, eye contact, head tilts, hand gestures, and a whole series of subtle non-verbal signals that help both parties communicate with one another.Indeed, conversation is much less functional without these nonverbal signals.