Someone asked me this week about my hypnosis and coaching – “how do you influence people to change so elegantly and powerfully?”
After seeing what I did, they wanted to know more. Reflecting on this question, I told them there are really three key elements to ‘influencing’ others that create the basis of what love to do – intention, skills and strategies.
‘Influence’ is such a loaded word in the English language – it has been loaded up with meanings such as ‘manipulation’, ‘trickery’, and ‘dishonesty’. For me, ‘influence’ is not this at all. Instead, it reflects the ability to work with someone in their view of the world (in – flue = flow into; their view) and help them expand that view to find new solutions.
Which is where the first element of powerful influence comes into play: Intention.
Humans are finely tuned social creatures, and we have structures in our brain which trigger defences when we think we are being manipulated. These are so sensitive that they detect tiny body language cues and inconsistencies in how others behave – we get a ‘gut feel’ about others very quickly.
If your intention is anything but wanting the best for the other person, any attempt to influence them will be detected as ‘manipulation’ and their defences will slam shut. Being clear that your intention is for the good of the person you are influencing (and not for your own self-benefit) allows you to work with them behind their defences on finding great solutions for them.
After many years of study and self development, I am really clear about why I do what I do, and can be completely focused on getting positive outcomes for the people I work with. This ‘intention’ is so important in my work. If you want to influence someone, be clear of your intention. If it is for their benefit, then your chances of success increase. If it is only for your benefit, expect to fail.
The second element of powerful influence is having the skills. Because of our inherent social natures, humans are all great influencers. Just look at children, and how they find great ways to get what they want from their parents! We are born to influence (and be influenced), but often much of what we know is at an unconscious level.
We can learn to consciously enhance our influencing skills, but having the experience to know which technique is useful at that time for an individual client and how to elegantly use it takes lots of time and practice. ‘Clunky’ use of skills can appear to others like manipulation. To become influential, either trust your unconscious mind to provide the necessary skills at the right time, or spend a lot of time studying (or both!).
The third element of powerful influence is strategy. Having a clear process that allows the intent and the skills to be used effectively ensures that the effort to influence is not wasted. Just throwing influence tactics at people has a low chance of success. Taking the time to think through how you would approach an opportunity to influence someone can make your efforts much more effective. I teach a model, the CENTURY model, which works in coaching, hypnosis and general influence situations. To be influential first have a strategy for how you will apply your intention and your tactics.
There is a final ‘secret’ to influence that is often missed – one that sits at a deeper level that even these three key elements. The person you are influencing has total control of their own experience, and no matter what you do, in the end you are only ever helping them influence themselves.
When you get it right, the positive impact that you can have on others is wonderful. Helping people to live to their potential, to improve their lives and live in richer, fuller ways is what I love to do.
Have you ever been powerfully influenced? Have you ever been manipulated? How did you respond?
Do you have any tips or tricks on influence that you would like to share? I would love to hear your stories.