3 Techniques That'll Make You More Influential

August 14, 2017

Are you wondering how to influence others and become more persuasive? These three techniques from LinkedIn Learning Instructor John Ullmen will help.

No matter how smart you are, no matter how talented, there’s only so much you can do alone. Big successes in life require the support of many people.

To get that support, you need to be able to influence others. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done – influencing others is an area many people struggle in. That’s because influencing people is a skill that’s rarely taught in school or practiced at home.

We are here to help. In his LinkedIn Learning course Influencing Others, LinkedIn Learning Instructor John Ullmen explained the psychology of influence, as well as detailing 18 methods for stregthening your argument.

While we won’t run through all 18 (watch the course to see them all), here are three methods for influencing others Ullmen described in his course:

1. Establish urgency or scarcity

Call while supplies last. A 24-hour sale. You’ve heard these taglines so much they’ve become cliché, but the reason they are used so much is because they work.

“Establish urgency or scarcity,” Ullmen said. “Opportunities with clear, near term limits are typically more motivating.”

How do you do this? Ullmen gave three tips:

  • Make it clear that now is the time to act. Explain why the decision should not be delayed.
  • Along with time constraints, use scarcity as well, if applicable. For example, maybe you’d like to pilot a new company’s beta release for a discounted cost, and spots are limited.
  • Don’t just highlight the benefit of acting now. Also highlight the loss of not acting now – research shows the fear of loss is more motivating than the possibility of gain.

2. Use social proof

A common reason people do certain things – other people are doing them too. For example, if a bunch of people you know read a specific book; well, you probably would be more inclined to read that book as well.

That’s the power of social proof. To incorporate social proof into your argument, Ullmen said:

  • Point out trends or survey data that back your point. For example, citing that 88 percent of companies have adopted a digital marketing strategy is a good argument for your company adopting a digital marketing strategy as well.
  • Share success stories from others who are as similar as possible to those you are trying to persuade. Say you work for BMW and you think a vendor is right for you – highlighting Audi’s success with that vendor would be persuasive.
  • Be aware of negative social proof. Let’s say an organization that’s like yours but is not looked well upon by your management team has used a certain vendor. Highlighting that company’s use of the product might actually hurt your company's desire to want it too, so be careful with who you cite as social proof. 

3. Connect your ask to the organization's larger strategy

At work, if you are trying to influence leadership to do something, you need to show what’s in it for them. That requires connecting your ask to their key goals, Ullmen said.

For example, say you want to hire a new resource to fill a hole in your team. Rather than just making the argument about how that new resource will help your team, explain how they’ll also help reach an organizational goal (say, brand awareness, more efficiency or more eloquent design).

That’ll not just make your argument more persuasive, it’ll show to leadership that you see beyond just your role.

These are just three of 18 techniques for influencing others Ullmen explains in his course, as well as the psychology of influence. Watch his full course here.