The Language Of Influence


Do you ever have those conversations with people and you feel like you just can't get through to them? Maybe you have consistently under performing employees, despite persistent encouragement… Teams that cooperate but don't collaborate…

What is important to understand here is the crucial factor of rapport. Whether it’s in the office or at home, rapport is a key principle for success in all relationships. When we develop rapport with individuals, I believe three things occur:

1. Individuals feel valued
2. Individuals feel understood
3. Individuals feel they have options, or in other words, don't feel controlled

Resistance Versus Rapport 

The effectiveness of our communication is in the response we get. When we are communicating with individuals, its important to remember that our language patterns can easily develop resistance instead of rapport and detract from our ability to influence behaviour the way we would like it to.

“There are no resistant individuals, only inflexible communicators” ~ Unknown

Resistant Language Patterns

Common language patterns used in the workplace today can often evoke a sense of unwillingness and display resistance with those we communicate with. We might use language patterns that infer indirect requests: “you’re late” is a common example of an indirect request, or we might shed an ‘absolute’ like “do it now or suffer the consequences”. Maybe we commonly describe a situation with ‘organ’ terms like “ Tim, you are giving me a headache… Kathy you’re a pain in the neck…Josh you are driving me crazy”.

How To Stay In Rapport

Build Rapport through body language - Communication is 7% words, 38 % tonality and 55% physiology. If we communicate with our arms folded, we elicit a defensive state within the mind. Our Physiology largely affects our psychology, making it difficult to come across as charismatic and for the other person to be open to what we are saying to them.

Practice positive, succinct requests - The mind doesn’t process negatives very well. Learn to practice saying things the way you want them to be. I was coming home on the train last week and there it was, a sign that said: “don’t put your feet on the seat”. What about if I asked you, don’t think of a purple elephant! If you are accustomed to giving negative requests, try switching them around and saying things the way you actually want them to be, see what type of results you get!

Practice using questions at the end of certain statements to dissolve resistance – by doing this, we invite people into our way of seeing things and at the same time create options i.e. “Lets run with this idea… don’t you think?”

Replace your ‘but’ with ‘and’ – we have all had conversations that go a bit like this… “I appreciate what you are saying, but…” or “I totally understand why you did that, but you really should have…”. All individuals want to feel heard and understood, when we use the word ‘but’ like this, we lose influence in our conversations. However, if we replace the word ‘but’ with the word ‘and’ we open up a space for rapport. Instead we could try “I appreciate what you are saying, and I would also like to add… “ Remember ‘but’ builds walls, ‘and’ builds bridges.

I would love to hear your thoughts in channeling resistant conversations to communicating with influence

The Language Of Influence

Benjamin Young

Speaker | Coach | Trainer | at Job Performance Coaching & Training

I help executives, managers & team leaders to influence human behaviour and in essence get more out of individuals and teams in terms of execution and results, sustainably. I help both leaders and employees improve excellence, energy & productivity in the workplace. I do this by teaching three specific skill sets: 1. Dealing with having too much to do 2. Staying cool under pressure 3. Influencing Behaviour -(Presenteeism, Absenteeism, Underperforming staff, Constructive Feedback)