The Art of Influence: the magic ingredient for your communication

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We are not islands. We can’t get things done without collaborating with other people, and influence is the magic ingredient.

Influence helps you deliver your projects, navigate the challenges, gives you the opportunity to gain share of voice and can enhance your professional reputation.

Explore in this episode strategies to improve your influencing skills.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why influence is the magic ingredient
  • How to improve your influence
  • Stakeholder maps
  • Understand business needs vs. wants
  • Speak the same language
  • Clarity in your message
  • Deliver with impact

Find out more:


Hello and a very warm welcome to Cultural Communication Confidence, with me Victoria Rennoldson, and welcome back to this episode, where we are going to be talking all about: influence, as this is something I know is top of mind for many of you who listen. Now, influence is relevant whether you are talking about influencing people in your direct team, peer-to-peer, so at the same level, or whether you’re talking about influence upwards, so to Senior Management to get decisions or approval on your projects. It could also be about influence externally, so influencing your customers or your partners. All of these are important elements of influence, and I want to share with you today my thoughts around: what is important when it comes to influence? How do we do this well? And some practical ideas and strategies that you can take away and try out.

Now, I’ve mentioned some of the ways that we influence, and why is it important? Well ultimately, influence, the way that we do this, means that we get our projects and our goals delivered. It means that we can ensure that we’re meeting our personal performance objectives and our team objectives. It helps us when we have the right influence style and approach, it helps us when we’re experiencing some of the problems and challenges, and I spoke about this on a recent episode all about challenging conversations. And, you know for me, it’s also about ultimately, when we have the right influence approach, it can help us in the way that we’re perceived, it enhances our professional reputation, and can ultimately help us progress our careers.

But how do we do this? Well, I think one of the best ways to start when we’re thinking about our influence is thinking about the key people we need to influence, our stakeholders. And I do an exercise, when I’m working with my clients, where we often think about what kind of stakeholders do we have, and map them out. So you can create a map where you understand who is it that you need to actively involve in conversations and communicate regularly, and engage in the conversation – they are directly involved. Then you have people who are consulted – people who do have an influence on the final end point, but perhaps are not so regularly involved. And then finally, you have stakeholders you just need to inform, to update on progress and where things are at. Now, if you can understand which of your stakeholders go into each of those areas, it can then give you the power to think about how you communicate with each of those groups. You can understand about what is the best best way to communicate with them, what’s the best communication method. You can also think about: how regularly do they want to be communicated with? And what’s the right channel? Sometimes people assume emails or Teams is the best way to keep in touch, but there might be other preferences your stakeholders have, so it’s worth checking with them.

Other questions that might be helpful to ask include things like: frequency – how often are they expecting to be updated / involved in the conversations? And then the final area with stakeholders is that, it can be very helpful to think about when there are issues or challenges coming up on what you’re working on, how do they want to be informed of that? What is the best method to get them involved at that stage? So mapping your stakeholders, thinking about your communication strategies, these are all really important planning tools to help you with your influence. So that’s where it starts – stakeholders and mapping. Now part of that, a sort of second point I want to pull out, is understanding their needs versus their wants. Now, when you meet with your stakeholders, you might have a sense that they have a long shopping list of everything that they want to see, and they want to have delivered as part of this project. Sometimes it might be also conflicting – you have different stakeholders, who have very different wants from the delivery of what you’re working on, and that can be challenging to manage. One exercise that can help you with this, is to divide into what they ‘absolutely need’ versus what they want and desire – ‘would be nice to have’, as part of the project delivery. So that could be very helpful, because the ‘needs’ are the ultimate musts. The ultimate need to deliver, whereas the ‘wants’ are if you are able to bring that into scope of work, then it’s great if you can deliver it, if you can’t, then perhaps that’s negotiable. So really consider what is a ‘need’ versus a ‘want’, speak to your stakeholders and get their inputs on this. And this can help with: what does success look like to them; you can notice the language that they’re using to describe what they’re wanting, and it’s really helpful to use the same language back with them, to reflect that back. And it really helps that you have that deep conversation early on, so that you’re not just assuming that you know what it is they’re looking for. So that’s the second area: ‘needs versus wants’.

The third area is to speak the same language, and there are a couple of angles on this. Now, assuming that you’re using one language as a common language to communicate, whether that is English or another language, it is still really important that there is common understanding. And what that looks like is, if you are in a global team and you are very diverse, you have people from many different cultures and with different languages, even if you’re using one language like English as your common business language, it’s really important everybody has the same understanding. So that means using inclusive language, thinking carefully about how you communicate, so everybody understands the same messages. That could mean for example, that you avoid jargon. You avoid acronyms that aren’t common to everybody’s understanding, or if you use them, you explain what they mean. If you are somebody who works in a more of a technical function or Department, that you void technical language, unless again, everybody in the room understands it. And by the way, that’s particularly important if you’re communicating and influencing upwards, where people might be speaking the language of business, rather than the technical language you’re used to speaking every day. So really really think about this: how do you speak the same language? How do you make it inclusive and keep it simple, so everybody understands the same message? This is something for you to consider.

From speaking the same language, I want you to focus on your Clarity of your message. Now, when it comes to influence, you want to make sure that you design the messages you know the content of what you have to say, so it lands with those people. If you’ve done the first part of the strategies I suggested today – your stakeholder mapping, understanding their needs versus wants, then this should be okay for you to do now. You should be able to get clear on how to share the messages and updates, to consult with them, to involve them, to inform them. If this is an area that you find challenging, or you want to get some more detail on this, then I highly recommend that you go back and listen to a recent episode I did, which was all about Clarity, and I shared aspects of the 5 Ps model I use in my work, so you can get clearer in the way you speak and the way that you express yourself. And then, the final part of influence, is delivering with impact. We often hear the old quote: ‘it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.’ So it’s not just the words, the message, but you need to land that in a way that influences others to take action. So with that impact, what you want to think about is you’re super clear on what you want people to do and take action on. That there is Clarity in the timeline around that. You also want to have, with impact, the sense of: what do you want people to feel at the end of your interaction? When you’re influencing them. What is the sense that you want them to take away, so that they perceive you in a certain way? We have many tools available to us, to create impact, to influence in this way, and it could include elements such as how you sit or stand, how you dress, what colours you choose to wear, you might think about as well, what you’re doing with your voice, and how you are moving, if you’re for example, presenting – how you’re moving your body and your hand gestures.

So there are many different aspects you can consider, and if you want to learn more about that, then I highly recommend you go back to another recent episode, where I was talking about Impact, and how this model I use can help elevate what you’re doing, and that was on an episode which was all about Confidence, so I’ll put a a link to that in the show notes. So there you go, a few starter strategies for you to work on today. I think influence always starts with knowing who you’re talking to, and I do believe that stakeholder mapping is an incredibly useful tool. So let me ask you: do you really understand who your key stakeholders are? Do you know what their needs are, versus what they just want to see delivered? Are you able to differentiate that? And when you have conflicting lists of things that people want – your stakeholders want – how are you managing that today? Are you speaking the same language as your stakeholders, so you can successfully influence them? And are you clearly expressing your messages, so they land well, and doing that with impact? I’d love to know how you think you’re doing on this topic of influence today, and what’s working for you, and perhaps what’s not working so well for you. And remember, if this is an area that you need further support on, I’m here for you. So if you would like to find out how to improve your influence, then why not book a Communication Assessment with me? I can hear how you speak, I can see how you operate today, and give you some insights, for you to take away and try out as well. So if you’d like to do that, you’d like to book a Communication Assessment with me, go to, and from there you can book your assessment, and get some insights from me.

So thank you so much for joining me here today, for this episode all about influence, I hope you found it useful and valuable for you. If you did, fantastic, I’m really pleased to hear that. I’d love to hear about what you found particularly helpful, and what your greatest takeaway was – you can do that via LinkedIn and send me a message. And, if that is the case, then please feel free to share this episode with somebody else who would find it valuable as well, a friend, a co-worker, a colleague, somebody else you know who would get benefit from this, to help improve their own influencing skills. Thank you so much for joining me today, and I look forward to seeing you next time, on Cultural Communication Confidence.

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Cultural Intelligence certified facilitator
Cultural Intelligence certified facilitator 2
mybrain mind master practitioner
global chamber
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