by Don Morley

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Achieving influence without having first established rapport with the other party is always going to be testing. Because humans are so different, mastery of this capability is a good place to start in building our influencing skills.


The only way to achieve a win/win outcome is to put your case in a way that is persuasive, rather than aggressive. It takes real skill to strike the right balance, knowing when to push harder and when to back off.

Body Language

Statistics say that use of gestures, tone of voice, posture and so on are highly significant in relating to others and getting our message across – more so than the words we use. Accomplished influencers know this and work hard to master their approach.

Listening Skills

Lack of this vastly underrated skill set undermines the effectiveness of many individuals. Hearing the real message is key to understanding what the other party truly thinks and a pre-cursor to following up with further questions or suggestions.

Political Intelligence

In modern organisations, there are many conflicting ‘pulls’ on people and many factors that drive people in certain directions. It is vital to read these undercurrents if you wish to succeed at influencing.

Questioning Skills

In order to gain a clear understanding of other people’s views, it is essential to be able to pose questions in a manner that uncovers real insights, while retaining the complete confidence of the respondent.


How to move minds and influence people

Iain Carruthers, published by Prentice Hall, 2003, 126 pages

This aim of this short book is to help you get behind the barriers that others put up when you are trying to influence them. It explains how to fire their imagination through the use of stories that enable them to see the benefits of what you are putting across.

Influence without authority

Allan Cohen and David Bradford, published by John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2004, 320 pages

This is the updated edition of the original text, which demonstrates how to get work done when you do not have formal authority over others. Based on negotiating mutually beneficial exchanges – the ‘law of reciprocity’ – it explains how to determine the ‘currencies’ we possess for trading under these circumstances. Also maintains the notion of seeing others as allies to support a productive relationship.

Positive influencing skills

Terry Gillen, published by Institute of Personnel and Development, 1997, 208 pages

This text provides a general overview on:

  • Getting people on to your wavelength
  • Probing and listening to discover ‘where they are coming from’
  • Selling your own views
  • Using assertiveness and body language to put your message across
  • Resisting manipulative tactics
  • Adopting the right game plan for a variety of circumstances.

The science of influence

Kevin Hogan, published by John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2004, 256 pages

This book focuses, amongst other things, on how to:

  • Be persistent and build credibility
  • Read other people’s body language
  • Lower resistance and send non-verbal messages
  • Make people feel comfortable and ready to be influenced.

Influencing with integrity: management skills for communication and negotiation

Genie Laborde, published by Syntony Publishing, 1983, 231 pages

This is a very useful text for the reader who seeks an NLP perspective on influence. In particular, it examines the importance of rapport, body language, goal setting and flexibility.

Guide to managerial persuasion and influence

Jane Thomas, published by Prentice Hall, 2003, 120 pages

This book addresses influencing in the context of corporate cultures as well as gender and context issues. It also covers such things as developing your argument, checking logic and relating to your audience in order to persuade in a group situation.


You can also contact the author directly: Don Morley