Technically trained professionals can often see the solution and the big picture – how to pivot and create positive changes in the business or enterprise they are committed to.  And this is important if we are loving what we are doing we want to be the best we can be.

But how often have you heard people lament about not being able to cut through – the pitch to the manager responsible for that section just couldn’t see the benefit of changing the status quo.  Well, this is super frustrating when we are employed to solve problems, and it might feel like people in power are too slow to change or can’t see the benefit of change.

Honing your powers of influence are not only critical to your success as a technical professional – they are one of the most important skills you will need the further you go in your career.  That’s why I’m reaching out to you now – so you can take that look in the cold hard light of day – and then read on to see if you are missing these elements of your strategy to be hugely influential.

Realise no “skill” will help you be influential

As the title says, it’s not about you.  That is the fundamental realisation you need to make the first step in being influential.  Are you someone who thinks you need all your ducks in a row; you need to be fully prepared with all the facts before pitching your idea?  In some cases, the person you are pitching to may be that type of person (highly likely) but have you considered what style you need to present your idea? How well do you know the person you are pitching to?  Ask yourself, how can you be more like them in the conversation.  It is about THEM not YOU. 

There’s a great story of a VC pitching meeting where a potential funder met with the start-up founder who was seeking a few million bucks to start their business idea.  They didn’t know each other.  They spent the whole meeting talking about sailing.  And the idea got funded.  Purely based on the start of a relationship and talking about something they both had in common.  So, I recommend getting out of your head that you have to know all the answers of how to pitch your idea – and start asking yourself how to understand the other person; what they need right now; how can you help them? 

Your confidence flows naturally – once you understand how your brain works

It might sound contradictory – but the point about letting go of your concern around knowing the answer; being prepared; to pitch your idea – is stemming from some element of self-doubt.  This is crazy right – you have done the work; ran the numbers and know the odds that this change will pay off for the business.    Why is there any doubt in your mind that is limiting your cut-through?

Well, this is so normal for most people – let alone the ones that have run the numbers!  In my experience the more I understood how my brain worked, and where that self-doubt was coming from, the easier it was to be certain in my convictions and hold the argument to be influential and get what I wanted.  

So, this work on understanding yourself never stops – it’s a continuous journey that will make it easier to let go, focus on how you can make a difference for others and stop worrying about yourself.  What a relief!  The saying that “you can’t teach on old dog new tricks” is completely wrong.  The more you invest in understanding yourself – they greater your influencing power will be.  And you will have those awesome outcomes for your career, the business, and any endeavour you are engaged with – so what are you waiting for?