A favorite writer of mine, Kevin Eikenberry, related a travel story where he exercised Seven Simple Way to Subtly Influence People. As I read how Kevin used his influence for a successful outcome I thought that his seven tips can and should become the foundation for influencing people, which is a key trait and skill for HR professionals.
The seven ways Kevin writes about include:
- Use a person’s name. Or in this case the employee’s name. The old adage says that a person’s name is the sweetest sound in the world to them. (I did find as a child however, that my mother using Michael David was not a sweet sound. That generally spelled trouble.) But using someone’s name does show that you have taken the time to get to know them.
- Acknowledge them. Let them know you have recognized the fact that they are there and that they may have something valuable to contribute.
- Be interested in them. Most of us have a personal set of concerns that we want people to be interested in, so often we start conversations with out agendas. However, I have often heard and experienced that to be interesting you must be interested. If you want to get someone to pay attention to you, you must first pay attention to them.
- Say please and thank you. It continues to amaze me what a bit of politeness will do for you. Remember that.
- Be kind. In the heat of battle, when frustration mounts tempers may flare. It is that time when a bit of kindness wields its most effective influence.
- Smile. Smiles beget smiles. Especially when most people have been facing many non-smiling faces. Pay attention you smile will often be met with an initial look of relief. (Unless there is some underlying look of sadism with it.)
- Assume the best. Give employees credit. Assume they are working hard to solve the problems and correct the errors. As Eikenberry said “When you assume the best in others, you give them a valuable gift.”
These seven tips will serve you well in your job dealing with employees. It will also serve you well in your travels or in your shopping travails this holiday season. Eikenberry provides with a great quote from Zig Ziglar to end his piece that I want to repeat here.
“You can get everything in life that you want, if you will help enough other people get what they want.”
To read Kevin’s story and his application of these tips click here.