How to Increase Your Influence at Work Quickly
At any workplace, you as an employee will have to work shoulder to shoulder with other people from your staff and you have to know how to present yourself properly in order to not only gain people’s trust but also to have some influence at work.
Having influence at the office is important in order for people to take you seriously and listen to what you have to say.
Increasing your influence takes time but if you follow these steps you will see how easy it is to get a good reputation if you know what you’re doing.
SETTING YOUR GOALS
In order for you to gain more influence at work, first, you need to figure out what you want to accomplish.
In other words, if you want to gain more influence solely for the popularity, or to have an actual impact in your workplace, are two starting points to which you need to set your goals.
Obviously being popular at work won’t give you the impact you need to really be respected by, not just your colleagues, but also your boss.
You’re not in high-school and it won’t you do any good, because even if you’re really popular and likable by most of the staff, you can get, for example, the paperwork nobody wants to do just because they expect you to be more capable of doing it.
Instead what you really should do to increase your influence is strive for respect.
When someone respects you for your actions and sees that you’re a genuine and hardworking person, they will most likely listen to what you have to say thinking it’s important.
The first impression you leave when you start a new job is crucial for your later influence at work because you only have one chance for it and also if you don’t present yourself in your best light you may have to work hard in order to get a good reputation.
If you show that you have the traits which define a person who needs to be respected and has some influence on others than you won’t have any problem maintaining that image, just know that lots of people have ruined their reputation with one small mistake so be careful what you do.
Not only should you be sociable, approachable, and responsible, dress well but also be yourself the best way you can and don’t act like you’re the smartest person in the room because people don’t like someone who is just talking and not doing anything to prove his claims.
This all applies for job interviews as well because you need to show your future boss that you’re the right person for that job and not someone who is just there to collect their payment and do nothing else.
Every job takes commitment and responsibility, if you have those two traits right off the bat you are in a perfect spot to be a significant part of the office.
The way we sit, stand and even the way we face the person who is talking to us can have a positive or a negative impact on their general impression of us.
And we do these things without thinking which is normal and just shows how our body reacts to certain situations, for example when we talk to someone and we want to leave so we turn our torso towards the exit even though we are still engaged in the conversation.
This subtle move tells the person that we want to leave.
What you need to pay attention to is:
- Keeping your hands busy – Some people tend to always do something with their hands and are either touching their face all the time or making small movements with their fingers making them seem nervous or impatient. This is called fidgeting, and a good way to avoid this is to always have either a notebook or something else in your hands keeping them busy.
- Mirroring – Mirroring is basically acting the way the person you are talking to acts. For example, if they cross their arms or if they lean forward you should do it too, making them feel like you are on the same level as them and will like you more because of people often like someone who is similar to them.
- Crossing your arms – Generally, when you cross your arms you seem less approachable because it tells the person you are in a defensive state so you should avoid it. However, as we mentioned if the person you are talking to have their arms crossed, then feel free to cross them too.
- Hand gestures – When we speak, some of us tend to make a lot of hand movements to better describe the topic or story we are talking about and it’s a great way to better portray what we’re talking about. Just avoid using too exaggerated hand gestures or standing like a lifeless plant because both behaviors will put people off.
- Sitting – As I already mentioned, the way we sit is also important because if you slouch or sit at the end of your chair you will look sloppy and like you don’t want to be at work anymore. Instead, you should sit straight so your back is against the back of the chair so you have proper posture and avoid back pain.
Once we are aware of our body language we can control it better and people will quickly notice that we know how to act in social interactions, have manners and are overall in tone with our behavior.
This will surely increase our influence and make us more presentable.
Eye contact is the most important form of nonverbal communication and has a lot of influence on our social behavior.
Knowing this, you should know how to use the right amount of eye contact to let the person you’re talking to know that you’re engaged in the conversation and aren’t afraid of social contact.
When you don’t use eye contact but rather just look around or at the floor, your interlocutor might assume that you’re shy and that you’re not interested in what they have to say.
Don’t be afraid to look people in the eyes, instead, you should use this to your advantage to let people know that you’re comfortable with them.
Too much eye contact isn’t very good either as you might put off people who are shy or just be looked at as being creepy.
Instead look a person in the eyes when you want to make a point and feel free to make eye gestures to either further emphasize your point or lead someone’s direction to something without pointing your finger, which is as we all know considered to be very rude.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Looking back at my previous point, it’s obvious that you should establish good communication with your colleagues so you can feel comfortable in your workplace and also being more productive in your work-group. The way you do this is by:
- Being engaged in small-talk – Small-talk is a great way to get to know your colleagues and also have a deeper connection with them. Of course, you shouldn’t share private things about yourself, but just talk to people you work with about anything and try to get to know them a little better.
- Being approachable – No one likes to deal with people who are grumpy or angry all the time, you should let people know by your behavior that they can talk to you at any time and have a real conversation. You don’t have to tell funny jokes in order for people to like you, just be calm and open-minded about any topic which is being talked about.
- Be serious– Sure you can have a laugh with the people from work you are comfortable with, but when it comes to business, try not to be that guy who is just making jokes and laughs all the time. Leave the jokes for the break-room or after work at the pub.
- Know when to be a leader and when to be a listener – There are countless situations when you need to be in charge of a work-group when you see that people can’t establish a mutual standpoint and say the things that will resolve all issues. However, you must know when to listen to the people who have a better understanding of a certain topic in order to learn something from them.
Taking into consideration all these things that I’ve listed, it seems a bit hard to have good communication with your colleagues but to be fair it’s really not.
Try at least one or two of these points every day at the office and you will quickly see how much you will succeed in having more influence at work and really gaining people’s trust and respect.
You might be shocked to know that people pay attention to what clothes you wear and actually has a lot of impact on how you are interpreted.
No one wants to see someone in shorts, gym pants or socks and sandals at an office.
It’s all about being confident and comfortable in your own skin, and when you’re neatly dressed and are also confident in what you have to say and what you do people will start to notice all these little things about you, not to mention that your female colleagues will go crazy once they see you have some style.
You should also dress your age and don’t be that guy who is in their twenties or thirties and dresses like someone’s granddad with a tree piece suit and overly loose pants as you will be looked at like you don’t know how to dress properly.
Experiment with colors and designs but don’t go too crazy with it, for example, don’t go out and wear Mickey Mouse socks because you think they are cool.
Dressing plain and simple is better than having a wide variety of flashing colors popping out of every corner of your outfit.
Remember that in an office environment you don’t need to wear a jacket if you don’t want to, a nice white or baby blue shirt with a sweater on top will work along with some khaki pants or chinos.
You don’t have to dress like your boss to feel like you’re the boss.
You also don’t need a large wardrobe in order to be stylish in your workplace, a couple of pair of pants a few shirts and two or three pairs of shoes will do the job.
If you know how to combine outfits you can get away with pretty much anything, the point is not to seem like you don’t care what you wear.
Please wear a suit and a tie at any big event or meeting you may have at your job as you don’t want to be the only person in the room who is wearing a plain white shirt and black pants, no one likes rebels.
GIVE COMPLIMENTS AND KNOW HOW TO RECEIVE THEM
If you want to be seen as genuine and trustworthy you should know how to give someone a compliment and most importantly how to receive one.
Giving compliments isn’t as easy as you may think but once you know when and how to give one, you will surely be more likable and have greater influence at your work than before.
Be sure to only give compliments when you really mean them otherwise you may sound ironic and maybe insult somebody which will shatter any chances of your influence increasing at work.
When giving a compliment, be sure to:
- Compliments someone’s outfit – Instead of complimenting someone on their appearance, for example, if they are fit or if they have a pretty face, you should compliment them on the way they dressed today to avoid potentially insulting someone. You should because do this not everyone is confident in their own skin and even though it may appear to you that they are confident that may not always be the case.
- Compliment someone’s idea – People love it when you agree with them and especially when they come up with something and share it with others. If you really like their idea compliment them on it and say what part of their idea you like best.
- Compliment someone’s effort – If you see someone working really hard say to them that they are doing an amazing job or something like that because everyone like to know that their work is being appreciated by others and not just their boss.
- Don’t compliment your boss too much – You can if you want to compliment your boss but don’t do it very often because this might be seen as you trying to flatter them so that you can get some extra benefits. If your boss is cool, invite him or her to have a drink or coffee instead.
When receiving a compliment be sure to act humble and don’t sound like you’re arrogant about it because you will be seen as obnoxious and egoistic.
Thank the person complimenting you and return the favor by saying something nice to them back.
People like it when someone is honest with them because with honesty comes trust and with trust comes respect.
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not and don’t lie to people to get what you want or in order for them to listen to you.
That is very manipulative and won’t get you anywhere, because if you get caught lying you will be judged by everyone and for a good reason.
Instead, you should be honest with yourself and with others as well so they know what kind of person you are and that you have nothing to hide.
As I said, once people know you’re honest with them they will trust you more and won’t have a second thought when they talk to you or share something with you privately. It takes time to get someone to trust you and once you earn their trust you should maintain that relationship.
As always you can’t get everyone to trust you but you should try to be honest with everyone to at least allow them to trust you with the work you need to accomplish together.
There is nothing which can increase your influence at work than being responsible for your actions and be” a man of your words”.
That means that your actions should speak louder than your words and you must try to keep a promise you’ve made to someone.
Someone who takes the responsibility for their own mistakes and who isn’t afraid to admit it is always seen as a dominant figure in any situation and especially at the office where those kinds of people are needed when something goes wrong to take the blame so that others don’t have to pay for it.
This may sound like being responsible is like being a sacrificial lamb, but that can be further from the truth as people will be grateful towards you for taking a bullet for the team.
CONTROLLING YOUR EMOTIONS
All of these tips won’t be possible if you aren’t able to control your feelings and know how to act in a workgroup with other people.
Stressful situations, clash of interests and general human interaction all need to be settled inside the office and not outside.
No matter how much we try to hide it but when we feel stressed or agitated it is all projected through our behavior and the way we talk and people can pick up these signals very quickly which leads to you being interpreted as angry or even depressed.
The goal is when you leave the office to be sure you’ve done your job today as best as you could and be satisfied with the results not having to think about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow.
The only way to do this is to control your emotions.
If someone from work tries to insult you just don’t react at all because if you do both of you will end up looking childish and not qualified to be in the office.
Just brush it off and, if you can ignore them, if not confront them and ask what the problem is and how they think it should be fixed.
When you have a stressful day at work, try not to transfer your dissatisfaction to others as they might be feeling the same way too.
Instead, try to cope with the stress and set an example for others so they can see that you can handle any problem you might face.
People will not only respect you more but will be amazed at how well you manage your emotions.
The trick is to detach your personal life from your career and to do so you need to know when to turn off some feelings which might not be convenient for the office.
Do yourself a favor and leave strong emotions like love and hate when you get out of your home and turn on the feelings of enjoyment and goodwill when you sit at your desk. This will help you to go through even the toughest days.
Taking into consideration everything we’ve discussed today I hope that you get the picture of what you need to either change about yourself or work on in order to gain more influence.
These steps are hard to make but if you start using them you will quickly be that person who is being respected at work and has a say in every situation and not just some employee who is only interested in getting paid.
You can take baby steps and try out all the tips you’ve learned today or you can even make a huge transformation and come into work tomorrow as a completely different person just try not to fall into the trap of doing these things against your own will.
Be honest with yourself and everything will fall into place.