To increase your influence, cultivate your credibility

Workplace clout has its foundations in professional integrity, practical knowledge and personal rapport with your colleagues.

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It’s fascinating when I hold an influence class for a client, and ask, “What can you do to build influence?” Here are some of the answers I normally get:

The things on this list aren’t enough anymore, and for a simple reason. Look around in the workplace. What do you see? Probably a bunch of people who do good work, work hard and put in the hours. The question you need to ask is, “How do I distinguish myself from others?” The answer is simple to say, but it will take time to implement. You need a plan.

Influence is driven by your level of credibility. What makes you credible? Being knowledgeable, trustworthy, confident, competent, consistent, empathetic? I’m sure you have these traits and more. Unfortunately, they don’t make you credible to others. It is other people’s recognition of those traits that has everything to do with the amount of influence you have. You need a plan to figure out how to get others to recognize these traits within you.

How do you do that? Use rapport. Rapport allows you, in whatever situations you face, to generate credibility, whether you are working one to one or one to group. Rapport is about communication and relationship. It is the way in which we work to create connections with others.

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