Influencing Others

Definition: Using a variety of persuasion tactics, interpersonal skills, and communication and presentation strategies to convince others to make decisions that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved.


5 Tips to Quickly Improve your Influence

  • Fully understand the other party’s perspective before attempting to make your case.

  • Consciously seek to build relationships with the people who are important to you.

  • In discussions and negotiations, highlight areas of agreement. When possible, break large disagreements into smaller pieces.

  • Achieve “small wins” early in the discussions.

  • Know the alternatives to agreement. What will you do if you are unable to agree?


  • Influence and persuasion is available to everyone; you don’t have to be in a position of authority or power to exert influence over others at work.

  • Three personal attributes form the foundation of influence in the workplace, 1) reliability, 2) trustworthiness, 3) assertiveness.

  • Always check to ensure that your influence is ethical and acceptable for the workplace. Unethical behavior damages credibility and will ultimately lower your ability to be influential in the workplace.

  • The ability to influence others is also dependent on your ability to communicate effectively with others and have good interpersonal relationships. Be sure to review the developmental activities associated with those competencies as well!

Self-Directed Learning Activities

Relevant Readings:



Self-Guided Activities:

  • Build relationships with your peers, and do favors for others. In all likelihood, the favor will be returned and in the process you will gain trust and respect—both vital to your ability to influence in the future.

  • Practice identifying the drivers and motivators of others who work around you. What matters to them? Is it inspiration, task, position, relationship or personal factors (see Cohen & Bradford for explanation).

Guided Learning Activities


  • Volunteer to be a representative for your organization or department in an inter-departmental meeting or workshop. Work with your supervisor or a trusted other to practice your persuasion tactics prior to the meeting. After the meeting, use one of the Learning Journals to document your experience and review this with your supervisor or mentor. What did you do well? Where is there room for improvement?

  • Practice your influencing tactics during a presentation you give for work. Prior to the meeting, ask a supervisor or trusted other to take notes on your persuasion skills. Review the notes with that individual following the presentation.

  • If you can’t get an opportunity to practice influence skills at work, consider volunteering to take on a leadership role in any group you are a part of outside of work (e.g., church). Use this as an opportunity to identify the motivators of others and create a mutually beneficial relationship, following Cohen & Bradford’s techniques. Use your learning journal to track your experiences.

Formal Training/Education

School and Course Module(s):

  • Casper College

COM 1040 -Intro to Human Communication:This course is an introduction to the process of human communication. Six major areas of communication studies will be examined: interpersonal, intercultural, small group, public, mass, and organizational. This course is designed to combine theory and practice to increase both understanding and skills from each perspective. The course will discuss the evolution of communication theory, current trends, and possible areas for future research.

  • Eastern Wyoming College

BADM 1020 Business Communications: This course will cover the topic of business communications—written, oral, nonverbal, and listening. Application will be made to business situations. The major focus of this course is on writing business messages and reports. Emphasis will be given to the study of effective writing principles, problem analysis, and the writing process.

CO/M 1040 Introduction to Human Communication: This course focuses on the role of communication in current affairs, business, and personal relations. Practical application of theory to communication problems in everyday life.

  • Laramie County Community College

BADM 1020 –Business Communication: Students study the principles, strategies, and techniques of effective written, oral, and digital business communication. Emphasis is placed on reviewing grammar and mechanics as students create successful written messages including e-mails, memos, letters, reports, and resumes. Students learn productive techniques to communicate professionally in an increasingly global, digital workplace.

CO/M 2010 Public Speaking: Students develop foundational verbal, digital, and written communication skills in this introductory public speaking course. Students practice skills to effectively construct, write, organize, deliver, and critique speeches in a variety of public communication contexts and speaking formats.

CO/M 2120 Small Group Communication: Students develop group communication skills focusing on topics such as group decision making and problem solving techniques, group development and cohesion, conflict management, and leadership principles.

  • Northern Wyoming Community College

CO/M 1010 -Introduction to Public Speaking: This course introduces the material and methods for developing ideas, organizing material, and delivering both formal and informal speeches. The course emphasizes the speaker’s attention to the speaker/audience relationship. It is designed to develop the basic skills needed for making effective oral presentations and for listening effectively.

CO/M 2120 -Small Group Communication: This course is a problem-solving course which involves the investigation of communication behavior in small group situations such as: networks, dynamics, leadership roles, member functions, and decision making behavior. These theoretical aspects ofsmall group are developed through participation in small group activities.

  • Northwest College

BADM 1020 -Business Communication: Applies principles of written and spoken business communication in business environments through reviewing case studies; writing specific types of business letters, memos, and reports; and delivering oral presentations.

CO/M 2010 -Public Speaking:An introductory course with emphasis on oral communication theory and practice. Provides a basic understanding of the significance oforal communication as well as instruction and practice in the basic skills of public speaking.

  • Western Wyoming Community College

COMM 1070 -Effective Communication:Listening is the process of hearing, attending to, interpreting, remembering, and responding to spoken messages. This course will explore listening theories and research, the listening process, listening challenges, various listening contexts; and essential listening skills.