Influencing – How to use soft skills to get hard results

May 28, 2012 | By

The four influencing approaches

The four approaches are:

  • Assertive – you influence in a straightforward and candid way, expressing what you want and the way you want it done
  • Rational – you influence by presenting your case using reasoning and evidence
  • Participative – you influence by involving and engaging interpersonally with others
  • Inspirational – you influence by arousing enthusiasm and passion and engaging others’ emotions.

Each of the approaches has its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. One approach is not ‘better’ than another, rather they are different. What is important is that you are able to choose the appropriate approach (or combination of approaches) for the people, the context, and the specific influencing issue you are facing, and that you are able to use them skilfully. The problem is that most of us fall into the trap of relying on a single approach. This is usually the one you are used to, the one you use confidently and which seems comfortable to you. Consequently you will not be using the full range of approaches and therefore may be missing opportunities to influence most effectively.

Below are some of the details and characteristics of the four approaches.

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