This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

Last week’s tip focused on the close relationship between influence and trust. This week, we take it one step further by revealing the specific aspect of trust-building that makes you more influential. It’s a surprising one.

First, a quick recap. In the business of advice-giving, recommendation-making, idea-offering, or selling, it is not enough to be right—you have to earn the right to be right.

Now, the “how.” Most people assume we earn the right to be right by being knowledgeable, prepared, articulate—in short, by being credible.
Not so.

The key to getting your advice taken actually has surprisingly little to do with the content of the advice you give and everything to do with the context of how you listen to others.

Others will listen to you, and be open to your advice, point of view, and perspective once they feel they have been fully heard and understood by you. Even better if you’re open to influence in the process.

And therein lies another paradox: want to influence others? Stop trying to influence them. Listen first.

Make It Real

This week, get curious.

Bring to mind an upcoming opportunity to be influential with someone (or a group). What point of view are you bringing to the table? State it crisply and simply. Then, put your point of view aside and do the really important work: reflect on what you are curious about. What do you need to find out that will help you thoroughly understand and appreciate their perspectives?

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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).