Thursday, October 1, 2009

GHC09: Real life advice on becoming a person of influence

After Jo Miller's lesson on "Becoming a Person of Influence", we had a great Q&A panel with some very successful women. Here are some of the notes/advice I jotted down:

Q: Out of the 6 different influencing styles, what is your advice on which one to use?
A: Your influencing style will have to change over time, and you probably will have to use all 6 at some time or other. The style you use will depend on the audience you're addressing, and you will need to learn when to use which one.

Q: What advice do you have for technical women to be better influencers?
A: Believe in your talent, don't let others see you sweat. Volunteer for technical societies or conferences, it's important to network. If someone resists your suggestions, talk to them in private and listen to why. Do your homework and talk to high influence people prior to meetings and get them to be on you side, understand their motivations and see how you can align that to what you want to do.

Q: Was there a time you tried to influence someone and messed up? How do you bounce back?
A: Step back and analyze the situation, and realize things don't always work the way you want them to. Sometimes you just need to move on. Maintain your confidence, but understand your shortcomings and really listen to what people tell you. Women suffer from an unusual amount of perfectionism, understand that having confidence does not require always being perfect. It's ok to mess up sometimes, don't internalize the failure, it's more important to recognize what went wrong and fix it. There is always learning to be had, focus on the lesson learned.

Other tidbits:
  • As a leader, bring up the next generation of leadership. Bring your A game every day, and help others bring their A game as well. If you build a good relationship with people, they are more likely to be influenced by you.
  • Everyone has the ability to influence, they just may not know it. You are always influencing your family and friends, think how you do it and extend that to your work life.
  • Everyone has some area they are very good at. Make sure you pick a job that utilizes this super power and use it to your advantage. This will help you be successful in a natural way.
  • If you are struggling with something, tell people about it. Invariably someone will connect you with someone else who can help. People like to help.
  • If you want people to act a certain way around you, you need to role model that behavior yourself.
  • Have a passion for what you do, and stick with it. You'll be less nervous at the risks, more focused on the objectives, people will see when you really want something and they'll want to help you.
  • When someone recognizes your accomplishments, don't be too humble and trivialize it, just say "thank you".

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