Figuratively speaking, each and every one of us is surrounded by 3 concentric circles. The first, and smallest, is our circle of control – the things we have authority over. The second, which is bigger, is our circle of influence – i.e. the things we may/may not control, but can influence.

The third, outer circle, is the circle of concern. In addition to the things we can control and influence, this includes things we would like to change, but cannot.

Influencing without authority is primarily about learning how to extend one’s circle of influence to the greatest extent possible. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind:

1. Your ability to influence people depends on your relationship with them. Use every opportunity to build trusting relationships with the people you need to influence and you will reap the benefits.

2. Your ability to influence depends on your ability to make focused, strong and logical arguments. If you care about something, plan and practice your pitch before trying to change someone’s mind.

3. Finally, people will believe you if they perceive you as an expert, and should they find gaping holes in your thinking this can severely hurt your credibility for next time. Do your homework, do your research and be ready to back up your arguments with strong evidence.

We all have the potential to be influential even if we don’t have the authority in a particular situation. Who do you want to influence, and why?

Russel Horwitz, Principal