Influencing Skills Definition and Glossary of Terms

MBM Glossaries: Influencing Skills Definition

This glossary contains our Influencing Skills definition and a list of terms frequently used in the topic of Influencing Skills. Meanwhile, for a comprehensive guide to how enhancing these persuasion skills can help improve your business, check out our free Ultimate Guide to Influencing Skills.

Active Listening

Focusing on trying to understand what the other party is trying to convey. In particular, active listening goes beyond hearing. It also includes identifying subtle messages and body language that may affect the actual message of the talker.


Properly translating into words thoughts and ideas that an audience easily grasps. In particular, being able to properly communicate one’s opinion make the influencer heard and understood better. And as a result have a greater chance of influencing.


An influencing style suitable for individuals who prefer to use facts and logical reasoning to persuade individuals.


An individual or group of people thought to be experts on a given subject. As a result, we rarely question their decisions or opinions. Usually, the Authority can be real or perceived.


This influencing style focuses on building relationships and creating connections to establish trust.

Body Language

Nonverbal cues on how an individual or a group may be responding to your influencing style. Generally, cultural differences play a major role in the type of body language used. Therefore, a skilled influencer listens and observes these differences.


A system where the use of hierarchical structures replaces autonomous decisions. As a result, the most important decisions are in the hands of officials. Also, there is an emphasis on following fixed rules and procedures.


When top-level management handles all decision-making processes for the company and its employees.

Common Ground

Similar interests, beliefs, or hobbies that an influencer can use as an anchor to become more likeable and, indeed, create deeper relationships.

Competency Framework

A tool that measures a number of competencies or skills across varied roles within the company. For the most part, it should look like a scorecard where employees can be rated by using certain behaviours that shows levels of competency.


The dedication of an individual or a group to pursue a goal.

Consensus Decision

A decision wherein everyone in the group is in agreement. Also referred to as a unanimous decision.

Confirmation Bias

When one cherrypicks information that confirms existing hypothesis and beliefs while leaving out facts that may challenge or debunk it.


A more subtle influencing style. In particular, the presentation of ideas goes hand in hand with rational persuasion.


The quality of being trustworthy and believed in, often based on previous performance.

Cultural Awareness

Being observant and aware of the cultural beliefs and values of an individual and their colleagues.

Cultural Differences

The differences between employees that are influenced by their culture, religion, and upbringing. Indeed, to be effective at influencing, motivating, or engaging employees, it is imperative for a leader to understand cultural differences and how to approach people from all walks of life.

Culture Shock

Confusion or disorientation brought about by differences in cultures. In particular, an individual may feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed by a new work culture when entering a new job or a new environment.


When the top-level management allows employees from different levels a role in the decision-making process.

Emphatic Listening

Paying attention to the other person with empathy and care.

Excessive Enthusiasm

While enthusiasm can be a positive attribute for influencing others, too much can demotivate and turn off a particular audience.

Following Through

To continuously and consistently show commitment by delivering a person’s end of the deal.


Originally developed by William (Ned) Herrmann, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) is a ‘whole brain’ model that identifies preferred thought processes.


To have an effect or effect change on an individual, a group, or an idea.


To have an effect on things or people to shape decisions, perceptions, and motivations. 
The word ‘influence’ was first used to refer to what our ancestors believed was celestial fluids found in stars. However, throughout history, influencing and power have come hand in hand in inducing an effect on others pursuing objectives and bringing people together towards a common goal. To put simply, those who can influence, have the power to create history.

Influencing Style

There are a number of preferred approaches to influencing people. There are five different kinds of influencing styles. While all of these are effective, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Effective influencers must tailor their style to fit their audience.


This influencing style makes use of communication to encourage and motivate a person. It gives a person purpose to move towards the goal they are being influenced towards.


To persuade someone to do something by means of threatening or frightening. Using intimidation to attempt to influence people is often ineffective and only produces half-hearted results from employees who only follow out of fear.

Logical Argument

Defending a side of an argument with the use of facts and objectivity to help persuade people to rally behind a proposal, request, or strategy.

Martin Luther King Jr.

An influential American civil rights movement leader who became known for his nonviolent resistance against racial inequality. He brought these issues to light with his brilliant oratory skills and well-crafted speeches. His charisma and power persuaded people to rally behind the movement.


To constantly and incessantly annoy, or harass someone to do something. Nagging is another reason leaders fail to influence their subordinates as it often results in resistance and demotivation.


This influencing style utilises negotiation tactics such as compromising and trade-offs to reach an intended outcome.

Knowing Your Audience

Understanding the demographics of your listeners, how to speak their language, and how to earn their respect. Successful influencers understand how different audiences can react to different approaches and tailors their presentation accordingly.


When a service or goods is only available through one source or company. They have complete control over influencing its price and supply.


When a select number of companies control a service or product, they have the ability to influence the price of that service or product.


Attempting to change a person’s mindset about an idea, object, decision, or another person. Persuasion is an umbrella term for influencing.


Continuing on a course of action despite resistance, difficulty, or opposition.

Positive Behaviour

Leaders displaying positivity during a crisis or stressful situation can influence how their employees react in similar instances.

Probing Questions

Questions that are designed to clarify any vagueness or ambiguity. These follow up questions also dig deeper into an idea to further understand a person and why they say yes.

Principles of Persuasion

Universal principles that are outlined in Dr Robert Cialdini’s book ‘The Psychology of Persuasion’. According to Cialdini, persuasion is based on these 6 Principles:

  1. Reciprocation: When a goal, emotion, action, or statement is mirrored. People feel an obligation to give back when they receive first. This makes people more likely to agree to people they feel they owe.
  2. Commitment and Consistency: People tend to follow through a commitment if they have previous verbal or written agreement. Repetition also plays a key role in ingraining ideas, goals, and even beliefs.
  3. Social Proof: Evidence that a product, service, or theory works by showing its success in other people. You have better influencing ability when other people show they have used your services, bought your goods, or recommended your expertise.
  4. Liking: Persuasion is easier when the persuader is well-liked by his/her audience.
  5. Authority: People in authority are more likely to be trusted whether that authority is simply from seniority or their expertise in the field.
  6. Scarcity: Demand goes up when a service or goods is perceived to have limited availability.


A type of influencing where an individual has a say in the decision-making process. Albeit slower than the push style, pull encourages participants to want to accomplish tasks at hand and motivates them in the long run.


An aggressive approach to influencing where a manager creates demands with little consideration of the impact on their employees. When used correctly, it can bring about quick and satisfactory results. In excess, it results in resistance and reduced cooperation


Building a friendly relationship with an audience to help better communicate the influencer’s cause and persuade their audience.


Knowing oneself and your skills. For example, motives, desires, characteristics, and even flaws. Recognising these characteristics allow a person to correct, adjust, and use their skills to their advantage.

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