To succeed in today's business environment, employees need the skills to influence colleagues, clients and partners globally. MaST's top five tips for global influencing are:
Be aware of cultural differences
The key to successful global influencing is to take into account cultural issues, for example nationality, ethnicity, education and international experience. It is important to develop an appreciation of how the other party will relate to your cultural traits and of how you will relate to theirs. If you do this and treat the other party with respect, you will grow cultural understanding and create a 'win-win' relationship.
Build positive relationships with your target influencees. You need to gain their trust and respect, so that your ideas have credibility. When working with global teams, you need to make a conscious effort to establish relationships, as you may not be in daily contact with your colleagues or clients. Keep use of e-mail to a minimum, and speak regularly by phone. Use videoconferencing if you have access to it. Volunteer for cross-functional projects that will enable you to work more closely with key people.
Use your networks
To be influential within a global organisation, you need to be connected to other people and have access to information. Global networks alert you to forthcoming developments and help to establish relationships. Members of a network will also be part of wider networks, providing further opportunities for being seen and heard at work.
Customise your influencing strategy
Each situation will require a different influencing strategy. For global situations, complex strategies are required due to the different cultural backgrounds. In this situation, indirect influencing can be a valuable tool. This method influences through third parties and involves assembling coalitions and building behind-the-scenes support for ideas. This allows you to 'use' other people's relationships with your target influencee and builds support for your idea prior to the influencing conversation.
This is critical if you are dealing with people whose first language is not the same as your own. Ensure you are communicating clearly, and check back with your influencee, to verify that they have understood you.
Paul de Z