Having worked with the EPO (European Patent Office) since 2011 delivering Communication Skills workshops, one-to-one coaching and team events, we were asked to deliver a programme to a newly formed group of 'Senior Experts'. Senior Experts were Patent Examiners who because of their technical skills and experience had been asked to work in a supportive and advisory capacity to their co-workers. They had no managerial authority over them but for their role to be a success it was imperative that they were listened to and their advice taken on board by others. We were asked to deliver a number of 'Influencing without Authority' workshops to the Senior Experts in both Munich and the Hague. The challenge was to help those attending the programme overcome the resistance that they were likely to face from colleagues who were their peers and in some instances had served more time within the organisation.
A series of 2-day workshops were delivered in Munich and the Hague. The workshops focused on how to influence someone when you don't have direct authority over them. How do you get someone to be open to new ideas and ways of working...We started with looking at the the principles of Influencing and explored some of the work of Roberto Cialdini. We then looked at the Cohen Bradford model of Influencing which focuses very much on the principle of reciprocity and explored how this might be applied to the participants daily interactions. Working with particular examples taken from the participants we looked at each in turn and how they might be approached. We looked at content and how it could be structured in a way that was concise and unambiguous. We then looked at how the participant might deliver that message - what behaviours were required to ensure that our message was received in the way we intended.
Participants took away from the workshops a clear understanding of how to influence without authority and how to look for the win-win. By providing them with a safe space in which to practice their conversations and explore their issues, participants left with new skills to deliver their message. Feedback from the programme was very positive and participants stated further down the line how much the programme had helped them forge better working relationships with their peers.
"Your workshop really helped to broaden my understanding of how we are perceived by others and how I could tailor my message to positively influence my colleagues". Course participant 'Influencing without authority workshop"