In her book ‘Exercising Influence’, B. Kim Barnes describes two types of influence behaviours – Expressive and Receptive behaviours. Developing skill in these can help you become more effective at winning the support of others whether gaining approval, requesting resources or encouraging participation in initiatives.
Expressive behaviours are actions that send information, ideas, or energy to others and involve actively expressing your thoughts, opinions, and feelings. This type of behaviour is often associated with being assertive, confident, and persuasive. Expressive behaviours can be used to inspire and motivate others, as well as to push for change.
Some examples of Expressive influence behaviours include:
- Stating clearly and confidently what you want or need to happen
- Showing how your suggestion provides benefits to the other or the organization
- Educating the person about possible consequences of inaction
- Creating enthusiasm by encouraging the person to envision the positive results of successful action
- Expressing confidence in the other’s ability to take the action successfully.
Receptive influence behaviours, on the other hand, are actions that elicit information, ideas, or energy from others and involve listening actively and responding to others. This type of behaviour is often associated with being empathetic, patient, and attentive. Receptive behaviours can be used to build trust and rapport with others, as well as to understand their perspectives and needs.
Some examples of Receptive influence behaviours include:
- Active listening and questioning to learn about the others’ thinking
- Acknowledging the others’ perspectives and feelings for example by empathising with how the other’s situation might be impacting them
- Disclosing information about your own feelings that is relevant and that even costs you something to acknowledge.
- Reflecting important or underlying issues that may be of concern to the person
- Helping the other to identify specific actions they can take to move forward.
Both Expressive and Receptive influence behaviours have their place in different situations, and in any influence situation, it’s important to establish your objective ahead of time. First, you need to be clear in your own mind about what you want to accomplish through influencing the other. Next, an analysis of the current state of your relationship, the context and other factors such as cultural differences will enable you to choose an appropriate approach that combines both types of behaviour.
In conclusion, mastering both Expressive and Receptive influence behaviours can help individuals become more effective at getting ideas into action through others. By understanding when and how to use each type of behaviour and finding a balance between them, individuals can build trust, rapport, and credibility, and achieve their desired outcomes.
Exercising Influence™ is the leading global influencing skills training from US-based Barnes & Conti. The programme develops influence tactics and behaviours to ‘get your ideas into action through others’ whether gaining approval, requesting resources or encouraging participation in initiatives. For further information, please see here.