Thought Catalysts: Stacey Hanke on Expanding Your Influence

August 30, 2017 Stacey Hanke, Speakers' Spotlight

There are leaders and then there are followers. Generally the idea is to be the former. 

But perhaps it's worth a shot to look at this phrase the other way around. Maybe to be a leader, it's worth being a follower. 

The people who lead the way with awesome ideas and unique talents did so by acquiring knowledge and applying it in new and interesting ways. We all need to learn stuff to lead stuff. And those who do it best inspire others to act. 

They are Thought Catalysts. Here they are as told by the movers and shakers from Speakers' Spotlight


If you’ve ever played a sport, musical instrument or participated in any similar pursuit that takes muscle memory, you know that improvement never occurs without practice. For example, let’s say you have been playing golf for 10+ years and you’re tired of your family and friends telling you what to do. You decide to hire a coach.

Your coach is going to ask you to show them your swing. They want to observe your style. After you swing the golf club several times, the coach begins to pick it apart. This is where some of my clients will give up.

Your subconscious tells you that if it doesn’t feel right or comfortable, it must be wrong. But if you take your golf coach’s advice and practice, suddenly your swing improves. Enhancing your influence is the same concept.

Being influential through your verbal and non-verbal communication Monday to Monday® requires deliberate practice. You can’t read how-to’s in a book or rely on your title and comfort level to be influential.

Harvard Business Review explained this concept of deliberate practice: “It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well – or even at all. Research across domains shows that it’s only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become.”

Therefore, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Feeling uncomfortable is a completely normal reaction any time we start practicing a new skill that is outside our comfort zone or beyond our current competence. How many people do you think stop practicing on enhancing their influence skills because it felt a bit awkward or uncomfortable? A lot!

This week, take on the four-step commitment!

  1. Clarity. When you’re clear on what you want to achieve, you’ll be able to recognize when you’ve reached your desired outcome.

  2. Feedback. It takes discipline to ask for feedback. Do what it takes to get motivated and focused so you can take action on the feedback, which will get you to your desired outcomes.

  3. Take a look. The only way you can clearly know how others perceive you is through video and audio recordings. At your next meeting, simply press “record” on your tech gadget.  You also can audio record your phone conversations.

  4. Trust. Recording yourself is useless without immediate playback. When you review your playback, do you come across the way you want to? What do you want to enhance or improve? Nothing is more honest than your video playback.


Stacey Hanke is a communication expert who helps trains executives in effective and persuasive communication. To read more of her posts, visit her page on Speakers' Spotlight. To have Stacey speak at your next function, email Speakers' Spotlight at info@speakers.ca. 

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