196: Exuding Influence with Impact with Stacey Hanke

By August 23, 2017Podcasts

 

 

Communications consultant Stacey Hanke breaks down the misconceptions on influence and how to develop your influential voice in a way that resonates.

You’ll Learn:

  1. How to assess your level of influence in a room
  2. The core elements needed to command more influence
  3. How your smartphone can help you speak better

About Stacey

Stacey Hanke equips leaders within organizations to communicate with confidence, presence and authenticity, day in and day out. Combined, her team of mentors and consultants have more than 100 years of training experience. She works with executives, managers, technicians and sales leaders across the United States and on four different continents.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Stacey Hanke Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Stacey, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Stacey Hanke
Thank you, Pete, for the opportunity.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I learned about you from research that not only do you teach and consult and work with communications-related topics, you’ve also taught fitness for 20 years. That’s a good long stretch. What is your fitness specialty?

Stacey Hanke
I’m glad that you asked that. I fell into it, Pete. I’m embarrassed to say it’s like 25+ years, so you name it – the classes I’ve taught – because they really transition in and out. Now what I teach – I teach a spinning class, I teach a boot camp, and then if you’re familiar with what TRX is – I teach that. And I laugh with my clients, because they always ask, “How do you have time for that?” And I share with them I have learned that the heavy travel I do on the road – you’ve got to be healthy and you’ve got to keep up with the stamina. And to me the workout, the teaching part, there is a motivational piece to it, which is what I do on the professional side, that it’s my time of the day that really gives me that healthy balance, and to just not think about work but to just take care of myself during that timeframe.

Pete Mockaitis
Understood, yes. I’ve seen, even in my own experience – I’m only 33 years old – but I can feel that I’m less energetic than I was a decade ago already, and I don’t care for it so I’ve been stepping it up lately.

Stacey Hanke
There you go. That’s an important piece. I wrote an article a while ago that talked about influence being a part of just your outside image too, and it happened because I was working with… He was a leader at a law firm, and we do a lot of video taping – we can talk about the purpose of that – and I just want to make sure that my clients get a chance to experience how influential they are, rather than what they believe through the eyes and ears of the listeners, therefore the video.

And after he watched the video… He had just not taken care of himself for numerous reasons; he just had not taken care of himself. And he had seen himself on the playback, Pete, and he looks at me and he said, “I’ve just realized that my outside image also portrays influence or it doesn’t.” And that’s where it kind of clicked for me that there is something there that ties to how well we take care of ourselves. I’m not talking weight, I’m not talking anything like that. It’s just that outside glow that you might have, and there is a part of that that ties to the level of influence I think you have, or how people perceive you.

Pete Mockaitis
Yes, certainly, it does make an impact. It’s so funny – I don’t know what it is, but sometimes I just look at somebody and say, “Oh, he must be in charge.” It’s like, “What? Based on what?” I don’t know where that comes from. Is it a blazer jacket, is it a glow, is it a blend of dark and light colored hair? Was that just for men?

Stacey Hanke
Right, right.

Pete Mockaitis
I don’t know what it is, but it’s like, “Oh, that woman/that man must be in charge” and I just start looking in that direction, awaiting guidance or explanation for what’s going to happen here.

Stacey Hanke
Yeah, exactly. And I think a part of it too –because I don’t want to miscommunicate anything to anyone that’s listening right now to this interview – that when I say that “outer glow” it just really represents you. It represents your style, it represents your personal brand, and you stick to it, you’re consistent with it.
Pete Mockaitis
Excellent, thank you. So tell us – you were talking influence, you’ve got a whole book on it now. What’s Influence Redefined all about?

Stacey Hanke
It’s exactly that. I kick off the book by sharing with the reader what influence is and what it’s not. I think there is a lot of misperception behind it. The old – call it the “outdated” definition is, motivating people to take action. Now that’s a component to the definition but I think there’s a lot missing there. There’s also this misperception, Pete, that I turn it on when I need it.

Here’s what influence is: It’s the body language, the messaging is consistent Monday to Monday. The second element to influence is that you’ve got this ability to move people to action long after the interaction occurs. That’s where the book starts. From there, Pete, it’s built off of a model that gives the reader “How to’s” make sure that they’re more aware of how influential they are, and then how to make sure that they are consistent with their level of influence through their communication Monday to Monday.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, intriguing. So then, I would like to hear about some of the “How’s” there, but maybe first we’ll start with the “Why”, in terms of in the grand scheme of skills or abilities or features a person can have. Why is influence important among them?

Stacey Hanke
Gosh, I just really believe, Pete, that if we don’t have influence… If you dig deep behind that concept, are people questioning our trust? They don’t trust us because they don’t want to follow us. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a leader in the company or what role you have, if you’re not able to encourage, persuade, influence individuals to act on your recommendations, how can profits increase or sustain? How can results happen day after day? How can work get done, much less us being productive with that work?

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, I’m sold.

Stacey Hanke
You can tell I’m just so passionate about this concept of, do we have as much influence as we think we do, or are we really guessing our level of influence and impact on others, based on feeling rather than on fact? And the book reveals some of those questions for the reader to give some thought to.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, that is a nice place to start there, in terms of just taking inventory or stock of where you sit. So, what are some telltale signs that reveal if you’ve got it, and a lot of it, or not so much?

Stacey Hanke
Or you don’t. I’m going to give you some examples, and these really are coming from surveys that we do with our clients when they went through our courses and afterwards they said to us, “Ah, I get it. Now I understand why when I communicate, whether it’s in a meeting, a large group conversation, there are side conversations going on with my listeners, they’re down…” I call it the “smartphone prayer” where they’re buried into their technical gadgets. Are people responding to your emails? Are people responding to your meeting requests, your voicemail message, if you still leave voicemail messages? Those to me that you’re just not getting the response, you’re not getting that connection, engagement, commitment from your listeners. I’d start questioning what is missing.

I want to go back, Pete, just in case our listeners are going here and their mind. Most people will say to me, “Well, it’s our culture. It’s our culture that people are busy, so we have to multitask and we have to be sending emails during meetings.” Here is my challenge on that – is it really a cultural element, or is that email your listener is sending while you’re talking more interesting than what you’re doing and what you’re saying?

Because if people are multitasking, and it is proved across it doesn’t even matter what generation you are – we cannot multi-task, meaning really understanding the “Why” behind the words, really hearing, understanding the message. And if those components aren’t there, Pete, I’m not sure how you can influence your listeners. They’re going to miss elements. Maybe they don’t miss everything that you say, but they might miss the element that really helps them decide, “Yes, I believe in you, I want to follow you, I’m going to test out your recommendation.”

Pete Mockaitis
Right. And I think it’s interesting when they talk about culture, you might say, “Well, is there anybody in your organization that doesn’t seem to have their audience or listeners doing this when he or she is up in front?” And I think that kind of would deconstruct that explanation. So then if that’s some indication, how do we show more interest, more influence in the moment?

Stacey Hanke
I’m going to get back to what feels like basics but most people don’t give it thought – making sure that our body language is consistent with our message. I’m going to give you an example since we’re doing this as a virtual conversation. If I said to you, Pete, “I am so excited about this opportunity to record with you, I can barely stand it.” You can see the tone – there’s no energy in the voice, there’s a lot of incongruence. It’s taking a step back and making sure that… Why do you gesture? Is it consistent? Is there a purpose behind it? Do you walk in that room like you belong there? And once you’re in the room, do you earn the right to stay? Are you looking people dead in the eye when you’re speaking to really help and pull out that trust?

Another one is brevity. Are you saying too much by using filler words, they’re called, or filler phrases, or do you get to the point and you really honor people’s time? It’s taking a look, going back to the body language, not that messaging isn’t important. There’s too much research out there that we can take a look at our body language, that when there’s incongruence, it’s really distracting for your listeners. Distracting means they’ll start checking out, because it’s hard work to listen to you.
Pete Mockaitis
Intriguing. So it’s hard work because there is that, “Which is it? Are we… Do you mean that, do you not mean that? I don’t know.” And so then, we’ll kind of just gravitate to something easier understood there.

Stacey Hanke
Yes.

Pete Mockaitis
So, that’s intriguing. I’m thinking right now, I’ve heard people say things like, “That’s hilarious.” It’s like, “You don’t sound like you think it’s hilarious!” And then sort of like, I don’t know, not that I’m super suspicious or skeptical, but it just makes me wonder what else are you not kind of connecting with, with regard to your emotional affect versus what you’re conveying verbally?

And also we talk about filler words – I’m thinking of someone who comes to mind who keeps using the phrase, “To be completely honest with you”. And that makes me want to say, “Aren’t you always being completely honest with me, or is it only when you precede the sentence with that filler phrase?” So that really kind of diminishes a bit of the influence there, in my eyes.

Stacey Hanke
That’s it. And what’s crazy about all these concepts that you’re bringing up – how many of us this week were in a conversation, whether in our personal life or professional life – are we really thinking about, “Huh, I wonder what my hands are doing? I wonder if I’m pausing?” We don’t think that way, so that’s where I go back to our earlier conversation. One of the first steps to a model I have laid out in the book is self-awareness, that we’re not really aware of how we come across, how people perceive us, could we be determining our level of influence off of how we feel, rather than what is fact?

Pete Mockaitis
That’s great, that’s great. And I’m thinking about something that’s happened for me, is I have come across… I guess I’m sort of at times too enthusiastic and interested in what someone’s saying with follow-up questions, and I guess one, just because people aren’t used to others caring that much, I guess, about their area of expertise or whatever they’re conveying, that folks kind of wonder, “Is this guy for real?” It’s almost like, “Is he mocking me, because he’s so excited or enthusiastic?” So, I’ve learned to, I guess, tone it down, to be connecting on that level. But you’re right, the perception can be completely different. Because I think, “Oh, this is great! People like it that I’m interested in what they’re saying.” And the fact of the matter is, “Well Pete, some people do, and some people are weirded out and don’t believe you that that’s the reality of your feelings for them.”
Stacey Hanke
I think you’re hitting on another element that’s in my influence model, and that’s adaptability. It’s still bringing the best of you to the conversation in a very consistent brand. Where it gets difficult for some is now you’ve got to adapt. I’ll give you an example. I had talked to a group of sales professionals and they’re energetic and they’ve got tons of energy, which allowed me to pull out more of my energy, have some fun with them.

And then I spoke to another group, more reserved, quiet, it took me some time to figure them out. So when I first started the conversation with them, I aired on more the conservative side – not quite as much energy in the voice, relax the gestures, don’t gesture as much. And it’s just really paying attention, Pete, to who are you speaking to and what styles work for them, what doesn’t work for them, and then what is the message? What are the words and the message that are really going to resonate with them?

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s so dead on. Stacey, we should’ve talked years ago, because I’ve learned some of these lessons painfully, the hard way. One of my very first paid speaking engagements was to a bunch of accountants, and then between one of my programs and another, sort of the queen accountant who was sort of in charge of this organization gave me some feedback how she didn’t want me to seem so flippant. And I thought, “Flippant? That’s not a good word. I’m pretty sure I know what that means and it’s not good.”

And it was really nerve-racking because it’s one of my first paid speaking gigs and this is what I just quit my job to do, and this is what I’m hearing. But then, we talk about adaptability – it makes total sense from a perspective of CPAs, like their opinion – that’s the product, is a letter that says their opinion – has weight, has gravitas. And so me joshing around about some serious matters, where I thought brought energy and levity to the event, she wasn’t so much feeling. So I shamed some of my slides that talking about how accountants and the FBI are cool because they get guns. It’s like, “Okay, we’re cutting that slide! That might be in the ‘flippant’ category.”

Stacey Hanke
I want to play off something that you said, because a lot of people struggle with this piece. Again, this is another element to the book. You made a comment she had given you feedback and then you kind of questioned, “Well, I don’t think that’s good.” At least she gave you a little bit more direct feedback than most people receive.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s true, that’s true.

Stacey Hanke
And most of us get the comment when we ask, “How did I do?” – “Good. Nice job, that was great.” And this is where self-awareness completely goes off the radar. We walk around believing, “I’m good, I’m great – everyone says I am.” I challenge our listeners that anytime you want to get feedback, always prepare for it. Say to that individual, “Hey, before we walk into this meeting, here’s what I’m working on, here’s how I want to come across. Would you listen and watch for that?” And then five minutes after – we all have time for five minutes of our development – five minutes after the meeting, you get the feedback. And if you still get, “Good, nice job”, always ask that individual, “What did I say? What did I do where you gained the greatest value? What can I do to improve?”

Pete Mockaitis
That’s great, that’s great. We had a really powerful chat earlier with Dave Stachowiak, who suggested a power question was, “What’s one thing I should start doing or stop doing to be more effective?” And what’s so cool about that question is it’s sort of like, “I know there’s at least one thing, so you’re not going to hurt my feelings. I’m ready for it, bring it on.” And it’s just one thing, and it can be start or stop to be more effective. So, that’s pretty cool.

And I want to hear from you when it comes to adaptability. Part of it is, you mentioned you will show a different side or emphasis of your manner of communication based on the audience, and so I get a number of questions from listeners about managing up or trying to be influential in different kinds of power distances, I guess, if you’re working with someone who’s your manager or you’re the manager of them, or it’s a colleague or a peer. How do we think about communicating and influencing in those different contexts?

Stacey Hanke
From what I can talk about from my experience, and it’s anytime that I talk to that VP level, the C-suite level, I understand they don’t have time. And because they have so many messages, like all of us, they’ve got a lot of messages to so much of a heavier risk on some of the messages that they’re dealing with, I’ve got to get to the point, be very direct, not sugarcoat it, because I don’t want to waste their time.

That is key – when in doubt, Pete, if I ever wonder, “I don’t know what works for you as my listener”, I will always ask. When in doubt I’ll ask, “Hey, what’s the best way to communicate with you, based on medium?” I’ll get a feel for them too on, do they tend to socialize at first and then dive into the meeting, and that’s also a cultural difference as well. You always want to know who you’re speaking to. That’s the major difference that I’ll see with different levels in the organization. And then really, I think to me adaptability comes down to the style and asking the questions to make sure you’re communicating to them the way that resonates with them and that grabs their attention.

Pete Mockaitis
And now when you ask those questions, you just ask one straight out there, “How would you prefer for me to communicate with you?” Do you have any other prompts that could get them to reveal and disclose some of the keys to their attention and heart? Because my hunch is, I think sometimes if you ask that question the response may be, “I don’t know, just directly and… Don’t be boring.” What if that’s all I’ll get?

Stacey Hanke
Sometimes it’s throwing the benefit on them, starting out that question with, “I always want to make sure that I don’t waste your time. I get how busy and valuable your time is, therefore straight out, what is the best time of day to communicate with you?” Or, “What is the best medium to just grab your attention?” So I think there has to be that level of, “Hey, I’m truly serious about this because I don’t want to waste your time, but I also want to make sure that I understand what’s right for you.”

I’ve got to tell you, Pete, when I bring this up to the audiences that I work with, a lot of people say to me, “I’ve never thought of that. I’ve never thought about asking that question,” which tells me that also gives you a head up from anyone else that’s never asking the question. I know when I ask my clients that, I can tell sometimes they’re shocked, with the shocked look of, “That’s interesting, the fact that I’ve never been asked that before. Alright, that’s telling me you really do care.” And how can that not enhance your credibility and start building that trust?

Pete Mockaitis
Right, that’s great. And I think especially if anyone’s trying to sort of persuade me on something. I guess I’m thinking about sales folks – sometimes they don’t ask me, but I just tell them, “What I would like for you to do is share with me a compelling foolproof case that if I put dollars into your hands, marketing person, more dollars will come back to me from incremental profit generated from the sale of my services.”

I’ve had to spell that out for folks before. And at times I thought, “Shouldn’t you sort of know that already, that that’s what marketing’s ultimately for?” But I don’t know, sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes I think they just don’t have the evidence I’m looking for, and so…

Stacey Hanke
It’s a good point.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s just where that ends up being. Cool, you got me going – I like that. So that’s a great question there. And so, let’s see – we talked about a number of these core elements, when it comes to influence, in terms of the adaptability and the self-awareness. You’ve got a couple more we should dig into.
Stacey Hanke
We’ve got self-awareness, and right above self-awareness… I probably should give a visual to our listeners. Imagine – the model is a triangle, and on the left-hand side arm of the triangle is feedback. We’ve talked a little bit about that. On the right-hand side is practice – I’m talking deliberate practice, constant day-to-day practice. And the bottom of the triangle is accountability – making sure that you’ve got someone to help you hold yourself accountable.

So when you go inside that model, Pete, self-awareness is the first element, and right above that – I think this one is huge – it’s consistency. This is where Monday to Monday comes into play, that anyone that you’re speaking to, they never have to guess who’s going to show up, they always know they’re going to get Pete. I have clients that sometimes I wonder who’s going to pick up the phone, I sometimes wonder when I go to their offices who’s going to show up that day. You start messing with your personal brand, meaning it’s not consistent – people really start questioning your authenticity, which then leads to trust. In the book I talk a lot about questions that you can ask yourself, steps – actionable steps that you can apply day in and day out to make sure that you are consistent.

Pete Mockaitis
So what are some ways that folks fall down on consistency? It sounds like sometimes you’re talking about maybe moods – sometimes they’re angry and sometimes they want to chit chat. So, what are some other things?

Stacey Hanke
We definitely could go back to the book title. One of the elements to consistency is the body language and messaging needs to be consistent – that’s number one. I’m going to share a story. I did another podcast earlier today, and I shared with that individual that a couple of months ago I’m at a conference, I’m getting ready to speak, and I’m sitting at the front table with all the executives – the CFO is off to my right.

The CEO goes up on the stage and he’s kicking off this big conference; it was really a big deal for them to have all of their people there. And he kicks off for the conference. Then while he’s doing that, the CFO next to me, Pete, is buried in her emails. And I remember thinking, “Ah, you’re in the front row.” The CEO’s talking about how critical this is. It gets better. He then comes off stage, she goes up on stage, and at the end of her rah-rah and really trying to motivate the group, she says to the group, Pete, “This is so critical. We have invested in you to come to this conference, therefore be all in and shut down your phones.”

Pete Mockaitis
Alright.

Stacey Hanke
And I thought, “Okay.” That’s an example of not being consistent. Or you may have seen it, being in the industry that you’re in, Pete – I see it a lot where if it’s a presentation, the individual steps on stage and they go into presentation mode, and then they’re off stage and you’re like, “Huh! That is a different person right there.”

Pete Mockaitis
Right.

Stacey Hanke
After consistency in the model, if we’re going down that road, Pete, is reputation – this whole idea that your reputation enters the room before you ever get there, and your reputation enters your reader’s, your receiver’s inbox before you ever hit “Send”. And the concept around just making sure that your reputation is consistent – those two tie together, and it’s one that you’re very aware of and you make sure that it’s one that you’re proud of.

The next element, Pete, in the model, is adaptability – we just talked about that. One more big step is impact, and this is where I think impact ties to my second definition of influence – moving people to action long after the interaction occurs. It’s, what do you say, what do you do in the moment that just has this impact on individuals that they take action right then and there, but you have influence on them continuously? And when all of that is in a line, influence sits right on top of that model, that triangle.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Well, impact sounds really awesome. How do we do more of that?

Stacey Hanke
Impact to me is really about your word choice, and then it goes also to your delivery skills. I talk about delivery skills in the book – that when you are passionate, show it, let them know it through your face, and let them know that you truly believe this recommendation you’re giving them is the right choice. You can do that through your facial expressions, your voice, your eye contact – I call it eye connection. It’s so much of putting everything from that model comes right to impact, that it’s that final say of, “Alright, are you as influential as you believe you are?”

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, alright. Cool. So now, you also make the point that we choose whether or not we’re going to be influential or not influential; it’s not something that just descends upon us, like you are or aren’t. It’s a choice. So, how does that show up day in, day out?

Stacey Hanke
I think it goes back to some of the elements in the model, Pete – that consistency and getting people to feel like you truly care about the decisions that they make and you’re going to be there to guide them. I say it’s a choice because when we lay out and dissect this entire conversation you and I’ve had, there’s an element that being influential is going to take some work, it’s going to take focus, it’s going to take some discipline. The good news is because we communicate every day, 24/7, in every way, you’ve got the opportunity to be constantly practicing.

Again, that’s going to be a choice. Think about a professional athlete – they make the choice on how much they’re going to practice to get to that end result, which is that game. I read something about Michael Jordan, and I forget the numbers, Pete, but the amount of times that he would practice before their actual practice would begin in the morning – it is just insane. Here’s maybe more of a recent one – one of the most popular TED.com videos is Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. And she shares in an interview that before she got on that TED.com stage, she practiced 200 times.

Pete Mockaitis
That particular TED talk, she did 200 times.

Stacey Hanke
Two hundred times before she delivered it. Yeah, I’m not saying you have to practice 200 times before your next meeting. I’m saying, be conscious – be conscious during your conversations moving forward, that maybe your next phone call you think about the words that you’re using. Maybe during your next meeting you think about having brevity and really connecting with your listeners – that’s the hard part, because it’s just using another part of our focus that we may not have given thought to.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, that’s great. Well Stacey, is there anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Stacey Hanke
The one big piece, and it’s written a lot in the book is, I think all of this comes together when we start audio recording ourselves, we start video recording ourselves. I don’t know how else, Pete, I can constantly improve and really get a solid factual proof of how I’m coming across versus how I’m not. Highly, highly recommended. If there’s just one action step that your listeners take from this podcast, it’s start recording yourself. And you can do it with your technical gadgets.

Pete Mockaitis
Right. Okay, great. Now could you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Stacey Hanke
Oh, I don’t know if it’s my favorite – is one that I just came across so it’s fresh in my mind. It’s by John Addison – he is the CEO of Primerica. I recently finished his book Real Leadership, and in the book – this might not be word for word, so don’t quote me – he states, “People don’t remember what you say, they remember what you do and how you behave.” Again, don’t quote me, but it was interesting because I’m like, “He’s right – it’s all about what you do and how you do it.”

Pete Mockaitis
Great, thank you. And how about a favorite book?

Stacey Hanke
A favorite book. Real Leadership is definitely one. I’d go back to the TED.com. There’s a Talk Like TED book by Carmine Gallo. I love it because there’s tons of research that supports, it’s the whole package – it’s body language and messaging that will grab attention and keep it and sustain it.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh cool, thank you. And how about a favorite tool?

Stacey Hanke
I don’t want to call my mentors and accountability partners a tool; they’re more of a resource. And I truly believe, when I look back at my career, I could not have done this without that resource. I need coaches, I need mentors and accountability partners in my life. I think we all do.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And how about a favorite habit?

Stacey Hanke
A favorite habit. Would working out be a habit?

Pete Mockaitis
Oh sure.

Stacey Hanke
Yeah, that’s my favorite habit. That is my happy place, is just taking care of myself before trying to take care of anyone else.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And is there a particular nugget that you share that tends to really get folks taking notes, nodding their heads, resonating and connecting with it?

Stacey Hanke
I think it’s when I’m talking about consistency and I’m giving them some examples of successful companies that have consistent brands. It’s when I simply say to them, Pete, “Is your brand consistent Monday to Monday, or are people guessing?”

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, thank you. And if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Stacey Hanke
It’s easy to find me. The website is staceyhankeinc.com.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And if you have a final call to action or a challenge for folks seeking to be awesome at their jobs, what would it be?

Stacey Hanke
Start asking someone you can trust to really give you some honest, meaningful feedback, and then put in action the steps you’re going to take daily to start enhancing who you are.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. Well Stacey, thank you so much for this. This has been a real treat. I wish you lots of luck with the book and your trainings and all you’re up to!

Stacey Hanke
Thank you so much, Pete. It was a pleasure.

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