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This short & informative electronic newsletter is filled with tips for building an effective Union and is published monthly by Janet Stewart.

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What is Influence?


Persuading not coercing

Influencing can sometimes be looked at as the ability ‘to finesse.’  In other words, people are not coerced into seeing your point of view, instead, they are persuaded or convinced to understand it.

So how does this relate to your Union,
Unit, Local, Committee or Executive?

Your role as a member, a leader in your Union, or as a Union activist, requires you to influence people on a regular basis. It may be that you need to gain the support of others, inspire them, persuade other people to champion your cause, engage someone’s imagination, or create or strengthen relationships.

Taking Action!

You can be most effective in influencing others if you select an influence strategy to employ according to the person(s) to be influenced, your relationship to that person(s), the situation and the values of your Union as well as those of the other person &/or their organization.


The most effective influencers select and combine their approach from a variety of influence strategies.

Review the following list of influence strategies and decide which ones you tend to use the “most” often.

Challenge yourself to employ a variety of appropriate strategies based on the situation and the person(s) involved. Strategy:



  • Making others feel valued by giving them praise, credit and recognition.
  • Involving them in decision-making as well as the planning and implementation of ideas.

Interpersonal Awareness

  • Identify other Members’ or Employers’ concerns and then positioning your ideas so that they address these concerns.


  • Gaining support from others by offering to exchange favours or resources.
  • Negotiating to achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome.

Relationship Building

  • Taking the time to get to know others personally and maintaining friendly communications with them so that they will be inclined to support your ideas in the future.

Union Awareness

  • Building support for your ideas by identifying and getting the support of key people who can influence others within the Union.

Common Vision

  • Showing how your ideas support the organization’s broader goals or values.

Impact Management

  • Using an interesting, memorable or dramatic way to present your ideas in order to gain the support of others.

Logical Persuasion

  • Using threats, punishment or pressure to get others to do what you want (not the one I recommend!).

Final Thought…


Sometimes you can get so used to your own personal style or your pattern of communicating, that you neglect to think about how your point is being received…and it may not even occur to you to behave in any other way!


Effective influencing skills will help you to move things forward, without pushing, forcing or telling other people what to do.


Whatever the arena you work in, influencing others is about having the confidence and willingness to use yourself to make things happen. Truly effective influencing skills require a healthy combination of interpersonal, communication, presentation and assertiveness techniques.


Challenge yourself to develop in all of these areas!

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