The Art of Influence by Clive Lam

Clive Lam @ Product Camp Sydney 2011

At Product Camp Sydney 2011 at the office of News limited Clive Lam gave everybody some good insights in how to manage/ influence your stakeholders during his session “the Art of Influence”. He also shared some tips and tricks with us on how we can go from complaints to the actual problems in his session “From complaints to problems”

Clive has been a Product Manager for the last year but also knows the insights of stakeholders work as he has experience in Project Management, deployment and delivery of internet services.

The following two articles give a summary of both his sessions with some handy insights, tips and tricks.

THE ART OF INFLUENCE

The bigger picture

  • remember who you’re doing this for – you work because you want to build products that our customers love
  • While most of the people who enter into product management are people who love products and want to change them, not all of them are politically savvy. It’s something that will differentiate a good product manager from an average product manager (that’s not to discount all the other skills required of course)
  • Often we don’t have a choice as we don’t have direct control over resources like engineers and designers
  • We need to help remind the people that we work with, what they are working for and the bigger picture of it all
  • We spend a lot of our time managing up, down and horizontally. If we can manage up then this will help us manage down.
  • numbers, facts and figures can only take you so far, you need to engage your audience by being a story teller
  • when you engage, make sure you engage appropriately, don’t let your emotions cloud your tone. Be reasonable and have data to back you up. Don’t’ forget, be enthusiastic
  • sometimes you have to have a bigger personality in order to succeed
  • smile when you talk
  • Trust is important, and that can be gained by proven success
  • Getting your pitch and positioning right is something we do today with our customers, we just need to translate this to our decision makers and the people who help us
  • Know your decision makers, and make sure you meet with them before a meeting to get them onboard. Consent in a meeting should only be formality
  • Call the people you work with or need to influence, sometimes just to say “hello” so they remember you
  • if you work in a remote office, make sure you’re memorable
  • bribery helps J
  • How do you prioritise who to influence? There are plenty of strategies
    • Influence the person with the most power (bang for buck)
    • It will be dependent on what you want to do
    • How do you find common ground?
    • Get as much face time as you can
    • We need to be all things to all [people]

More to it than just the numbers

  • numbers, facts and figures can only take you so far, you need to engage your audience by being a story teller
  • when you engage, make sure you engage appropriately, don’t let your emotions cloud your tone. Be reasonable and have data to back you up. Don’t’ forget, be enthusiastic
  • sometimes you have to have a bigger personality in order to succeed
  • smile when you talk J
  • Trust is important, and that can be gained by proven success
  • Getting your pitch and positioning right is something we do today with our customers, we just need to translate this to our decision makers and the people who help us
  • Know your decision makers, and make sure you meet with them before a meeting to get them onboard. Consent in a meeting should only be formality

Making the connections

  • Call the people you work with or need to influence, sometimes just to say “hello” so they remember you
  • if you work in a remote office, make sure you’re memorable
  • bribery helps J
  • How do you prioritise who to influence? There are plenty of strategies
    • Influence the person with the most power (bang for buck)
    • It will be dependent on what you want to do
  • How do you find common ground?
  • Get as much face time as you can
  • We need to be all things to all [people]