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How To Be An Influential Leader with Shivani Berry

How To Be An Influential Leader with Shivani Berry

How To Be An Influential Leader led by Shivani Berry, Founder and CEO of Ascend

Why does building influence matter:

-when you look at the leaders at the top, the thing they most have in common is that they're good at influencing

-great ideas are not enough

-if Apple has to market their products, you do as well

How do we fail to get buy-in:

  1. We assume everyone else thinks the same way as us or that they have the same amount of information
  2. feeling like it’s a time crunch (i.e. up against a deadline)
  3. fear of disagreement

How do you actually get buy-in:

-building allies



-empathetic listening/ active listening

-numbers and data, and 


How to be a better at storytelling:

Two components: #1 is your message, and #2 is your delivery.

1. Improving your messaging through message preparation. Who's your audience? What do they care about? What are there concerns going to be? What are the questions that you're going to anticipate?

2. Improving your delivery by being concise:

  • cut the jargon and the backstory
  • Share a roadmap, share an agenda. Number your points. 
  • Use active phrases, instead of passive ones (“we must hit this deadline, compared to deadlines are missed too often). 

How to improve your demeanor and executive presence: stop saying “sorry”


This is really about getting people you know to be generally interested in collaborating. So what does that mean? It means around you have to actually like invite real debate and real discussion to get real buy-in. 

The second important thing about co-creation is it's important to recognize it does not matter if you came up with the best idea — what matters if you've executed on the best idea.

One of the toughest situations is co-creating with dominant personalities. How to overcome:

  1. win their respect
  2. Leverage allies/coworkers. Social proof is powerful. 

What to do when your idea is shot down?

Understand why it got shot down. Upon learning more, try to communicate why your idea is important, in addition to your solution or suggestion. You could also try to pitch a “v2” version of your idea. 

How to be prepared for 1-1s: ask other people what it’s like to meet with that person

What to do when you want people to come up with the same idea you have: present the problem. Get alignment on the problem. Ask to brainstorm on the problem. Potentially share your idea as a “draft” and that you really value collaboration. 

How to proceed after you got buy-in:

-continue to explain “why” you are doing something 

-try to continue to have the loudest or the person with the most influence onboard

How to get buy-in when leading executive management team meetings:

-send an agenda and pre-read materials in advance

-share a Google Doc for people to ask questions before the meeting