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Tools to engage and influence others

Workshop speaker has tips for university staff

March 21, 2016 — 

Minimize jargon. Invite people to the table. Don’t do things about me without me. These are some tips given by international speaker David Zinger to university staff at a two-day workshop in March, hosted by the office of change management and project services, human resources.

For 25 years, Zinger was an instructor at the University of Manitoba. When he left 10 years ago, he launched a successful consulting business from his home office in St. Vital that delivers training to organizations in over 20 countries. Now, he travels to cities like New York, Dubai and Prague.

“Everyone has influence, power and choice,” notes Zinger. “To have influence means to extend invitations to others, listen to what people really want and find ways to motivate and engage teams.”

Zinger is passionate about employee engagement. He has written books, training guides and leads the Employment Engagement Network, which has over 7,000 members.

A recurring theme for Zinger is the importance of being positive, productive and engaged with others. He cites Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, which emphasizes:

  • a focus on positive emotions, like gratitude, inspiration, hope, curiosity;
  • engaging fully in a situation, task, or project — concentrating on the present;
  • developing positive and meaningful relationships;
  • Creating meaning and a sense of purpose by serving a cause bigger than oneself;
  • Accomplishing tasks, skills, goals, since progress and mastery leads to well-being.

While working towards these goals, maximize engagement, says Zinger. Although the university is large, with many departments, teams and projects, people want to be heard.

Citing the example of an organizational survey, he encourages organizations to go beyond simple feedback by publishing survey results, thanking people and involving survey participants with any follow-up working groups. When and if a change occurs, communicate how the survey and working groups led to a better outcome for the organization.

And no matter what the project, always be respectful of others, he emphasizes.

Workshop participants came away with a training workbook, package of CDs and the book Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change.

Heidi Adamko, director, change management and project services, says, “We want to equip people with the tools to manage change and successfully influence teams that are working towards desired outcomes.” Adamko encourages faculty and staff to contact the office for more information on this topic, or to learn about upcoming sessions and workshops.


Visit the change management and project services website or email Heidi [dot] Adamko [at] umanitoba [dot] ca


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