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University of Michigan

Influencing People

University of Michigan via Coursera


This course will improve your ability to influence people in situations where you cannot use formal authority. You will learn about effective ways to build, develop, and sustain a power base in your organization. You will also learn influence tactics that enable you to be more persuasive and influential in working with your superiors, peers, and even subordinates. In addition, you will learn how to build and maintain high-quality relationships to further maximize your informal power and ability to influence others. Importantly, you will distinguish between influence and manipulation and learn how to protect yourself from the unwanted influence of others.

The influence strategies you learn in this course will make you a more confident and influential leader, presenter, and decision-maker. You will more effective in pitching business ideas to your superiors, influencing customers, and building coalitions across stakeholders. This course will not only give you strategic guidance on how to develop and maintain your network for influence and power, but we will also equip you with specific tactics and strategies that are proven to work for gaining power and influencing people.


  • Building Your Base of Power
    • To lead effectively, you must have power. Your power can be formally defined, for example your position or job title. Your power can be informal, for example your expertise or charisma give you power that enable you to influence others. In this module, we will explore the meaning of power and where it comes from, helping you identify your bases of power and opportunities to increase you power over time.
  • Influencing People Without Relying on Formal Authority
    • In this module, you will acquire a rich arsenal of influence tactics that will help you change people’s viewpoints and behaviors. These influence tactics will enable you to influence up in organizations (e.g., when you have to influence your boss) and laterally, such as when you have to influence your peers. More generally, these tactics will allow you to execute effectively in those situations when you either do not have or cannot rely on formal rank and formal power.
  • Developing High‐Quality Relationships to Enhance Influence and Power
    • In addition to acquiring a tactical portfolio of influence tools that can be applied in group and individual meetings, effective leaders devote a lot of time to building and maintaining social relationships with various stakeholders. In this module, you will learn how build and maintain social relationships in order to maximize your informal power and influence in organizations.
  • Protect Yourself from Unwanted Influence
    • As a leader, people will try to influence you to make a particular decision or take a particular course of action. It is essential you are able to protect yourself from the unwanted influence of others, especially when those others might be attempting to manipulate you in ways that are not in the best interest of your team or organization. In this module, you will learn specific strategies and tactics that you can use to protect yourself and your team from the unwanted influence of others.

Taught by

Scott DeRue, Ph.D. and Maxim Sytch, Ph.D.


4.0 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 3879 ratings

Start your review of Influencing People

  • Profile image for Anna D
    Anna D
    This course may appear extremely basic for someone with a business background, but can provide fresh insight nevertheless. It can be interesting for people looking to explore this field.

    Can't help but feel that it focused too heavily on theory. Some parts could use a more practical approach, by including examples and case studies which reflect real life situations. However, the assignments did a good job of urging you to reflect upon the material and to identify examples from your experiences.
  • Niklas Thörne
  • Profile image for Ina Semionova
    Ina Semionova

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