10 proven ways to become influential
There are people without whom our life stories would be incomplete. Each time we think of them, we are reminded just how much they have helped shape who we are.
We owe a lot of who we are to these people. So much of their character has rubbed off on us. We sometimes catch ourselves doing things or saying things in the exact same way these people would have.
It’s like a part of them now lives inside of us. These people may be parents, older siblings, clergymen, relatives, friends, leaders, celebrities, or role models. We see something in them that we want to model ourselves after.
From the way we walk to the way we speak, even to the way we dress, much of whom we are is a result of the influence of others. That’s it, that’s the word; “Influence”.
We are influenced every day by so many different people. Some influence us consciously, some influence us unconsciously.
Let me give you an instance. I had no idea just how much I took after my father until he recently called my attention to it. As much as I would like to think that I’m so unique, I resemble him so much character-wise.
The reason is there is so much about my father that I admire, and without even being aware, I imbibed those qualities. It’s also just as easy to pick up unhealthy traits from those we love.
Influence is a powerful part of social interaction and social structure. It’s not accidental that those higher up the social ladder tend to be more influential than those below.
Success breeds influence and being influential can make you successful. It’s a two-way street. One of the biggest favours you can do yourself if you have any aorta of ambition is to build influence.
One reason a lot of people underachieve or remain in obscurity is that they tend to operate in a vacuum. For whatever reason, there’s never enough energy behind their ideas or intentions to get others to key into it.
The genius of so many never come out to the fore, not because they didn’t try to put it to work, but because they didn’t touch the hearts of enough people with it.
Those who change the world are not necessarily the smartest or the most talented. They are those who could get others to aspire to their inspiration.
The ability to get a person other than yourself to share a similar perspective, view, vision, drive, motivation, belief, or aspiration with you without duress or coercion, that ability is influence.
Your capacity to influence people plays an important role in your success. Influence is not just about starting movements or being able to pull large crowds. On smaller-scale interactions, your capacity for influence determines the success of even small scale, person to person interactions.
Imagine a recruitment process where 10 equally qualified people were interviewed for a position. It’s most likely that the one who gets the job would the one who leaves the strongest impression on the interviewer(s).
So, as much your competence, knowledge, and skill are important to your success, so is your capacity to influence others.
Influence, like every other character, can be inculcated and I have a few suggestions as to how.
Discover Your Area(s) of Competence.
There are few things more uninspiring than a man who lacks a sense of direction. One who is neither here nor there is nowhere. Having no area of competence to channel your energy to makes your life uninspiring.
We are all good at something. Finding what we are good at is easy for some, and a daunting task for others. But to be influential, you have to be known for something. People should be able to associate a skill or character to your name.
It’s called building a personal brand and it’s the first step to building influence.
Develop a Genuine Enthusiasm for Your Area of Study, Expertise, or Interest.
There’s something attractive about enthusiasm. There are a positive aura and vibe that follows enthusiastic people. It makes people curious to know what they’re so juiced up about. Enthusiasm adds flair and spice to every word you speak and every action you take.
Influential people are very enthusiastic and passionate about the things they do, it’s one of the reasons they so damned good at those things. If you are to influence others, you must raise your energy levels. A simple way to do that is to be enthusiastic.
Master Your Craft.
When people want things done, when the want questions answered, when they want guaranteed excellence, they go for the masters. Masters are difficult to come by but easy to spot because their work speaks for them.
The masters of any field are often the most influential in that field. Their words are premium and when they speak, everyone listens, after all, they’re masters.
Developing mastery in your field of endeavor doesn’t happen overnight. It often takes years of dedication, and constant improvement and refinement. You go from being good to being great, to being excellent to being outstanding to being pre-eminent.
At the level of pre-eminence, your name becomes synonymous with your craft. There are many world-class footballers, but there’s only one Messi and one Ronaldo. Shey, you get?
Be a Bit of a Generalist.
People love it when you speak to them in terms with which they are familiar. Every profession or vocation has its own vocabulary and terminology. To have effective conversations with you must be able to communicate with them in terms they can understand.
Taking time to study other fields beyond yours broadens your scope and makes you versatile. It makes you a generalist. Being a generalist is the opposite of being a specialist.
Now it’s great and imperative that you specialize in something and become extremely good at it. But, if you intend to reach a lot of people, you must be able to communicate across many vocabularies.
One sure way to learn how to become a master is to serve under a master. There are hints, tricks, unwritten laws, ethics, and codes that masters live by that can only be learned through close observation and practice.
They are like secret techniques or ingredients that a master wills down to the apprentice. If you are really serious about growing your influence, then find someone who is already influential and become his/her understudy.
Master the Art of Communication.
Think about this for a moment, politicians, as untrustworthy as they often are still somehow pull some of the biggest crowds. Why? They have mastered the art of communication. They have learned to say what they want to say, how the audience wants to hear it.
It might not necessarily be what the audience wants to hear, but their speech is so wittily conveyed that it has its intended effect. How have people who have made a career out of lying been able to sustain lies for so long? Simple! They are exceptionally great communicators. If you want to be influential, master communication.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. To show empathy towards someone, you often have to develop some genuine interest in them. Dale Carnegie emphasized in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that one sure way to win friends and influence people is to show genuine interest in them.
No one likes to feel used, overlooked, underappreciated, or neglected. If we are able to make people see that we genuinely value them, most people will concede some loyalty to you in return.
When you have problems, you look for the one who can solve them. It’s a no brainer, really. If people identify you as a problem solver and a solution provider, they will travel from far and wide to search you out.
Be a Giver.
Someone once said, “Talkers don’t change the world, giver do”. Everyone loves a giver. For crying out loud even God loves a cheerful giver. LOL! The fact remains, the world is full of takers. People are mostly conscious of what they lack.
The one who gives, and gives with a pure heart is often mindful of what he has, not what he lacks, and is often grateful for it. This mindset of gratitude which only a giver can possess sets you apart from others and opens doors that only true givers can access.
How can you influence people if you don’t make contact with them in the first place? It might not necessarily be physical or face-to-face contact. But, to leave an impression on people, you must first be able to reach them.
There’s no influential person who doesn’t have a strong network. A strong network of friends, fans, followers, and or partners. There’s a popular saying, “A man’s net worth is often proportional to his network.
Hit the comments let’s talk.