Ultimate Guide To Influencing Others6 mins - Introduction
Influence is one of the biggest abilities an individual can possess. We often hear about social media influencers and the companies that use these people to increase their sales, but what does influence really mean? The simple definition is the ability to have an effect on the behavior, actions, and viewpoint of another person. However, there’s so much more to influence.
The Importance of Influence
In the business world, the ability to influence others can accelerate your climb up the career ladder. For individuals who work in sales, influence is a vital factor in retaining their job. However, you have to know yourself and the impact you have on others to build influence.
Some people believe they can influence others when the reality is they bully them into doing what they want. Influence is about negotiating with people and providing valuable information as to why your ideas work. Whether you’re in the boardroom, out in the field or climbing the career ladder, building your influence levels is a valuable use of time.
Are You Influential?
It’s difficult to know if you’re an influential person, but there are certain behaviors influencers possess.
You Have Your Own Mind
Influential people don’t follow the latest fashion trends or celebrity culture. They have their own minds and aren’t afraid to step out of the box.
People Talk More Around You
When someone offers thought to provoke conversations, people will talk a lot more around you. Influential people inspire others to think about new ideas and opinions.
You Inspire Change
Influential people aren’t anarchists, but they will speak their minds when necessary. If things aren’t being done correctly, or there’s a better way, influential people aren’t afraid to put their opinions forward, regardless of their position in the company hierarchy.
You Make Connections
Networking is a vital aspect of business, and influencers know how to build lasting connections with others. People that build a reputation within their networks and offer constructive opinions and advice are more likely to influence others.
You Have Confidence
Influential people know that their opinions matter and have the confidence to speak up. While many people sit in a meeting and don’t question the boss, an influential person will know exactly what to say and how to say it.
You Seek Things Out
Some people wait for technology and innovations to find their email inbox, but influencers go and search for new ideas. They drive forward things to make an impact and stay ahead of others.
You Welcome Others Opinions
Dictators get aggressive when people question their decisions, but leaders welcome criticism and feedback from others. This level of humility enables influencers to connect with others and form a productive working environment.
Building Your Influence
Here are some tips to increase your influence at work.
Let Others Trust You
You can only influence others if they trust you and feel your intentions are good. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a higher position than them at work, because influence is about others following you regardless of the company hierarchy.
Think about political leaders and how they have immediate power at their disposal. However, the greatest leaders in the world are respected by their followers, not feared. You can’t influence others if they don’t trust you, so work on proving yourself to co-workers.
Nobody likes someone who doesn’t follow through with what they say. Inconsistency isn’t a good trait to have, in both your personal and professional life. Think about a time when you’ve been let down. Did you trust that person again? Consistency is slow to build, but once you’ve succeeded, then people will always consider you to be someone they can turn to.
We all have opinions about how things should be done, but that doesn’t mean our way is the right way. Respect is a two-way process and individuals that accept others opinions are more likely to find compromises to difficult situations. It’s all about balancing flexibility with assertiveness.
While it’s important to be flexible, you have to stand your ground and be willing to defend your position. Influential people know how to both sell and mediate, so finding the right mix is essential to influencing others.
When people address us by our name, it makes us feel valued. One tiny word makes a huge difference in how others view you. Bosses that treat their employees with respect are more likely to have a productive workforce. A simple conversation with someone makes you appear human, and employees will respect you for that.
Listen to Others
Dictators speak and tell people what to do, but leaders speak and listen to what others think. This is a huge part of having influence because people won’t trust you if you refuse to listen to their opinions. Encourage others to speak up and don’t be afraid to ask for their thoughts on your plans.
Remember, mutual trust and respect are the essential ingredients for building influence at work. Instead of focusing on how to get others to do what you want them to, think about how to build respect and strong professional relationships. Following these steps will increase your influence at work, but never confuse influence with power.