As a Certified High Performance Coach and an Author Coach, I teach my clients how to become more influential. As a mother, spouse, author, speaker, and trainer, I want to have influence as well. Why? Your ability to persuade others—and yourself—is enormously important if you want to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Yet, so many people consider “influence” a dirty word.
It’s not. (Notice the word has more than four letters!)
Of course, there are those people that try to influence us forcefully, like the stereotypical used-car salesman. And there are people who try to influence us to their way of thinking primarily to accomplish their agendas; politicians and terrorists come to mind.
On the other hand, there are those who influence us for good reasons and in positive ways, too.
Influence for Good
Inspirational and motivational speakers, coaches, trainers, and clergy most often put their persuasive talents to use for the good of those they encounter. They want to make a positive and meaningful difference in lives and the world. It’s true, they want to sway you to their way of thinking or to take action, but their intention is for the highest good of those involved. They want to help, serve, inspire, motivate, and create change.
However, lots of other people share the desire to influence for good. To accomplish that goal, you must use your persuasive power. That doesn’t mean you have to stand on a soapbox and shout about what you think others should do or become. You don’t have to threaten or cajole. Instead, simply be a good role model. Demonstrate the attitude, behavior, or action you desire in others. Be the person you want them to become.
Focus your attention on inspiring and motivating others. In this way, you influence for good as well. And you don’t have to say a word to accomplish this goal.
You can do something as simple as ask a friend to talk to you about what has been going right in his life. Ask your child to describe her biggest win of the day. Or ask your spouse to share about her unhappiness at work, but turn her attention to how she can resolve the problems. Ask what she would do to improve the situation if she could—or if she had the answer. In this way, you influence those you love as well as co-workers, employees, students, and clients to find answers. You influence them to see the good and the possibilities in their lives.
The most important persuasion skill you need is the ability to influence yourself. If you’ve ever wanted to lose weight, start a new exercise program, or finish a project, you know that you must persuade yourself to do these things. You have to convince yourself it’s important to take consistent action until you reach any personal or professional goal.
To influence yourself, discover why you think something is important. Your reason must be one to which you feel committed. It must inspire you. If it does, you will carry through tenaciously and enthusiastically. If you can’t discover a reason why that resonates with you on a deep level, you’ll never follow through.
5 More Ways to Become an Influencer
Although self-influence, as well as influence with others, revolves to a great extent around that Big Why, that’s not the only thing you need if you want to be persuasive. Here are five more things you can do:
- Plan for the times when you would like to be more persuasive. Come up with a game plan! Know what you will say and how you will act.
- Be present with those you want to influence. If they don’t feel they have your attention, they won’t listen or be able to receive what you have to offer.
- Know yourself and those you want to influence. You can’t persuade someone to do or believe something in which they have no interest.
- Be willing to give of yourself and to others, and do this consistently.
- Show up in a manner that demonstrates your character. How people perceive affects you ability to persuade them. If they think you are dishonest, for instance, they are less likely to listen to or do what you say.
The Know, Like, Trust Factor
In the publishing world, we say influencers are people we know, like and trust. Do people feel that way about you?
- Have you stepped out into the world and generously and consistently given valuable advice, information, and time to those you’d like to influence?
- Have you showed up enthusiastically, joyously and authentically in situations where you’d like to make a positive difference?
- And, as a result, do people trust that you are a sincere and trustworthy person and do they like you?
If you can answer “yes” to those questions, you will find it easy to influence others. (Of course, you must have their best interest at heart.) Not only that, if you feel you know, like and trust yourself, you’ll find it much easier to go for and achieve your dreams.
Do you think influence is a dirty word? Tell me why or why not in a comment below.
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