What does influence actually mean?
Influence means many different things, such as:
- Affecting change
- Having power
- Changing the world
- Having the ability to get other things, like money
- Getting others to do what you want
- Getting your own way
It is all of these things and more.
What are some examples of people who have influence?
- Business owners?
- Religious leaders?
- YouTube stars?
Thinking carefully about who has influence and how they got it and maintain it can be a great way to point to how we might develop influence in own lives.
For example, politicians are given influence through formal systems- they win a vote and then take up office and fit into a system of government. Are there formal systems that we can use as we start to build our influence?
YouTube stars have influence (generally) because they have chosen to focus their attention on specific topics that translate well to video- and which they are personally passionate about. What are you passionate about and what is the best way to communicate your ideas in your particular niche?
Change-makers have influence because they come across as having a personal, lived attachment to their cause- for example, think of Nelson Mandela and his own experience of apartheid, the system that he was to devote his life to challenging. What sacrifices would you be prepared to make in order to make the change that you want to see in the world?
Why does influence matter?
Because without it, you can’t have an impact
Because for all of us, there are times when we need the help of others and have to convince them to help us.
Because you have something unique to share with the world
I believe that in order to have the best chance of having an impact, you need to grow your influence.
If you look around you at powerful people, what they share is influence.
Most influential people are influential because they have built their brand over time, others know what they stand for and they go after their goals with a laser focus.
In the modern world we all have the opportunity- greater than ever before in human history- to connect with other people and share our message. This is partly because of the amazing online world. But it is also because of the opportunities we have to travel, to trade and to learn from people from all the corners of the globe.
This new environment should be a great leveller.
Often it isn’t, because people don’t know how to grow their influence. So, a few people still get most of the opportunities.
Through The Influence Expert, I want to help make sure that you are included in that group of people who get those opportunities and to spread the message about the centrality of influence to our lives.
Who do you want to influence?
I’ve already written about how you need to think carefully about who you want to influence before you can start trying to influence them.
- You need to work out who the people are before you can work out how to influence them
- You need to learn about the person/people/org you want to influence and understand things from their perspective- what do they really want?
As I say in the article:
You need to be very careful to make sure that the audience you are seeking is actually congregating in the place that you want to broadcast your message.
Your message may be brilliant, but if you broadcast it via a means that your target audience doesn’t use, it won’t affect them.
Of course, in order to influence others effectively you must understand why you want to have influence in the first place (your reasons may change over time).
You need to think about what it is that you want to do with your life and where you are headed- and then how influence will help you get there.
How do you find out what it is that you want to do with your life? If you already know, brilliant! If you don’t, it is worth taking the time to think about it carefully.
I think passion makes a real difference. You may have more than one passion and your passions may change over time, but unless you have passion for what you do it is unlikely that you will do it to the best of your ability.
In the video below, I explain why passion is important-
- Because having a purpose will help you get more done
- Because when we find what we are naturally good at, things come easily to us
- Because it gives you the chance to feel free and that you are making your own choices
Another thing that we need to address is that some people think that influencing others is a bit unethical or shady. I think there are two main reasons for that:
- One, people don’t like the idea of being ‘forced’ to do things against their will, maybe without them realizing
- Two, people appreciate that influence is not inherently good, it can be used for bad reasons too
To answer each-
- Good influence is about persuasion, not forcing anybody.
- To make sure that you use influence for good, you need to think about the end to which you want to use it, as mentioned above.
As I’ve argued before:
As your influence grows, it is important to think carefully about the type of influencer you want to be. After all, influence can be used for bad reasons as well as good ones. The most impressive people, in my view, are those who are able to do amazing things and inspire countless people while never forgetting to be kind to others- or forgetting that their own success depends on other people supporting them.
How can you influence others both online and offline?
The best way is to use a model I’ve put together, the
– to think carefully about all the different areas that you need to focus on to be a powerful influencer.
The LEAPS Model is:
The speech below gives some practical tips from me:
Of course, it is important to think about how you can work with others, especially people who are already influential, to spread your reach. This article gives some ideas.
So, we’ve discussed:
- What influence means
- Who has influence
- Why influence matters
- Who you want to influence
- How you can do it
We’ve only just touched on the ‘how’ in this article and that’s because this whole website is devoted to the how. There are lots of resources on the site to help you think about your influence and how to improve it.
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The Influencer Tribe is waiting for you….