How it works for a teacher? Students will be keener to listen to a teacher who wields some influence through his knowledge. Chances are that he will represent institution at professional forums and more funds will be allocated to his department. He is also likely to be the next person in line to become the head.
Influential entrepreneurs will find better employees and better business deals. Do not mistake influential for somebody with big mustaches and a cane in his hand. An ethically influential person is somebody is who people want to listen to and on whose advise people are ready to act.
A film director will get more done in a day if is artists listen to him. He saves money and time if he is able to shoot in less number of days. Same is true for people in other situations.
Now the big question is how you can influence somebody in a positive and ethical way.
It is simple.
Know your craft: If you want to influence other person or party then you got to know what it takes to become a good teacher, entrepreneur, father or whatever role you are in.
Know right place and right time: if you want to exert influence as a speaker then you need an audience who can listen to you. No point screaming in a jungle though you can use such a setting to practice your craft.
Show them some past: As a writer it will be the portfolio of your writing. It can be on a website, on paper – any place that works for you. For a friend it will be about how you treated him in past; how much you loved and cared for him.
Start early, start small: In his book “What they do not teach at Harvard Business School” Mark McCormack talks about one of his reasons of success. He shares about keeping in touch with those who he met during early stages of his and their careers. So when it was time for him to leverage connections – people who he met earlier at junior management had by that time reached the level of CEO, people who take decisions. So he came out a winner. No rocket science, can work for each one for us. Important part – he kept in touch with people during all these years.
Social proof works: If you show that some people care for what you have to say then it will be easier for you to break into a bigger group. If you show people that there are some people who love you then chances are that more people will love you. Many page3 celebrities have made their careers like this. Talk about politicians, presidents; think about Abraham Lincoln, or Barack Obama.
In online world Facebook through its pages let people love (like) you and you can show it off to make more people love you. LinkedIn recommendations also show social proof of your professional abilities.
Usually nice, always helpful: My inspiration for this approach comes from “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. In this wonderful lecture – there comes a line about being “usually nice and always helpful”. I like this approach because it suggest that you be nice to people but always keep their best interest in mind – even at the cost of being nice. When you do that people in your professional or personal sphere will be sure that whatever you tell them will be for their good. They will come to trust you and be there for you when the need be.
At present some of them may not like this but later if they act on your advice and come out good then they will thank you and tell other people about it. When people talk good things about you, your influence increases.
Body language: This also works. It includes the way you walk and talk.
Looks: Dress appropriate to the occasion and take care of grooming in social situations.
Work: You can influence your co-workers and clients by being utterly punctual and doing more than what is expected of you. By delivering more and by what Setn Godin calls shipping often.
Listen: When you listen more and speak less a person is indebted to you; because at the core everybody wants to be listened to and those who listen are important people in the lives of those who are on the speaking end.
By telling a story: Nothing touches people’s heart like a true story. In most cases when you do that you need not learn about voice modulation, delivery, start and end. It just touches the hearts of people. Of course good communication skills will do no harm.
Make sure that story is your own and not somebody else’s. So if you are a sales person calling on a potential client then share a story which talks about the one of your other clients’ satisfaction level with your offering.
During professional meetings it is good to keep a tab on time and being focused on sharing the value proposition with the customer. It may not appreciate to your story about your visit to your Grandma’s place in a new customer interaction.
Increase your sphere of people: Move around in different groups. Start with one group – make friends – offer to help – actually help – and move on but stay in touch. Do this in physical or virtual world, works everywhere.
Become a go to person: Become knowledgeable about a topic and idea and slowly people will start to come to you for advice. Many big businesses were started like this. Think Michael Dell.
Become a filter: If you want to influence people then become a filter. If you do this first then it will fasten the curve of you becoming a go-to person.
Smile a lot: When you smile a lot genuinely people tend to like you as you seem approachable. Nobody wants to talk positive about a person who is stressed and looks agitated all the time.
Be the one to give: Give true love and appreciation if not anything else.
Start a movement: why do you think people still remember Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King; because of Gandhi’s fight for the cause of non-violence and truth and King’s efforts for the cause of African American civil rights movement. World will sure remember them for centuries to come and beyond. So if you can do seething like that then this alone will be enough to wield your influence over entire humanity. Key idea here is to think big and beyond self.
Love you all.