Do you wish that you had the power to influence others? Do you desire the power to motivate others to do what you want or wish others would seek out your opinions or expertise? If you feel as though your voice is often not heard or that your opinions are not valued, you may lack the influence needed to get your points across. In order to be an effective leader, you must have the ability to influence others. Here are 5 tips that you can utilize to grow your influence at work or in your personal life.
1 – Define your goal. Before you can increase your influence, you need to identify your goal. Ask yourself the following questions. Who am I trying to influence? Why do I want to influence this person or group of people? What is my current level of influence with this person or group? What does this person or group respond to, facts and logic, assertive personalities, etc.
2 - Connect with people. One of the greatest ways to increase your influence is to build connections with people. Spend time getting to know others. Ask open ended questions about the other person, show interest, and make them feel special and important. Try adding your own thoughts and opinions as well so that the conversation doesn’t feel too one sided. Also, avoid complaining or coming across as judgmental.
3 – Build your network. In order to increase your influence, you must have a strong supportive network behind you. Having a strong network behind you, increases your credibility and influence on others. Your network should consist of anyone that you often collaborate with, those people that you rely on day in and day out to get your job accomplished, the people that rely on you, as well as anyone in your department or direct team. In order to increase your influence, you must be well regarded and valued within this group. Make sure that you are trustworthy, contribute ideas, are respectful of others, and provide support and guidance when needed. As your influence within this group grows, your credibility and influence outside of this network will grow as well.
4 – Ask for a favor. Research shows that people that ask for a favor from time to time are perceived more positively than those that do not. People rationalize doing someone else a favor by telling themselves that it’s ok because that person is well liked. This is actually called the Ben Franklin effect. He once said, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” So, if you are trying to grow your influence with a particular person or group, don’t be shy, reach out and ask them for a favor.
5 – Watch your body language. Non-verbal communication can be just as important as verbal communication when you are trying to grow your influence. Connect with people by tilting your head or leaning in when someone is speaking. This is a non-verbal cue that you are interested in what the other person is saying. You can also try pointing your torso towards the person that is speaking to show that you are engaged in the conversation. You should also keep your head held high and your shoulders back. People will notice these non-verbal cues so pay close attention to what your body language is saying to others.
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