We all want to be influential and by influential, I do not mean mega rich (these days it looks as though money is the only thing that makes a person influential). The people, who are mega rich and as such have a lot of influence, possess other characteristics which make them influential…not just the money. It seems like I am saying influential a lot.
Having influence is defined as having a powerful effect over something or someone. According to vocabulary.com when a person influences another, they are changing them in an indirect but important way. An example is the way you smile when a particular person walks in a room or when you find you can’t use fowl language around a child – that child has got influence on you. As you can see, money is not listed anywhere there and in this article, I will guide you through some tips which will improve the amount of influence we can have on others.
*Disclaimer: I am not going to guide on how to manipulate or control others – those are different things.
A smile in most cases will cause reciprocation. What I mean is that when you smile at someone, the person most likely smiles back. Smiles break down those invisible walls we put up when we meet strangers and once a person smiles at you, you think to yourself ‘maybe this person isn’t so bad’. A person is more likely to bend to your will when you have disarmed them with a smile and this is one of the easiest influence tools we possess.
A lot of us lose our influence because we do not know people names and even when we know, we refuse to use them. A person’s name is the one word they have heard the most in their life because even as of the time they were named, they did not consciously remember that name but it sunk deep into their mind.
When you refer to a person by their name, you call all of the person’s attention and give them that feeling that you know them. When I say name, I do not mean nickname or slayqueen name that she gave herself. Try it out, if you need to ask a person for a favour, they will more likely respond positively if you cal them by their name but other than that, let’s make a habit out of using peoples’ names if we want to restore our influence.
Have you ever heard of dopamine? it is a hormone present in the body and it is plays a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior. Let me break it down. When someone says ‘thank you’, you feel good and you want to do more of that thing that made them say ‘thank you’ – that is dopamine at work.
Dopamine is what you’d call a feedback mechanism which creates a ‘high’ when we are given positive feedback and guess what, this high is addictive. This is the major tool Mark Zuckerberg uses in his social media platforms and that is why people can’t stay away from likes and comments – they love that dopamine high.
So how do you make this work for you? Tell someone their hair looks nice. Tell a person that they handle their job so well and even though dopamine does not care if you are telling the truth, it helps if what you are complimenting is true.
This is a rule many ignore because they feel that to be influential, you need to boss others around. Quite the contrary. To drive this point home, I’ll tell a short story we’ve probably heard or read before.
One day the sun and wind wondered who was more influential and they decided to do a contest. There was a man walking past and they said whoever could get him to remove his jacket would be the winner. The wind decided to go first…and forcefully. The winds came hard and the harder the winds blew, the tighter the man held on to his jacket. Eventually the wind gave up. The sun started slow and gradually intensified its heat until the man had to remove his jacket.
The moral here is that when you respect a person, you will find subtle ways to make then do what you want as against bossing them around. Nobody likes to be bossed around and if it works, it will not last long and it definitely won’t make you influential.
This perhaps should have been the first on the list because it does not involve any other person but you. However, it is here because it is the hardest to practice of the five tips mentioned here. Confidence is something which is learned and perfected to the point that it cannot be doubted and all it takes is telling yourself the words “I can” and “I am”.
If that is all it takes, then why is it so hard? Well that’s because society suggests otherwise. We have been bombarded with messages such as ‘making it in life is hard’ and the common phrase ‘e no easy’. When we are constantly thinking of hardship, we lose confidence in ourselves because we are just doing our best to merely survive and not thrive.
The secret is to change our thinking and know that we are worth it. We are awesome, beautiful and special. With these thoughts running through our minds constantly, despite outward suggestions, we find that we build confidence and this confidence starts to radiate from us attracting other people to us who wish to portray this same confidence – and that my friends is how we influence them.
I know money and power as influence tools but these things don’t just fall on peoples laps. In most cases, one has to take some actions in order for money and power to come to them and it is those actions which make a person influential not so much the money and power that comes from those actions…does that make sense?
When you have influence over the people and things in your environment, you realize that life is a bit easier and you have more opportunity to create you vision and make them reality. With influence, your job, relationships and business will flow smoother. You will have less people who give you a hard time and let’s be honest; who wouldn’t want that?