Whether we are aware of it or not, we all try to influence others all the time. The parent might want his child to do as he tells him to, but he just doesn’t seem to listen. The sales person might want to influence the client into buying his product. The wife might want to influence the husband to go to an exotic and sunny place on holiday.
Everyday we try to influence others or are influenced by others. That’s why I believe we all should be more aware of this fact and understand the concept of Influence.
First we need to understand the building blocks that all together allow you to have influence. But for that, it is important to understand what influence is…and isn’t.
Influence is not automatic
Nobody has influence by default. A father cannot just walk into a child’s room and expect to be able to influence his child to do what he wants him to do. You are not automatically able to influence your child just because you are the father. All parents know this does not work. You need to understand at what stage in life your child is at, what are his problems, his concerns, his motivation and what he needs right now. Only if the child feels your attachment and your understanding of his needs will he be open to you and allow himself to be influenced by you.
Influence is not sporadic
If you never show any care for your child and then one day decide to be extra nice and understanding in order to influence your child, it’s likely you won’t be very successful. Your child will probably block you off completely, because he doesn’t trust this changed person. Only if your child sees you as the caring person, attentive to his interests, will the child stay open.
Once you understand that, you’ll understand the principle of Influence.
Now lets have a look at the building blocks of Influence.
You need to be aware of the needs and lives of the people around you. Where is the person you want to influence right now and what do they need right now? When you speak to them show your interest and ask questions like:
‘What is it that is very important in your life?’
‘What do you want right now?’
Being aware of the people around you – their needs, ideas and problems – creates a binding relationship which opens the doors to Influence. You are far more likely to trust and follow a person that understands you and accepts you (Influence).
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who had nothing better to do then look at his phone all the time? Then you know what I mean with presence. You need to be present with the people around you. Be there, not somewhere else in your mind. Don’t play with your phone while talking to them. Besides this being very disrespectful, it does not show your interest.
It’s your energy that opens people up – and it’s your energy that counts. But energy can only come over if you are actually there, with your mind, your soul and your attention. The way you bring over the energy relates directly to the level of influence.
We need to be generous with the ones we want to influence. What we give is what we get! Invest some time in the people who are important to you. Put some effort and energy into the relationship and you will receive the same back.
People do notice your efforts and, if they are real, they have a real effect on them. The more positive energy you put into this, the more openness you will receive back. Have some patience and understand their ways. Doors will open up. The more natural this becomes for you, the more influential you will be.
Why would someone want to follow your lead or buy from you? Is what you offer distinct and significant to the other person? How can I improve that value in the short and long-term?
If you want someone to do something, they must see the value and understand why they are doing it. Only if they see the value and therefore want to do it, will they do it. This is an important factor when creating new products or services you want to sell. Coming up with new ideas or improving existing ideas creates a distinct new value!
Character is who you are over a period of time. Character defines trust. Remember, what you do is what you are! That is character. People can feel who you are; they can read your character. They can see if you are just pretending or if you live what you say. We all have a sort of antenna for it.
Yes it is true, that some people can cover up their real intentions and pretend to be someone else, but that only works for a very short period of time and after that, the person loses all their credibility and power of influence. For long-term influence, you must be who you say you are.
How have you demonstrated character to the people you want to influence? When was the last time you did this?
This is very important. Are you consistent with all the points above?
Life is about being consistent in a world of constant change. Because of this constant change, we look for consistency. Your health is the sum of your consistency. Are you consistently eating healthily? Consistency is the amplifier of influence.
The more consistency you show and act on the points above, the more influence you will have. Be consistent with all the building blocks towards the people around you and your influence will go through the roof!
Let’s sum it up
- Influence is not automatic and not sporadic!
- The six building blocks of Influence are Awareness, Presence, Generosity, Value, Character and Consistency
Throughout our lives, on average we interact with 125 people directly as close friends or family and we have contact with several thousand other people. All of those we try to influence or are influenced by. That puts understanding influence in the top range of skills everyone should have.