What is the most valuable thing the most influential people in your life have given you?
What is it that has made all the difference? Here’s the answer. It is the secret to building genuine and deep influence. Do you do it?
Critical to business success is building our ‘footprint of influence,’ that hard-to-describe ability to be perceived as someone who is able to help and assist; someone with substance and genuine credentials; someone people reach out to for counsel. Someone who is wanted and needed.
Before I share my top 10 tips for building powerful influence, here’s the one thing the most influential people I know always do. It’s this that is more important in building influence than the other nine tips added together. Quite simply, this is the most powerful thing heavy duty influential people give you:
The gift of time.
The most influential people in my life have always given me their time, and their energy. It’s as simple as that.
If you want to build influence; to develop meaningful, important relationships; to be able to develop a network that you can call upon to help others – then be prepared to give others your time and your energy.
I spend at least five hours a week meeting with people who want my advice - they’re clients, colleagues, friends, associates. It’s usually pretty personal - about career issues, relationships, personal aspects of their lives. They know I am just a small-time old PR guy - no expert, no sage. But that’s ok. They want to be listened to, heard, and perhaps given a suggestion or two. Sometimes they need an introduction, or some other connection to help them move forward. Sometimes just a word of encouragement, a hug, a dose of optimism. Most of all, they want my time.
And I give it to them. As often as I can. Even though time is the one thing I have the very least of.
Why do I do it? Well, first, it’s a privilege to be trusted, to be wanted. Second, it’s hugely rewarding to help. And thirdly, because I know it builds my footprint of influence. It just helps. It opens doors, brings luck my way, creates opportunity. Makes life more interesting. And meaningful.
Top 10 Tips To Building Influence
The most influential people I know in business all have these common characteristics.
And these characteristics for success in building influence are not surprising, because they are the key attributes that Dale Carnegie recommends consistently through his world famous book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” Terrible title. Great book. Should have been called “How To Get On With People And Get On In Life.” Here are the habits of highly influential people. How do you rate against each?
- Be generous in giving people your time, and energy
- Don’t criticise, condemn or complain
- Give honest and sincere appreciation
- Arouse in the other person an eager want
- Become genuinely interested in other people
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
Building influence is about slowing down, giving other people really quality, no-holds-barred and no-agenda time. It’s about listening, getting ‘present’ in conversations, asking questions, making suggestions.
It is about making yourself available, and making yourself 'user-friendly'. It’s about working on human connections and relationships, generosity of spirit and time, and putting other people first.
Do that well - and consistently - and you will find more and more people will ask for your time, for your counsel, for your guidance. And when that happens - guess what? - you have influence.
Give it a go. It works.