In your growth as an entrepreneur or professional, you no doubt get to a stage where you want to know how to be influential. In history, we have a lot of men and women who are known as individuals of great influence in their fields. These have made immense contributions to the growth and development of people, communities, and nations, and hence can be tagged as influential.
Who, according to you, is your most influential person?
Depending on the industry you belong to and what your area of interest is, your choices might vary from another person’s own.
However, there are household names that are generally regarded as being of great influence especially in the development of science and technology.
People like Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison e.t.c. have their names indelibly written in the sands of time, all thanks to their contributions to science and technology.
In modern history, when you talk about highly influential people, names like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Brian Tracy, Oprah Winfrey e.t.c. might come to mind.
While their area of specialization and what they do differ, they all have one thing in common; having a great influence on people and communities.
Without a doubt, you likewise want to attain this level of influence in your career path and be seen as an influential person.
Well, it isn’t difficult to achieve as long as you understand what it entails and are willing to put in the work.
To assist you in taking this step of becoming influential, we are going to run you through some of the processes that work.
Additionally, some qualities are common to all influential people which you would also need to build.
All these would help you grow into becoming a great influencer.
What Does It Mean to Be Influential?
An influential person has the ability and capability to exert a great influence on someone or something.
You are said to be influential if your words or actions strongly influence or direct the course of an event or a change in a person or a group of individuals.
If you are an entrepreneur, there is a very big chance that included in your growth and trajectory path is becoming influential.
When you get to the stage of being influential, it means that you have attained a stage whereby you naturally command audience and attention without trying too much.
At such a stage, most of what you say or do is accepted, and you can make people agree with your opinions with little effort.
It could also be that you have been able to make certain discoveries and innovations to better the lives of others, hence your influencer status.
That is the case with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein e.t.c mentioned above.
On the other hand, your area of influence might be in imparting knowledge or being a source of motivation to others.
A lot of influential people are equally known for this, through their expert public speaking skills that change lives.
Being influential doesn’t mean you are forceful in making people change their ideals or perceptions of things.
On the contrary, your influence is changing people in a rather subtle or indirect way, but a powerful and important way.
People tend to willingly allow themselves to be influenced by either your words, opinions, or actions because you’ve earned that right to be an influencer.
Importance of Being Influential Especially as an Entrepreneur
If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, then we cannot stress the importance of being influential enough.
This is especially needed if you are a salesperson, which every entrepreneur should be actually.
As a salesperson, whose goal is to sway people’s opinions and choices towards his products/services to make sales, you need to be influential.
That means you need to know what to say and how to say it to convince others and also influence their choices and decisions.
In fact, being an influential person can help you both within your organization and also in interaction with others outside your organization.
Here are some of the benefits that come from being influential as an entrepreneur:
It Helps to Foster Employee Development
Every successful entrepreneur knows the importance of employee development, especially its relevance to job satisfaction and business growth.
That is why whatever your plans and business structure are, you need to emphasize employee development.
However, there are different ways you can go about helping your employee development, and being influential makes it easier.
Note that being an influential leader doesn’t necessarily mean being forceful or coercive in your leadership style.
While some leaders have walked this path and get immediate results, it is not sustainable.
For you to effectively help develop employees through engagement, you need to show your influence with the right skills.
The most important of these skills are open communication, feedback, interpersonal relationship, and active listening.
When done the right way, your strong influence can make your employees be better engaged and aid their personal development.
Being Influential Aids Increased Sales
If your sales agents are going to be at their best in sales conversions and completion, they need good motivation.
You have the sole responsibility of ensuring that their motivation levels are at the premium level.
And that is where being influential comes in.
You must be able to efficiently convince and influence your team for good, for them to have increased sales efficiency.
No wonder that many influential leaders have seen their business growth skyrocket through increased sales.
The impact of your influence doesn’t only affect your internal team, but it also helps you to be a better salesperson.
That is why you find a lot of business owners who want to increase their sales on social media, for example, seek out social media influencers.
The reason for this is that it only takes people of great influence on others to be able to market a product or service effectively and get massive results in sales.
Hence, if you are going to increase your sales, being an influential person is going to make that easier.
Being Influential Wins You Respect
Take your minds back to some of the names of influential individuals that we mentioned earlier.
How many of them do you know by name and respect?
Very likely, even if you are yet to meet all or some of them, you reserve a level of respect for who they are and what they’ve achieved.
No doubt, with great influence, comes recognition and respect.
This respect for you as an entrepreneur comes primarily from those who work under your supervision, and by extension from others in your field.
With time, you would also gain recognition and respect from many others in different industries and walks of life.
Major Skills You Should Possess to Be Influential
For you to be an influential person like the likes of Brian Tracy, Robert Kiyosaki, Oprah Winfrey e.t.c., there are certain skills you must possess.
Moreso, you can equally work to develop these skills if your goal is to get influential.
This applies whether you are trying to be influential in your small business, or make a difference in the world around you.
Here are some of the major skills of highly influential people or leaders:
Good Listening Skills
Contrary to how some might see being influential as always having something to say or being overly assertive or forceful, the opposite is the case.
A good influencer knows that before he/she can influence others, there is a need to understand them well.
The only way you can say or do things that will affect another person positively is by knowing their unique situations and challenges.
When you fully understand who they are and where they are coming from, it would be easier to influence them.
That is why active listening is very important in your bid to be an influential person.
Unless people can trust you, in what you say and do, you will have little success in influencing them.
Therefore, do not have a track record of being untruthful or of beiing someone who lies to get ahead.
If that is the case, very few individuals if any would see you as someone they can trust.
And hence, if there is no basis for trust and no relationship built on that, you will fail in being a source of great influence to others.
This is very similar to being trustworthy, only that this time you need to also factor in your qualifications and experience.
Before you can be seen as influential or even assert the right influence, people need to be sure of your expertise.
That means that in the area where you aim to influence others, you should have the right qualifications to fit in.
In addition to qualifications, it also helps to have a good experience that supports your expertise in that field.
When this is there and it’s clear for all to see, you have made your work as an influencer a whole lot easier.
If there is one thing influential leaders don’t do, it is shying away from making major decisions or taking risks.
Also, they do not speak more than they act.
One key trait that sets you apart as an influential person is your willingness to take decisive actions when needed.
In other words, you see what needs to be done and you do not waste time in getting it done.
Such decisiveness proves to be very integral in aiding influential people in exerting their influence on others.
Eagerness to Learn
Additionally, for you to be an influential person, you cannot stop learning.
Regardless of what you know or the level of experience you possess, it should be your goal to keep adding to this.
If you lack knowledge in some important areas, then your level of influence would eventually drop.
Therefore, to avoid this, an influential person continually seeks knowledge and broadens his/her horizon by improving skills and learning more.
That way, you increase your importance to the community you are looking to influence and increase your status as an influential person.
How to Be Influential – Key Measures You Can Take
Before we take you through the key measures and strategies for being influential, there is something you need to know.
You cannot become influential instantly or immediately without hard work and consistency.
These measures we are going to share with you work, but you need to be willing to put in the work and also stay consistent.
However, if you do, you will find that your level of influence at work, your industry, your community, and even your nation would gradually increase.
Be an Expert
The first and unavoidable step you need to take towards becoming an influential person is to be an expert in your field.
One notable thing about influential leaders, even the ones you know quite well, is that they “know their stuff” well.
The reason for this is that you need a good level of credibility for someone to trust you enough to allow you to influence them.
You only get this credibility when you prove that you know what you are doing and have evidence to back it up.
Therefore, while you are looking forward to being influential, start now by broadening your knowledge scope in your field and learning more.
You can take training, courses, read blogs, watch videos, anything at all that will make you more knowledgeable and be an expert in your field.
Define Your Style
No two influencers in the world have the same style of influence or inspiring people.
While some might come from the angle of sharing expertise or experience, others might be more caring or empathetic in their approach.
From the beginning of your journey, you need to define what your own unique style would be.
Then you can be better prepared to use your style effectively in influencing others and inspiring them.
Make Sure You Choose Your Passion
When seeking to be an influential person or leader in your area of specialization, it is very important that you consider passion.
The people you seek to influence can clearly see whether or not you are passionate about the area you are actively pursuing.
Therefore, if you are on a career path simply for the pay, or to make money, there is little chance you will get influential there.
You might just be good enough to get the job done and make some money, but you will hardly impact the lives of others.
Hence, you should take a step back now to consider if you really have the passion for the area of expertise you’ve chosen to pursue.
If not, there are no mincing words, but there is little chance for success as an influencer on that path.
Get Active; Be Visible
Do you think you have enough knowledge in your field to qualify you as an expert? If yes, that is awesome.
However, does that make you automatically influential? Unfortunately, no.
The truth is that if nobody knows who you are and what you can do, you cannot be influential.
Therefore, the next step you need to take is to be very active, and make yourself quite visible for everyone to see and interact with.
You can start by going to seminars, conferences, and workshops in your field, and making deliberate efforts to meet people.
Also, you need to be active on social media by making posts, sharing reviews, commenting on other people’s posts.
If there are groups online of professionals in your field, then endeavor to join those groups.
All these actions will make you more visible for others to see, and only then can your expertise shine through and you become influential.
Build a Record of Integrity
Under the skills you need to be an influential person, we mention being trustworthy.
This is very important because if people see you as someone who lacks integrity, by saying one thing and doing another, you lose your influence.
Being influential is more or less like being a leader and having followers behind you.
And you can be sure that no one wants to be followers of an individual who is known to lack integrity.
Therefore, you need to build over time a good record of ethical values that shows you are a man or woman of integrity.
If you do this, your influencing grip would be stronger.
Seek to Help Others Without Wanting Something in Return
A very integral step in your journey to being influential is to give practical help to others without expecting a reward.
These ones might be those who have reached out to you or some who you notice in your field struggling with one thing or another.
For someone who wants to be influential, it is important that you offer your help and assistance to these ones.
Share the principles you know that work with them, and guide them as they apply or implement those principles.
You do not need to receive money for this, and you can repeat the process again and again.
When they apply your recommendations and it works, you are gradually building followership that would make you influential.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Against Popular Opinions
If you want to be an influential person that would be around for a long time, you cannot always settle with the status quo.
To be influential, you need to be a voice for change.
Sometimes, you might have to make a case for a new movement.
You also have to be a great inspiration to others.
Hence, when you notice ideas or opinions in your industry that you do not agree with, do not hesitate to speak up.
Having a different opinion and one you can back up with solid facts would only increase your popularity, give you a voice, and make you influential.
Therefore, do not be okay with only sharing opinions that are likable by everyone or popular.
Go beyond that and get more influential.
Develop Your Public Speaking Skills
There is something common with modern influential people or leaders, and that is they are all great public speakers.
It comes as no surprise though because having an influence on people is basically communicating ideas and making them stay.
Therefore, you would also need to work on developing your public speaking skills, so as to be effective in such communication.
This would give you a needed advantage in being influential.
Final Thoughts – How to Be Influential
Do you want to be influential? Well, actually that is something to aim for owing to many of the benefits that come with it.
Who is your favorite influential leader? And what makes them interesting to you?
Regardless of who the influential person you look up to is, you have it within you to also be there or even better someday soon.
All you need to do is choose a passion, know it very well, be willing to share what you know with others, be a great listener and be visible.
Every other thing you would ever need to be influential would follow, and you can be successful in this.