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by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, TrustTagged as:

Governments use regulation to influence how we each make decisions, either through tax policy or laws. Business uses money to change our behavior, either through commission plans, bonuses, or advertising. But how do we, as individuals, change the attitudes and behavior of those around us? The key is our influence over others. If we have it, we are far more likely to succeed, both at work and at home.

Each day, we build our influence, but we rarely do so mindfully. At the base level, influence is the currency of IOUs we earn by doing things for other people. Real influence, however, is something far more profound than simple IOUs. It is the seemingly unexplainable reason why other people go well beyond the expected, just because it is we who ask.

Whether you are a senior executive, a sales rep, or a management consultant, influence is a critical factor that will help you generate buy-in to your goals.

To build your influence, consider these twelve approaches (in no particular order):

  1. If you have a vision, others will follow it, and go the extra mile for “the cause”.
  2. Become an expert communicator, both written and verbal. Words can inspire… or cause others to disengage.
  3. Write a blog, and collect followers who value your world-view.
  4. Have an opinion, even if it isn’t popular with everyone, and share it.
  5. Deliver on your promises.
  6. Find ways to get involved beyond the narrow confines of your responsibilities.
  7. Live your words: lead by example.
  8. Influence is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
  9. Have your expertise recognized by a third party.
  10. Become a mentor.
  11. Change personal recognition into team recognition.
  12. Maintain a positive attitude.


When you speak, do others listen? When you ask, do others go beyond the call of duty for you? Unlike governments, we cannot mandate behavior, and unlike business, we recognize that paying for people’s attention (advertising, employment contracts) are also not something that is possible at the personal level. This week, consider your colleagues, friends, and family: which two people have the most influence, and why? Beyond the list above, use these two people as models: What can you learn from them? How did they earn their influence – and how can you do so as well?

Insight:  Another word for Influence is Trust.  The more people trust you, the more influence you have.

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