Influence is part of every interaction. Anyone refusing to admit that it’s not a part of their life is likely the one who is being influenced. Influence is so powerful that it has become a vital part of an increasing movement of personal awareness and self-improvement curriculums designed to accelerate results across the spectrum of business and personal relationships.
Your ability to persuade and influence people to help you to get the things you want out of life is one of the most important skills you can develop. Learning the fundamentals of influence opens the pathways to greater personal power that leads to your ability to get more of the things you want faster and easier than ever before. Your ability to influence can be a difference-maker between success and failure. It can virtually guarantee your progress and enable you to use all of your other skills and abilities at peak performance levels. Learning how to influence people will earn you the respect of those you interact with and has the potential to make you one of the most sought after people in your community or business.
You either have influence or you don’t. Rarely is there a middle ground on this. Having influence is the difference between being powerful and being powerless. The good news is that influence can be developed quite easily.
Most people are simply unaware that almost every human interaction involves a complex process of persuasion and influence. The unaware are, in most cases, the ones being influenced. So, it only goes to reason that the best starting point for mastering the art of influence is awareness.
Influence through Awareness
Awareness is the key to unlocking the power of most everything, especially when it comes to a better awareness of how our action (or inactions) are perceived by others. So, if awareness is the key to unlocking the power of influence, how do we go about becoming more aware?
We must begin by making conscious efforts to watch ourselves through the critical eye of others. While this may seem a difficult task at first, it is quite easy to do if we will merely get out of our own way long enough for the concept to take hold. We must begin by removing our own personal biases and becoming more consciously aware of everything, from our posture to the tone, inflection, and sincerity of our own voice. One recommended way to do that is to write one word on a piece of paper (it can be anything really: “posture”, “smile”, etc.) that serves as a reminder to a behavior we wish to change. Place that small piece of paper into your pocket to serve as a reminder to begin making the behavioral changes you need to become more aware. You will soon find that this one small act will lead to a shift in your increased awareness that, over time, will develop into a natural ability.
I have learned the power of influence over the course of my life through both trial and a lot of error. I have very often wondered why I was getting nowhere while others seemed to succeed with ease. It was only after I discovered the concept of mastering the power of influence through awareness that I began to understand that I was the one being influenced most of the time. Lucky for me, I learned the basics of this powerful life-changing concept in time to re-direct my own course in life. You can as well.
I have discovered that mastering the power of influence is a rather simple process. That’s not to say, however, that it is easy. In fact, as mentioned earlier, mastering the power of influence takes a conscious effort to understand the principles as we gradually begin to understand ourselves in the entirety of the process of human interaction. Think of the major influences on your life that have shaped the kind of person you are today. It all comes down to the kind of people you have associated with (and continue to associate with) as well as the thoughts you chose to allow into your life.
“You have the power to set the tone of your day through the choices you make and the thoughts that dominate your mind.” ~ Gary Westfal
Your increasing awareness on how others influence you goes a long way in determining whether or not it adds value to the goals and objectives you have set for your life. There is no time like the present to reassess the nature of your associations and the effect they have on you through the lens of objectivity. Be honest with yourself on how these associations are affecting you. How do they influence your thinking, your rituals, your direction, your emotions, opinions, and biases?
An honest assessment will likely reveal that there are both good and not-so-good sources of influence in your life at this very moment. Both will take you somewhere, but only one will take you where you desire to go.
Attention to detail is essential if we are to develop influence to any great extent. There are as many methods as there are personality types to master the art of influence. I have discovered five powerful ways that have provided the most significant results in the least amount of time. Apply these methods to get started on mastering the art of influence in your own life, and watch closely as your influence produces refreshing new results!
Create Rapport through Mirroring
Mirroring is the subtle act of matching other people’s body language. Most people have no idea when you do this because they are focusing so intently on the content of their own message. When we mirror the body language of others we are reflecting the image and sentiment they are projecting. Body language mirroring unwittingly disarms people through the power of perception. Effective mirroring removes incongruences other people may perceive as threatening or conflicted. Mirroring creates what is referred to as the “Chameleon Effect,” a study proving that we are drawn to people who are most “like us”. This technique provides a familiar reflection of the other person, thereby allowing both parties to be drawn closer together. The closer someone perceives you to be, the more influence you have.
Mirroring is not limited to body language. Mastering the art of influence and the concept of mirroring also extends to a person’s speech patterns. Matching their pace, pitch, tone, and volume—so long as the discussion remains relevant and beneficial—goes a long way to foster effective influence.
The words of your message should carry the power of your convictions. To do this, create a mental state where you genuinely believe the information you convey. This works especially well if you are sincere and have no ulterior motives aside from influencing someone to do or believe something that is in their own best interest…as well as your own. The absolute best way to be convincing and to form a genuine belief is through adequate preparation and knowledge. If it is action you wish someone to take, be prepared to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge through a convincing narrative that is rooted in knowledge and wisdom.
The title of this technique can easily be misleading, for authority is not to be misconstrued with dominance or a know-it-all personality. This aspect of influence goes hand-in-hand with the first point of being convincing. People have an innate tendency to listen to those who seem important or project authority. So dress and act sharp if you wish to influence others. First impressions are lasting impressions.
Influence allows you to persuade others by using leverage. Through leverage, you learn how to multiply yourself and get far more out of the hours you put in rather than doing it all yourself. You leverage yourself with the assistance and efforts of other people by getting them to work with you and for you in the accomplishment of your objectives that are in everyone’s best interest. In business and in life, this is also known as leadership.
Bottom Line – Be Genuine
Most people can see right through insincerity like a crystal clear window. Make this mistake and you’ll have difficulty influencing anyone for quite some time. Influence is not some game or trick we play to deceive. It is a tool to be used to help others make what you feel is the best decision.
Your ability to persuade others through influence is a personal power that will pay huge dividends. Master it and watch the results take on a new life of their own, yielding fruitful changes that will quite simply convince you of the power of this amazingly simple philosophy.
Until Next Time…
~ G ~
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