In life we always tend to focus on things that are beyond оur control. We’d rather mope around about our inconveniences rather than doing something that would actually benefit us. We tend to go around wasting our time and effort while accomplishing nothing of any true meaning. This behavior and mental attitude will not expand your influence.

Our words and actions go to waste, our influence on the world resembles but a smudge on a radar. If you want to make a change of pace, and start focusing on the things that matter, then you really need to start working on your circle of influence. I am going to show you how to become more prominent and expand your influence.

What exactly is influence?

“The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”

As Kenley Blanchard once said“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority”. But the concept of leadership has its own fundamental principles, the most important of which is striving towards a positive outcome.

One who has the power of influence mustn’t use it for their own goals, otherwise their reign will be short-lived. Influence is radiance, far more than just a simple ingredient for leadership. It’s how you look, it’s how you sound.

It’s the first step that you make when you walk in a room. It’s the look you give when you address someone, and the hand you give when you greet someone.

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How to expand your influence

Understand and accept

You have to acknowledge that regardless of where you stand, you will always retain a certain position of influence to those around you. The idea is to realize how far your influence extends, and go from there.

Be proactive

You cannot achieve your goals if you stand in place. You need to start pacing before deciding if you need a change of pace. Try new things, meet new people, forge new alliances, make new connections. Create your own web of influence.

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Be a good listener

Most people see great speakers as influential people. Little do they know that the fundamental prerequisite to being a great speaker is being a great listener first and foremost. Improving on your listening skills will help you make new connections. No one likes a talker, people want to be heard, so before you have your say, hear theirs, but hear with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply.

Practice empathy

The great Aristotle once said “To perceive is to suffer”. What that means is that in order to understand and identify with the people around you, you will need to relate to them on their level. In other words you need to empathize with them.

It isn’t an easy task though. Most people lack genuine empathy, which is why it is greatly appreciated. Having empathy helps with your overall impression as a kind, caring person. Be careful not to go too far though, don’t stray from your moral boundaries.

Be solution oriented

No matter what the problem is, try to center yourself and go for the solution seeking state of mind. Anything other than that is just a plain waste of time and resources that, believe me, you don’t have. It takes practice, but the end result can turn out to be one of your strongest suits.

Accept responsibility

It is a historical fact that good leaders always, without exception, take responsibility for their actions. It is one of the greatest virtues an influential person can have. Recognize where you have failed, assess the situation, make the most of it and retreat.

Learning from your mistakes will motivate you to work even harder. Being able to perceive the ways in which you can improve is one of the greatest traits a person can have.

Appreciate others

If you are able to acknowledge failure, you should also be able to appreciate success. A simple “thank you” or “good job” goes a long, long way when it comes to interpersonal relationships. If you want people to look up to you, you should motivate them in accordance. Showing gratitude and appreciation is an excellent way to motivate and inspire.

Be a visionary

It isn’t enough to just tick goals off some list.  You need to visualize your goals, give them a shape and sound. You need to make out the edges and the curves, and the possible cracks along the way. Without vision, people will not follow you so eagerly – they might not follow you at all.

Sift through the information

These days it seems that everybody has something to say in front of a camera. The Media is full of irrelevant info. You will need to filter what goes inside your head.  Whatever you see, read or hear, from the smallest trivial thing like a line in a movie to a significant event like a conference or a seminar – filter through it. Consume the information and provide adequate feedback. Keeping your senses sharp to the outside world is key.

Be passionate

Your influence is what creates and nurtures your inner glow. Don’t ever forget that, not even for a second. The only way to achieve something great is if you do it with zeal, with a great fervor. Great goals need constant pursuit, and influence is no different. People need to witness your inner flame to ignite their own.

Educate yourself constantly

If you ever get the feeling that you lack knowledge in a certain area – don’t constrain yourself from the urge to fill in that gap. There is no such thing as being overly educated. We learn as long as we live, so why not do it sooner rather than later?

Read books, listen to business podcasts, take classes, engage in training, do whatever it takes to improve your experience. After all, it was Benjamin Franklin who said that “аn investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.

Become more efficient

It’s impossible to increase your influence without staying efficient. You need to prioritize the right actions at the right time and execute the right plans. Consider using tools that will help you record efforts, stay on track, and determine what the best use of your time is.

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Be a person of integrity and values

Your moral and ethical integrity should be one of the base pillars upon which you build your character. People need to see you as a dependable, trustworthy persona – only then will they open up to your influence.

Keep in mind though – never compromise your moral values. Just because Oscar Wilde couldn’t resist a temptation, doesn’t mean you should cave in to all of your temptations.  Close friends and co-workers can help you and advise you on this topic.

The never ending chase

Remember that there is no such thing as “good enough”. Once you’ve achieved something, move on to the next thing. Set new goals, never let yourself stand in place. The people that you influence will follow in your steps. As Mark Twain once said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great”.

Gaining Influence Online

Social media marketing is one of the most powerful ways to gain influence for yourself and your brand online. By using it to effectively become an authority in your niche, you’ll be able to influence your team and your market. Of course, running a business leaves little time to manage social media and consistently put out quality content that your market is looking for. If you outsource social media marketing the right way, you’ll be able to focus on what matters while still expanding your influence.