“True influence is nothing more than understanding how to work with and through others to achieve a stated objective while staying true to your core values and maintaining your integrity.” – Mike Myatt
There’s a reason someone wrote a book about How to Win Friends and Influence People and why, over 70 years since its publication, it’s still relevant. And it’s not because they were trying to win a popularity contest.
What influence looks like today is completely different from what influence looked like a decade ago. Gone are the days where people were influential simply because of their celebrity status (that’s so 2001) and in its place are people who are influential because of who they are and what they say.
Influence is lucrative and those who possess it have an ability to create change and persuade others, no matter what their cause. But influence doesn’t come in a celebrity package anymore. Similarly, it also doesn’t mean that because one has a platform to speak on that everyone will listen. Fame and clout are surface things that carry little weight if there is no message behind them. Anyone can be a leader, but effective leadership – true influencers – are rare.
The recent US election, AKA: What In the World Just Happened, is an excellent example of two candidates who’s sphere of influence shaped a rhetoric of change (we can argue what if that change is good or bad some other time). Two figureheads that engaged in, listened to, and spoke with their audience, working with team after team to define and communicate how they will leverage their influence to get their audience their end goals.
Though wildly different in their platforms, what Trump and Clinton demonstrated was their ability to influence, and whichever side of the fence you found yourself in this election, it cannot be denied that successful influencers share the same following traits.
There’s something to be said about how one leads. When your team succeeds, you succeed. When you lift up your team with positivity, you encourage them to perform and perform well. The best and most experienced influences know that the key to success is lifting others up. In providing a positive atmosphere and foundation for which their team and followers can find growth, opportunity, and success. When an influencer exudes this kind of empowerment, it trickles down. When you model the attitude, ethic, and character after the atmosphere you want to build , you set the tone for success. Influence, after all, is an expression of your power; empowerment invokes people to express their power through your positive leadership, creating an environment of passion and dedication for your cause.
Influencers are successful at what they do because they love their work – and it shows. They have a keen ability to keep their eyes on the prize without sacrificing their love for their work. Their ability to engage and inspire an audience is crucial in creating a following. Not only does this involve listening to their audience, it involves interacting with them. And powerhouse influencers know this. They understand that the key to persuasion lies in being authentically involved with their audience; creating trust through relationships create an open dialogue that encourages honesty and openness.
Distractions are an everyday occurrence. Our digital world is a constant feed of information; cat videos, dog memes, shiny things and – oh, look! A squirrel wearing a hat!
In a world of constant distraction, successful influencers know that the need for focus is paramount to their achievements. Influencers rely on continuous goal setting; they’re committed to refining their focus and acting with purpose to reflect their desired outcomes. Setting objectives and developing plans to accomplish them are just a part of their daily routine to hone and maximize their influence.
An influencer wouldn’t be influential if they didn’t have the knowledge to back up the niche they belong to. Your following and the ability to influence others relies mainly on your ability to back up your talk with insight, problem-solving, and an ability to relate to others. Authority entitles you to do certain things, providing you with social connections, expertise, and respect. Just know that there is a difference between power and authority. While we can define power as the ability to influence someone to do something they would not have done, authority is the claim of legitimacy, the justification and right to exercise that power of influence. Authority and respect often go hand in hand; power can often be exploited and damage your influence if not wielded correctly.
Influencers know that the key to remaining ahead of the curve is not through saying the same thing over and over again. It’s by putting out content that is valuable, is asking questions and providing possible solutions to problems that have yet to be solved. Their point of view on their related field is always interesting and relevant, which attracts more of a following, but their innovation also comes from their ability to remain open-minded. Acknowledging that they don’t have all the answers shows that they are authentic and relatable.
Demi Lovato said is best when she said: what’s wrong with being confident? Ignoring our deep/useless knowledge of bubblegum pop lyrics for a minute, the takeaway of the above is that confidence is a key trait for successful influencers; without it, there is no platform for you to stand on. Successful influencers believe in themselves and their message. Their confidence is often infectious. There’s a difference, though, between cocky and confident. Nothing turns away an audience faster than someone who is overly braggy and appears to have all the answers. A true leader acknowledges that they can’t know everything, that they turn to their trusted team in times of pressure for support. Effective leaders and influencers are down-to-earth and easy to relate to. Their confidence never compromises their ability to remain humble and compassionate to those around them.
Whether it’s because you want more friends or want to run for president, how to win friends and influence people is no longer about how much money you have, how many reality shows you’ve starred in, or what clubs you can get into for free. When it comes to capturing the attention of their audience, powerhouse influencers are successful not because of their status; they’re successful because of the qualities that present them as relatable to their followers.