Posted by: brandextenders | August 31, 2011

How Do You Influence Others?

In 9th grade I had the coolest math teacher; this young guy who wore jeans and boots and was so hip to our young, pubescent psyches. After the first semester though he went on medical leave and we came back from the holidays to this old guy straight out of a nerd catalog. He wore glasses and was balding, but ironically he had long hairs growing out of his nose and ears and he always had red ink stains in the pockets of his white shirts because he’d forget to cap his leaky pens.

We teased and taunted him mercilessly because he was such a contrast to our first teacher and although I don’t remember the name of the cool teacher, I do remember the substitute’s name; Mr. Cochran. One day after weeks of putting up with our abuse he pulled me aside after class and said he knew I was smart and wondered why we were so mean to someone who was doing the best he knew how given the situation? I had no answer and felt terrible. At that moment I was able to look past the nose hairs and huge eyebrows and see a person who had dedicated his life to teaching a subject he loved.

I’ve thought of him many times over the years and now understand that we all teach and influence every day whether we realize it or not. If you’re a parent, you’re influencing your kids 24/7. Salespeople work to influence their customers to purchase their products or services. Teachers, doctors, dentists, CEO’s, customer service reps, preachers, politicians, marketers, talk show hosts, actors and almost every single one of us uses our influence each and every day with others whether we do it consciously or not.

Influence, by definition is the ability to alter or sway an individual’s or a group’s thoughts, beliefs, or actions. There are many ways we influence others every day and here are five of the most common:

Influence by example. How we interact and communicate with those we come into contact with will influence them one way or another. You’ve heard the saying there is only one first impression and the first and continuing impression we make on others will determine the amount of influence we have with them. Respectful, ethical, honest, authoritative communication will take you further than bullying, surliness, dishonesty and disrespect. Lead by example, by always being ready to jump in and get your hands dirty. If you sit on the sidelines and tell people how to do something, your influence will be negligible,

Influence by teaching. Become an expert in your field and brand yourself as such through writing, the use of social media and perhaps speaking. People respect and are influenced by those who passionately and respectfully communicate their knowledge. Admitting when you are wrong and listening to other points-of-view will add to the influence you have with others. Mentoring is another way of teaching those just getting started with your knowledge and wisdom.

Influence by Listening. Dale Carnegie, the famous speaker and motivator wrote a book called, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” He encouraged people to be good listeners and encourage others to talk about themselves. As one of the most influential people of his time, Carnegie knew that letting others talk about their lives and interests builds rapport and trust which over time helps influence others in a positive way.

Influence through appreciation. Learn to be humble and to say thank you regularly. Showing appreciation influences other to do the same. Common courtesy has become less and less common as people think they can bully and push themselves on others. By showing appreciation you stand out as a positive influence and others will follow your lead.

Influence with your attitude: Attitudes are infectious be they positive or negative.  Use your positive attitude to influence others to do the same. People want to be around positive and successful people, not whiners and complainers. Having an attitude of gratitude will set the bar for those around you to do the same.

Whether it’s influencing someone to go with you to your favorite restaurant or investing money in your newest invention, we all seek to influence others every day. Far from being evil, influence is a natural part of our social lives and one of the best ways to influence others is to be willing to walk in their shoes. So how do you influence others? Feel free to leave your comments below.

“You can never really live anyone else’s life, not even your child’s. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you’ve become yourself.Eleanor Roosevelt

I work with my customers to evaluate their promotional marketing needs and develop creative and measurable solutions based on those needs. I build long-term relationships to become a trusted advisor my clients turn to for their brand extension, promotional product, incentive and other branding needs. Contact me at stephen.woodburn@staplespromoproducts.com  

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Responses

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