Influence is a hot buzzword right now. It’s the topic of leadership conversations, and it’s a particularly hot topic online on blogs and in social media.
Everybody wants more of it.
Lots of people want to sell you their strategy to get it.
Some people believe the way to gain influence is to a) get people’s attention through a unique branding strategy, and then b) broadcast a continuous stream of neatly packaged content – books, seminars, blog posts, tweets, videos. This is what celebrities, athletes, professional bloggers and media personalities do.
The truth is that strategy does build influence – influence that’s a mile wide and an inch deep.
The secret to building more meaningful influence is much simpler:
Think about it… Who has had the most (positive) influence on your life? Whose advice to you listen most intently to? The people who have helped you the most, right? Your parents, maybe a great teacher or coach, your closest friends. Perhaps there’s an author who provided key insights in a book that changed your life. Or perhaps there’s a musician who songs carried you through a difficult time in your life.
Help people – it sounds simple, but it’s actually quite difficult.
In order to help someone, you have to…
- Care enough to want to help
- Ask them what they want
- Listen as they tell you what they want
- Understand what they really need
- Learn how to help them
- Choose to do something about it
- Work to provide the help
Skip any of those steps and you either do nothing (because you don’t care enough or don’t know how to help) or do something that doesn’t actually help.
That’s why we’re influenced by those who help us the most. They’ve proven they care about us, they understand us, they know how to help, and they are willing to not just talk about it but do something for us.
Sometimes I find myself doing too much broadcasting of blog posts and tweets and not enough listening, too much talking and too little doing, focusing too much of my energy online and not enough offline. I need to remind myself…
Meaningful influence is both personal and action-oriented
How about you?