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One of the buzzwords everyone is throwing around these days is “influencer.” The qualities lauded in modern influencers — the abilities to connect to an audience, to be well-spoken, and to eloquently get a message across — have long been the features of influential people.
You don’t need to be an influencer in the modern sense in order to achieve influence and meaningfully connect your audience with your message. Instead, you can work to cultivate certain traits that are found in influential people, thus increasing your ability to have an impact, both when speaking publically and around the office. To find out how, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
Q. What subtle trait is crucial for making someone more influential, and why does this trait have such a big impact?
Here’s what they said:
In a world with so much political speak and business jargon, people are hungry to make connections with people who are willing to be 100 percent human and authentic. Trust is becoming a scarce commodity in business, marketing, and in all parts of life. People who know who they are and live fully in that place are much more likely to influence others than those who are driven by sales or notoriety. – Joey Kercher, Air Fresh Marketing
2. A Little Mystery
They have mastered the art of teasing. They have innate abilities to share just enough about themselves or their plans to keep you intrigued. This trait draws others in and has them coming back. The ability to create a perceived mystique is priceless when it comes to influencing customers. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
3. Good Listener
You think of influencers as people who talk or provide useful or critical information. But listening carefully and responding thoughtfully and appropriately is a large part of gaining trust, and you have to have someone’s trust in order to influence them. Hear the words but also think about what is behind the words. Fear? Pain? Mistrust? Respond to that “what” and not to the words themselves. – Alisha Navarro, 2 Hounds Design
No one likes a “me monster.” When you are trying to influence a person or group, do it humbly and in a way that will help them. Using self-deprecating humor or pointing out a time when you failed and figured out how to overcome the failure are perfect ways of doing this. When you connect with your audience at their level, they are much more likely to grow to know, like, and trust you. – Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide
5. Being Relatable
This will not be possible for every situation. However, being able to relate to a person on a certain level will give you a slight upper hand when trying to be influential. People are more inclined to listen to what you have to say if you’ve actually been in their shoes at some point. – Duran Inci, Optimum7
Others see confidence as integral to success. Looking at famous people and athletes, they always seem to have it together and know what they are doing. Plus, their success speaks volumes. So, if they project that confidence when talking about a product or service, you’ll be more likely to believe them. – Serenity Gibbons, NAACP
It’s easy to connect with thousands of people within an industry in any given year. Even more important than the ones that you remember for their intelligence and creativity are the ones that gave a horrible first impression. Meeting someone that is disrespectful and thinks they know everything is just rude and bad for business. Make sure you don’t come off this way when meeting others. – Zac Johnson, Blogger
When you have fun and aren’t afraid to be even a little silly at times, you show confidence and can’t help but attract attention. People want answers to serious questions but like being entertained too. Posting content that may be more fitting of Facebook on LinkedIn is a way you can do it. Even Leadgen for a B2B SAAS solution can have humor. Having a sense of humor is a great way to break through. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)
I’ve noticed that when people find you passionate about something, even if they are remotely uninteresting, they become interested by default because they like your passion. Many startups build something for others and never use it themselves. This creates a tough sales process. Passion changes influence and gets people to want to be involved because the self-trust is so evident. – Sweta Patel, Startup Growth Mode
10. Not Following the Crowd
Influential people don’t follow the crowd; they carve their own path. They’re not afraid to do things a little differently and live their life on their own terms, which is what makes them so inspiring. Instead of following a formula, it’s more relatable and inspiring when someone reaches success in their own way, one that works for them. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
11. Acknowledges Fallibilities
Unless we were indoctrinated from birth, it’s hard for smart people to believe the pretense of an infallible, perfect leader. When we bring new hires in, I like to tell stories about where we didn’t succeed and how we adapted to end up at the point we are now. Addressing those mistakes drops pretenses that lead to unproductive groupthink. It also demonstrates necessary humility and malleability. – Stephen Hetzel, BidPrime
12. Always Learning
Influential people are always learning and trying to better themselves. In order to be a great leader and inspiring to others, you need to be constantly learning new skills, open to new ideas, and challenging yourself and others to grow. You can’t be influential if you’re stuck in your ways and never grow or evolve. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
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