Is how you influence others changing in 2015? I believe the number one skill serving leaders have is their ability to influence others. It doesn’t matter of if you’re running a startup, a family business, a large nonprofit or an international Fortune 1000 organization, your ability to influence others is changing.
The good news is that you’re going to have the ability to have a major impact on our world on regular basis, if you choose. The bad news is your communications will be out there forever. Today, I share five ideas that can help you become more influential this year.
The first idea to influence others is people are getting more and more messages every day. I’ve heard the number as low as 500 messages per day to, at the high end, being exposed to tens of thousands of messages every day. So if you hope to connect and influence, you must understand why your message might be lost in the confusion.
The second idea to influence others is that these messages are coming from many more sources. It’s not unusual for the same message to appear in many different forms. A client of mine showed up on the BBC. Within the first hour, I received several notices letting me know who he’s talking with, what he said, and a link to a video of the conversation. Before the day was out I had received over 35 messages about this short interview, including several opinions about what it means to my client. Of course, what do I do? I send it back through my network to get other people’s feedback before talking with client to share my feedback. I’m sure he heard from many others on his performance, as well.
The third idea to influence others is that the speed of communications is accelerating. Everything we do is responded to in real time. It’s an instant scorecard of how our communication is received and by whom. I believe that if you want to influence others, you first must have a trusting relationship with them. They have to know you have their best interest at heart. The speed of communication is so fast that if you haven’t built a strong relationship with the other person, you can blow up your relationship very quickly. Because of this, I think it is critical to understand the people your hearing from and what their agenda is.
The fourth idea to influence others is communication is global. If you’re writing a message, you need to understand you are talking to a global community. I’ve seen several associates share something that they would let their mothers read, but the slang in the message had a significantly different meaning than the sender intended in other countries.
Take time to consider who your messages might be shared with. Recently, several confidential messages became public, much to the embarrassment and consternation of the sender. When I coach clients around global leadership, there are several keys I share about how technology is changing the game.
The world is a very small place because of all the technology at our disposal. Before using technology for your big event, take time to consider the impact on those you’re talking with. I’ve been involved in some very scary incidents when people tried new technologies with unsuccessful, and unintended, consequences.
The final idea to influence others I share is understand, many times, it’s the quality of the communications not the quantity. I’ve spent much of my career talking with people one on one. I think, and my clients tell me, I’m best at influencing others one to one. My oldest client shared that he liked best is our ability to talk in an environment of complete trust. We both have agendas. Sharing agendas and having a transparent, trusting relationship allows us both to perform at our best. In other words, when my mouth engages faster than my brain, he allows me to self-correct in almost real time. Try that with Twitter!
We’ve had our disagreements, even in public forums, but we still work together because we can trust what the other means, if not exactly what we say. I know he’s got my back and he knows I will always work to represent his best interest.
In a world where people have a wide variety of communications options, we tend to learn and grow together. For example, during a conversation at the end of last year, he told me that I should consider increasing my influence through developing a YouTube channel and become more engaged in public forums. I’m sure this doesn’t mean he will stop helping me improve and update my communications skills. After all, he’s a big influence to me!
This week, we begin sharing several leadership strategies to influence others in the ever changing world of social media. Click here to sign up for a special program to help you become a stronger, more influential serving leader. We’ll be talking about this more later this week. You can sign up for this free program early at this site. See you tomorrow where we discuss how to say thank you to your many stakeholders.