16 Ways Professionals Can Earn More Influence In Their Field
As a professional within a particular field, your influence can make or break your opportunities. Within many industries, success comes from being top of mind for your customers and your colleagues. But it’s not always so easy to gain the attention and respect of your peers.
But in such an interconnected industry space, talk of someone’s influence spreads quickly among major professionals. So how can someone garner influence in their network and beyond? To help, 16 contributors to Forbes Coaches Council explore some of the strategies professionals can employ to gain an edge within their chosen industry.
1. Be A Leader And Manage Your Emotions
I have two suggestions to increase influence: be a leader and manage your emotions. Leadership is a choice, not a position. By stepping into leadership and honing some key soft skills (decision-making, empathy, critical thinking, conflict resolution, etc.), others will begin to look to you. Especially in this time of uncertainty, managing emotions is critical as an influencer. Find the silver lining. – Janine Hamner Holman, J&J Consulting Group
2. Use Thought-Provoking Commentary
The most effective strategy for earning more influence within your space is to use thought-provoking commentary to fuel the thinking of the people you want to influence. This can be achieved by knowing how to ask questions that go beyond their own thinking, like “How did you arrive at that conclusion?” and following it up with “Well, here’s something I want you to think about.” – Lee Meadows, Meadows Consulting
3. Share Distinct Insights And Perspectives
Having influence comes from taking a view or position on a particular topic, backed by what you know and how credible you are. Sharing knowledge, experience and skills can educate others, but influence—and motivating people to take action—comes from the distinct perspectives, insights and wisdom that arise from who you are, and how you became that person. – Lisa Schmidt, Worksphere
4. Leverage Storytelling To Explain Change
Look around you—talent is everywhere. It’s one thing to have talent and quite another to have something to say. Can you say something in a way that makes people want to listen? The most effective way to grow your influence is through storytelling. Why? Storytelling is the greatest vehicle to help explain change. Telling stories helps others see the change and make sense of how it will impact them. – Colby B. Jubenville, PhD, drjubenville.com
5. Be The Change
Every industry experiences change for which people will self-organize to lead, follow or get out of the way. Be that change, sharing evidence of your willingness to vulnerably step out front. Most people are change-averse, so you’ll set yourself influentially apart just by being one who proactively greets change. – Dodie Jacobi, Dodiodo Inc.
6. Be Seen
Being seen is more important than being heard. If you are seen observing and listening to others, people will want to know what it is you are seeing and hearing that they are not. – Theodore May, Theodore May
7. Have A Powerful Pitch
In his book Key Person of Influence, Daniel Priestley shares that people with influence are able to clearly communicate their value and uniqueness. This starts with having a powerful pitch, one that has gravitas and inspires both you and your target audience, so that when someone asks, “What do you do?” they’re left with a crystal-clear sense and are very intrigued to learn more. – Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Leadership Academy
8. Interview Industry Experts
Do you know how fast your credibility grows if you listen and document insights and advice for professional journals or others in your industry? I interview my clients, colleagues and contacts all the time. Supposedly after 29 years I am an expert in career and outplacement issues, but I have never stopped interviewing, quoting, podcasting or listening to my clients, peers and leaders. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
9. Establish Yourself As A Thought Leader
Establish yourself as a thought leader and publish value-adding content on internal and external platforms. What questions do people in this space frequently ask? Are there myths or misconceptions that need to be corrected? What problems do your clients in this space encounter? Publishing quality content is often an excellent way to develop your thought leadership and extend your influence. – Palena Neale, Ph.D, unabridged
10. Speak At Professional Associations
A good way to increase your influence in your profession is to get involved with professional organizations as a presenter. Don’t just attend, but offer up your assistance as a presenter. Most local chapters of professional organizations are always in search of people to present at their monthly meetings. Many times, you will find that one presentation can be used at many different organizations. – John Knotts, Crosscutter Enterprises
11. Read On Emerging Industry Topics
By consuming as much information as possible to deeply educate yourself on trends in your industry, you can develop a voice on topics of interest to your peers. Leverage this knowledge by publishing social media posts, white papers and articles to invite discussion and further educate your colleagues. In doing so, you’ll be perceived as a thought leader and authority on your chosen topic. – Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CIC, COPNS, CTTCC, An Expert Resume
12. Be An Authentic Leader
Individuals who have a natural style of influencing others have a common characteristic: authentic leadership. Communicating from a sincere authentic perspective allows you to effectively collaborate and listen with the intent to fully understand. The next time you’re faced with influencing a key decision, ask yourself, “How do I want to show up, build trust and gain agreement authentically?” – Sheila Carmichael, Transitions D2D, LLC
13. Focus On Connecting
It has been said that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. While it is important to be direct, knowledgeable and skilled, it is equally important to build trust and rapport, gain buy-in and learn active listening, not just speaking. What makes you stand out? How strong is your network? Where are you posting articles or speaking? Leadership is influence. – Denise Russo, SAP
14. Be Of Service
Help organize conferences. Join boards. Run for office. Don’t do these things as manipulative ways to get attention. Find ways to genuinely be of service. Enjoy that for its own sake. And you’ll be surprised to find your own influence growing. – Dr. Joel M. Rothaizer, MCC, Clear Impact Consulting Group
15. Align To The Mission
To earn, gain and retain influence in the marketplace, professionals can ensure that their products and services align to their company mission. This strategy threads credibility through consistency. Not only do all hiring, development and training practices align, but the promotions also share the same aligned message, and most importantly, the company culture and employee behaviors align to the mission. – Lori Harris, Harris Whitesell Consulting
16. Stop Talking, Start Listening
Companies that want to be influencers in their space spend more time listening than talking. They use social media tools for listening online to what their target customers are saying about their successes, roadblocks and needs. You should follow their lead. Why? Knowledge empowers you to have something relevant to say. Industry influencers share high-value, actionable and timely information. – Tracy Levine, Advantage Talent, Inc.
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