Influence is like magic–it moves even money.
As an entrepreneur, there have been plenty of times when I didn’t have enough money to make something happen, but I could exercise influence and shift the outcome in my direction.
No one is born with influence. You can grow it like you grow other skills, like receiving criticism, learning a new language, bringing down your golf handicap, or good parenting.
1. Know what you want.
This is the big one. If you don’t know the outcome you want, it’s hard to influence it. This is the most often missed step in building real influence–having a clear point of view.
Ask yourself, what do I want to happen–and why? To influence outcomes, you have to be very clear on the outcome you want to influence.
2. Be known for your no’s.
Everyone wants to be liked and accepted. So when we say “no” to each other, it’s resonant in the relationship. The word ‘no’ creates a psychic boom. That’s why no is the most powerful word in your influence-building habit. Get comfortable with it.
What do you want to be known for saying ‘no’ to?
3. Make transparency a regular public practice.
Do you like daily or weekly rhythms? Depending on how fast you want your influence to grow, pick a daily or weekly rhythm for an exercise in showing up as yourself (or your company)–publicly. People are careful with allowing you to become influential in their life.
That’s why it’s important that you let them get to know you.
Here are some ways to grow your influence with a routine:
- Post something short on LinkedIn every week featuring something you care about, and why.
- Share moments of your life on a platform you find easy to use, like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
- Write an editorial for your paper once a quarter on a professional topic that matters.
- Serve on a nonprofit board or community sports team that supports a cause you truly believe in.
- When people ask you to speak, do it.
- Speak up in meetings to state your point of view briefly and non defensively.
- Write a short regular blog.
If you practice knowing what you sincerely want, saying no clearly, and publicly being your real self on a regular basis, your real influence will grow as those around you learn to rely on your clear counsel and transparent positions.
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This article first appeared in Inc.