Are you interested in learning how to grow your influence? AND is it biblical to want more influence? We’ll look at your behavior towards others, your behavior for others, and what the Bible says about having influence.
I want to start right here by saying Jesus was the greatest influencer. What do influencers do? They motivate people to take action. Jesus did precisely that. He came to earth to influence people with His message, the message of Himself, and salvation through Him.
There were only two things people did in response to His message-
- Follow Him wholeheartedly
- Reject Him completely
There was no middle ground when it came to Jesus. And, there should be no middle ground for you and me. So, we WILL influence those we are meant to influence, all the others we can leave behind. (Brene Brown says, throw them on the floor and just simply step over them – not on them – over.)
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Four ways to grow your influence
But, there is more. Jesus was strategic in how He influenced others, and we want to look at four things we can do to influence others.
Use high-powered, engaged body language
I am not talking about being loud, rude, or forceful. I am talking more about your confidence toward the person you are trying to influence and the importance of body language.
Here are a few things to remember to do:
- Point your torso and feet towards your listener. This is a nonverbal sign of respect. It communicates that you are fully engaged in the conversation. On Zoom, this means filling the screen with you from the bust-up.
- Eye contact is crucial for connecting to others. Try to make enough eye contact so that you can tell me the eye color of your conversational partner. You can also do this on Zoom. It means looking at the camera, not the person down on the screen. Remember, if people look away consistently, you can ease off on eye contact.
- Smile. Certain behaviors — like smiling– trigger mirror neurons in our brain, and our face automatically reflects what the eyes see. So the other person can subconsciously pick up that you are genuinely interested. This is very much overlooked, especially on Zoom. Make sure to check your face to see if your resting face is in a frown.
Pro-tip. . . Find a pleasant look with the corners of your mouth lifted ever so slightly, and practice holding it when you are on video with someone. Yes, it will feel awkward, but it looks great and prevents you from having the resting face no one wants to look at.
High-powered and confident body language is expansive
When you express powerful body language, you are seen as more influential. High-powered or confident body language is extensive. The head is held high, the arms are loose, the shoulders are set back, and the chest is out. Confident body language affects not only how others see you but also how you see yourself.
Do you hold yourself confidently? Do you push your body forward a little on a Zoom call? Have you thought about your resting face before?
Author Maya Angelou says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Influencing is all about feeling.
We see this in John 4 with Jesus when He stopped to talk with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus was relaxed, open, and willing to speak directly to her. He asked questions, and listened! He talked with her about her life and told her of His living water. She was so influenced by His words she brought the entire village to meet Him and hear what He had to say.
Talk about having raving fans!
Grow your influence by telling a story
People’s brains are hard-wired for stories. So when people hear stories, they feel like they are with the other person. The listener is experiencing the story along with you, the narrator. So if you can stimulate the other person’s brain with a story, you can, in effect, get that person on your side.
Why is it important to tell stories?
- Your story makes you human. It helps build a relationship between you and the person you’re speaking with. With one story, you can transform a client into a loyal evangelist (a.k.a, raving fan) for your business.
- Stories entertain and engage. The average attention span is incredibly short. Start your interaction by telling a compelling story about a client or how your product/service came into the world. Illustrate the success of your business through a story.
- Imaginative stories give you an advantage. Doing this can make your audience think and feel in a way they haven’t before. When told the right way, stories are “sticky.” When the time is right, tell a captivating, funny, and compelling tale. If your story is memorable, your audience will remember you and your ideas.
Jesus gained authority through His stories and simplified complex ideas through stories. I think about the consecutive stories He told in Luke 15 to demonstrate God’s deep love for us. They are the parable of the shepherd leaving the 99 to look for the one lost sheep, the woman who lost a precious coin and swept the entire house until she found it, and the story of the prodigal son, a father’s forgiveness.
Jesus told stories all the time. He said a total of 52 parables. So you, too, can create a story toolbox that consists of relevant and thought-provoking stories that you can tell at any time when you’re with your people.
Do you tell stories? What is one story that will show your followers you understand what they are going through when it comes to the problem you solve?
What you can do for others?
To grow your influence, you need to give people exactly what they want because everyone likes what THEY want, not what YOU want. Forget about you. Think about them. Listen to what your followers are saying (especially between the lines). This means asking them.
Give your followers what they want
When others can see you are thinking about their needs, it will turn you into a great person in their eyes. They will love you when you give them what they want. It gives you more respect, authority. . . influence.
What do people want more than anything? Something FREE. What are some ways we give valuable content to others for Free?
I think about blogs, LIVES, YouTube videos, and posts with tips/strategies. I also think about lead magnets (those things we create to get people on our email lists). You know checklists, quizzes, how-tos, samples, and more.
Only by listening (and researching) to your following will you be able to give them what they want. There are so many ways to listen. Make sure to ‘listen into’ what your followers, potential clients, and clients are saying. That means staying curious and asking questions.
And when you are the person giving them the answers they need, the solution they desire, will you have the influence you want. So please don’t create another product or service until you KNOW what they want.
Do the research and listen in between the lines
Do the RESEARCH. I cannot stress this enough. This is such a significant component of what we do in Calling Clarity. Without this work, without listening to your follower’s wants, you will never be able to meet their needs.
Jesus knew what many people wanted who came to see Him, to be healed. So he went around healing many, knowing that only a few would genuinely follow Him. I think about the ten lepers in Luke 17. Only one of the 10 returned to thank Jesus for what He had done for him. It is the same with us. We need to give people what they want and expect that those meant to be our clients will hear us and come back for more.
Ask for a favor
This might seem contrary to what we are talking about here. We are discussing how to grow your influence by what you can do for others. But this is what I have discovered. Research tells us that whenever a person asks someone else for a favor, that person is perceived more positively.
It turns out that asking for help is one of the best things you could do to be perceived as an influential person. This is known as the Benjamin Franklin effect.
The concept is simple: Ask a person to do a favor for you, and in return, you’ll find they’ll like you even more than they would if you had done a favor for them. Ben says, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
What does this look like? Please do NOT ask them to do work for you. Instead, freely ask for help in the form of advice, opinions, and guidance. Also, acknowledge their support by showing you listened and valued what they said to you.
People LOVE to feel needed
People LOVE to feel needed, valued, and appreciated. That’s the type of FAVOR you want to ask for. This can look like a survey, an opportunity to interview with you, or simply asking for their thoughts on a post.
Jesus asked for favors all the time. For example, in Matthew 16, He asks the disciples who and what others were saying He was and who they said He was. He contrasts their opinion with others to show he was influencing them. I also think about Zacchaeus in Luke 19. He went up in the tree to see Jesus and was rewarded with doing the favor of having Jesus for dinner, and he got to talk to Him directly.
It is in the personal touch that we get people over to our side and make them feel valued by us. We can ask for these small favors and, in turn, create committed followers who become our clients.
Which of these two things will help you grow your influence? Giving them what they want or asking for a favor? How will you use both to grow your influence?
Continuing to grow your influence
These are four simple things you can do to grow your influence.
- Use your body language to show up confidently.
- Tell stories to connect your experience to their situation.
- Give generously by understanding what they want.
- Ask for a favor, so your conversation becomes two-way.
The secret? It comes down to one word, and I hope you heard it today. . . LISTENING. When you listen with your body, conversation, questions, and engagement, people will like you more (that’s influence).
And guess what? You will learn more about those whom God calls you to serve.
P.S. If you watch the video, I hope you see my open body language. Though I haven’t told my stories, I did remind you of some of Jesus’. As for giving generously (something you want), I have many FREE Resources on my website. One IS right for you, so go check them out. And can I ask you a favor? Please comment on your takeaways. I’ll LOVE the feedback.