Mastering These 6 Arts Will Help You to Become a More Influential Person
‘Silver spoon in the mouth!’ These words come to our mind when seeing charming influential entrepreneurs. They seem to just be built like that, built to succeed and prosper and excite envy. If they decide to launch a tech startup, Web and mobile development companies are ready to build their apps for equity, media rush to them hungry for details, and investors and funding crowd react like ‘shut up and take my money’. There’s certainly some kind of natural magic behind them.
Yet delve deeper, and you’ll see the truth which is, at the same time, harsh and encouraging: being influential is a total of skills honed through hard work, a composite of arts perfectly mastered, rather than the gift given by mother nature .
Most of these arts are often seen as leadership skills. But, in reality, they are worth honing regardless of whether you are in the С-Suite or not. If you want to be able to persuade investors, the funding crowd, and media that your startup isб at leastб worth their attention you must develop the right vibe, the air of a leader. A master of these six arts become must you, and the power of influence will be with you:
- The Art of Decisiveness.
Decisiveness is one of the top characteristics that make a great leader. Trusted leaders aren’t expected to look lost and hesitating when it comes to making decisions, whether it’s a simple choice of where to hold a staff meeting, or whether or not to share “bad news” with stockholders. Fear of failure is natural, but true leaders don't let it influence the decision-making process.
Decision-making is, first of all, a learned skill, not a talent. To better understand how it can be trained one can split it into emotional intelligence, the ability to handle uncertainty, and the ability to weigh evidence with intuition. And even though you cannot always be 100% sure about the incomes of this or that decision, you can control the process of making it. Being in control makes you look irresistible.
- The Art of Arguing.
Presentations, negotiations, question-and-answer sessions and all other kinds of discussions with people of certain influence and power require the skill of building a solid argument. Apparently, you’re not going to take part in talks on behalf of the whole nation (unless becoming a president is your ultimate goal), but it doesn’t lower the importance of being able to defend and promote your point against opponents and skeptics who are always here to undermine bold startup founders.
Arguing is like fighting. Critical thinking is a shield that gives you a ground while analyzing others’ arguments is a sword which you use to gently destroy their point. During the battle, reasons stream from the opposite directions towards each other, and each of the two streams is aiming to prevail over another. Finally, the one with heavier reasons wins to experience increase in personal influence.
- The Art of Storytelling.
A lot of business people denigrate the force of storytelling preferring “the facts” as much more persuasive content pieces. Subscribing to this belief, they put themselves at risk of having their truly valuable information gotten buried under the piles of useless stuff. Strong narrative’s power to help building new connections is another amazing feature they miss. Look at politicians, they often create a “story” for their campaign. This story brings them in closer contact with media and public thus allowing to deliver their main point.
Functions of storytelling used by influencers are numerous: motivational, educational, mind-changing, persuasive, or even manipulative. Well-told narratives wrapped around bare facts and numbers give them face, voice and spirit, make them easier to remember and difficult to skip.
- The Art of Public Speaking.
From the world of politics, we know the term ‘power broker’ used to define influencers who operate behind the scenes in favor of those who take the stage. Yet if you’re capable of speaking persuasively you have additional influence points.
You’re rather unlikely to make a real progress on growing your personal influence until you become an adept public speaker. Beat the fear of public speaking, step out of the dark area into the limelight and give the public a memorable speech. But remember: prepare well. Bad speech will do you no good. Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail”.
- The Art of Awareness.
Election, taxes, budget deficits, interest rates, markets, unemployment, economic instability in China and local affairs… all of us get annoyed with some of these topics sometimes. But the fact is, they all represent general knowledge available to all of us, things we’re all exposed to and have our opinion on - just like the weather. But finding yourself stumped when these topics arise you, at the least, miss the opportunity to build bridges through the demonstration of belonging. No need to be into the nuts and bolts of the topics. Basic understanding of what’s going on in these areas is enough to be able to ask questions if someone you’re talking to seems better informed and interested. Thus, you can make them speak, learn about them, and show that you care and that the topic isn’t completely unfamiliar to you.
And, of course, the more often you ask questions the more you know. This will in the long term increase your own awareness and make your opinion more influential.
- The Art of Staying Young
Technologies develop quickly. New social networks come and go, or stay and grow. If you’re skeptical of new social media or the tools for business they offer, the day will come and you will realize how many opportunities you have missed. Not to speak of the importance of online presence. It’s the same as with the art of public speaking. Create your profile on each and every social platform. No need to post things there like crazy. It’s enough to put clear personal information about yourself which you want to show the world and refresh it from time to time.
We live in a world where transparency and presence are highly valued. If even the Pope who is by default influential has a Twitter account why wouldn’t you? Your profiles not only serve the purpose of showing who you are. They allow you to reach out to different social groups depending on the platform and keep your ear to the ground. Why being averse to them?
Apparently, talent is a big thing. But it will never guarantee success and can even prevent it.
Most influentials are great speakers. And being one requires some courage.