What Is Influence?

On Saturday I wrote a post titled How Influential Are You Online, and I ended that post with this: “what is influence anyway, and how does one use it?” I said I would tackle that question this week; this is me tackling it.

Sean MacEntee via Compfight

In general, influence is the power to make an effect of some kind. It can be positive or negative, which of course isn’t good, but that’s just how it goes.

If you think about Star Wars for a quick minute, Emperor Palpatine is a great example of influence. He’s a bad guy who does good things and gets people to believe in him and want him to become supreme chancellor. At the same time, he’s the most evil thing in the universe, the emperor who can get Darth Vader to do anything he wants him to do. In essence, he’s leading the same people he’s fighting against; how’s that for real power?

Reigning it back in, since none of us are going to be either of those things (thank goodness), we’re left to look at ourselves to first determine if we have any real influence over others, and if we do how are we using it. Parents, we’re keeping the discussion of children out of this one for now, so I don’t want to hear any “I’m a parent and I influence my children” stuff. Trust me, for the most part it’s not true anyway (yeah, I said it).

Let’s go back a bit to my previous post on the subject. I mentioned this thing about social media and the question that was asked about people locally. No one mentioned my name, yet I just did that workshop. What’s funny is that two days before, I went on Twitter and said I knew everyone already knew about it, but I just wanted to put it out there one more time. Two people actually wrote me to say they didn’t know I was doing it. I mean, I posted it every day at least once a day, mixed up the times, and wrote 4 blog posts about it, and still people didn’t know? And, to be truthful, not a single person I talk to locally on Twitter came, or said they were coming. Influential; I think not.

Last year when I did the webinar on social media and SEO, the product of which is sitting there at the top left, I actually had a little bit of influence, as a couple of people paid to sit in on that conversation. One I drove there because of this blog, the other because of email. Renée drove people because of her association with the Liverpool Chamber. Neither of us drove tons, but we got enough people there to make putting the event on worthwhile.

This leads us to the next part of my question, which is how do we use influence? For me, I’m looking to use my influence to get people to sign up for my workshop, at least locally. Online, I’m looking to drive people to buy or at least look at the few products I’ve created so far.

I’m also trying to use my influence to drive traffic to my blogs and some of my websites; after all, what I really want to do is to continue growing my influence as much as I can for my ultimate goal as a professional presenter, traveling the country talking to people about a host of things. I actually love doing that; standing in front of people is a rush that I know a lot of folks hate. For me, getting paid, and paid well, to talk to people would be just great.

So, I need to increase my influence so I can use it when I get there. And how am I going to do that? Well, I’m not quite sure, but I have a plan. I’ll talk about that next time.

7 thoughts on “What Is Influence?”

  1. My thought about influencing people is that sometimes, well often really, one actually is influencing them, but not in the timeframe one wants. Why? Because life beyond that moment has a habit of getting in the way, things occur that interupt someone’s intentions to do the thing that the influence would otherwise have led to.

    I suppose, if people felt so strongly about something that it put everything else in their lives aside, displaced them, if you will – then you could say the influence itself is strong. But how to do that? Only, surely, by getting people to believe that what you want them to do will enrich their lives for the better.

    I want to ask you a question, Mitch – somewhat away from this topic and somewhat to do with it. When you’re older and retired (all assume you ever do retire!) what do you think will be fulfilling to you then – apart from the memories and knowledge of what you’ve achieved? I’m talking about what you’ll want to do in the present time of that future time, if that makes any sense.

    1. Interesting question, Val. I don’t see myself retiring, and truthfully, I think my entire future depends on what I can achieve in the next 5 years; that’s about as long as I feel I can legitimately make a major impact on my life and income. I will be fulfilled when I don’t have to worry about whether I have money to pay bills, have money to decide if I want to eat out of not, have money if I decide I’m taking a two day trip to wherever… Or whether I just want to stay home and watch TV all day, knowing that I have the freedom to do it because my life isn’t dependent on me working 18 hours a day. And if I can help to make anyone else’s life better along the way (I’m sure my wife would love it), then it’s all good. I tend to believe that we can all be wealthy and happy and have whatever we want, but it does take work and it takes breaks and, yes, it takes influence of some fashion, because no one ever got anything on their own. Yeah, people say they did, but without customers and clients and cohorts they wouldn’t have gotten a thing.

      But I hope I’m not satisfied with anything until I’m 90, if I make it there. 🙂

  2. It has been said, “No man is an island.” We should never underestimate the impact that we have on others. Never under estimate yourself Mitch. You may not know just how much of an influence you are. Trust me on this one.

    1. Thanks Rose, but I’m talking about influence as it helps me in my career and money making ventures, so to speak. I have found that people listen to me and when they do things I recommend they work out pretty well most of the time. But it seems the best stuff I give away for free, which means people value what I have to say as long as they don’t have to pay for it. I need some people to pay for it here and there; helps to pay bills. 😉

      1. Mitch I admin two communities. I understand 100 % about people wanting things for free.

  3. LOL-everyone wants the free stuff, for sure!

    And everyone needs others to help “make it happen”.

    You know, I’m kind of the shy type, but standing in front of others talking doesn’t bother me a bit…..I can see why you love it.

    1. It’s kind of a rush, isn’t it Carolee? Having people watching you and expecting something and then seeing if you can give it to them… there’s little scarier than that, yet I love it.

Comments are closed.