Writer and founder of my8dayweek
“What’s the definition of influence?”
Here’s a reasonable dictionary definition:
The power or capacity of causing an effect direct or indirect – in intangible ways.
I would add: “It’s a force, something unseen, but very, very powerful.”
Influence can be direct and indirect.
On purpose and intentional.
Or show up, “so happen.”
From the moment you wake up, there are many things that call for your attention.
Random thoughts of all the things to do today, reminders, the kettle boiling, the neighbours fixing their fence, the mobile ringing, the baby crying… it seems, everything is calling for our attention. All, somewhat at the same time.
Some of these (distractions) will cause you to change a belief, an opinion or behaviour, and others you will do out of habit, instinctively (for example: ignore the private call on your mobile, Who calls with no number these days, anyway?).
You might think or reason, or form an opinion out of your value system, barely flinching in the process, as you opt for one thing over another. Or perhaps troubleshoot an annoying problem that’s smack-bang-right-in-your-face. Some things, you can procrastinate and others, are immediate must-dos, calling for our attention right away! Pronto!
You might be swayed as you open up your mind to new possibilities. Distracted, perhaps. Drawn to the next shiny object, multi-tasking, or focused and fully immersed in the task right in front of you.
Either way, your internal dialogue should be reminding you: You got this.
This magnetic force called influence is what we will unpack here. The aim? To be more aware of how you are processing your thoughts, and do your due diligence, in the mili-second that you have, with an answer – yes, no, maybe, no need or I’ll deal with it later.
Awareness about influence is perhaps your golden ticket to getting more done, with less stress and overwhelm!
Park that thought, let’s chat about…
How “influence” actually works
We’ve found that influencing tactics fall into 3 categories: logical, emotional, or cooperative appeals.
We call these influencing people using 3 H words – the head, heart, or hands.
Logical appeals tap into people’s rational and intellectual positions. You may present an argument for the best choice of action based on your team’s benefits, personal benefits, or both, all to do with appealing to people’s minds.
It is about being persuasive, holding an opinion and steering the conversation in terms of your core beliefs and convictions – with logic, a bit of debating and, with facts, figures, statistics, backed by research… with the Smarty Pants approach, the intellectual talk, the Current Affairs approach…
Do you notice yourself doing that approach much or often? Or are others messing with your head? It can be draining when people belittle you, criticise you or patronise you.
And, on the flip side, there will be others, you just lurve hanging out with – who build you up, encourage you to get things in order, and give you a safe space to be yourself and to dream big and bold.
Next up, is the…
Emotional Appeals (Heart)
Emotional appeals connect your message, goal, or project to individual goals and values.
An idea that promotes a person’s feelings of being heard – their wellbeing, providing service, or perhaps a sense of belonging, which tugs at the heartstrings, and has a good chance of gaining support.
Today, find it within yourself to dispel all the lies you have been told about who you are and what worth you have in this world. You are better than that. Break the words that have hurt you and that have no place in this season of your life.
You have worth. You have a bright future. And don’t let what you have been through be a stumbling block for what you have within you, for this present day and moment.
No one should ‘wear’ silly labels that do not serve them, or made to feel belittled or disempowered. It’s time to be a change agent. And call out the lies. You are in charge of writing this new Chapter.
Remember that: Each and every one of us is born with unique fingerprints, unique characteristics, personality quirks and traits.
Where do you feel a sense of belonging? And with whom?
How do you serve others? In what way are you being a person of encouragement?
Emotional appeals are heart-to-heart, oozing with feelings, compassion and empathy.
It’s sweet and endearing. Kind and loving. Giving, without expecting in return.
Investing of time and energy. Wisdom. And life experience.
And the third H is…
Cooperative Appeals (Hands or Hands-on)
Cooperative appeals involve collaboration with others.
What will you do together?
What ideas do other people have?
Who already supports you or has the credibility you need?
Who can back your plan or project?
Working together to accomplish a mutually important goal extends a hand to others is an extremely effective way of influencing. And making magical things just happen.
It can be in the form of collaboration or partnership. Joining hands to get things done.
After all, I’m sure you have heard of the saying:
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Many hands, make things happen faster than a one-person team. The same goes in business, being a Solo Entrepreneur is hard work, Superwomen can’t fly every day, it’s too exhausting!
Even the power of two people coming together in agreement is powerful.
Example: Could be Besties working on a project together or a married couple brainstorming and planning, creating something together; both are better than just a one-person team. With ideas to bounce off, discuss, unpack and refine.
No doubt, when more and more people come together, more can be achieved, as each person brings their strengths and adds to the talent pool.
The key here: they agree on a goal or goals, and everyone is on the same page – no bickering, no big disagreements, no divisions, no toxic energy. Or let’s say very, very little of it. Truly, it’s hard to perfect this, but the aim is to avoid it, fix it, and deal with it as best as possible. Don’t let it run away with the Dream Plan and Dream Vision.
I really enjoy seeing people magnify their strengths and showcase what they are good at. When these efforts are combined, there’s so much positive energy and warm fuzzy vibes, it’s actually electrifying.
All in all, Influence is synonymous with leadership. It is needed to make the last H word work, the Hands or Hands-on approach.
Here, are a few questions to journal about:
How do you influence others?
Do you consider yourself to be a leader or a follower?
How can you increase your influence? What can you do better?
Influence in Action
I have seen this happen on numerous occasions.
One of them being, at my wedding. Bonnie did my beautiful flower arrangements, Andrew and his crew from Evertale Films (did the photography with Jave @javeleephotography) and even live-streamed our wedding ceremony, Elysian (@elysiancakeco) created a gorgeous cake and so on. There was so much talent represented, an amazing collaboration of creativity, commitment and professionalism.
Each person contributed their time, energy and showcased their speciality – it truly was a talent pool. A real live example of X Factor and The Apprentice combined. With a project to accomplish, people rose to the occasion, shining in their brilliance!
Now, your turn to think about how influence plays out in your life:
- When was the last time someone or something challenged my way of thinking?
- When was the last time I had a conversation with someone I disagreed with and chose to listen to their point of view?
- When was the last time I read a book, watched a movie or saw a play that changed the way I look at the world?
- Are all of my close friends exactly like me? Same race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status?
Influence is a persuasive process.
It challenges us to do better, be better.
Some influence is direct and easy to pinpoint. While other influence happens subconsciously and is not necessarily, intentional. We all hold truths and we share our truths with others. All. The. Time.
It’s only when we unpack it, that it usually appears more direct and intentional. Just be aware we are influencing and being influenced every day and in many many ways. From flipping the magazine to scrolling Insta, watching the news, or tuning into a Podcast, you are exploring ideas, concepts, and new learning at warp speed, (knowingly and unknowingly)!
I invite you to put #PentoPaper with the questions from this Episode (Season 1, Episode 4). You can find them in our Show Notes.
Let’s break out of any unnecessary restrictions and instead opt to step into our future calling with boldness and clarity about what makes us unique. That is important and needs to be celebrated!
Whilst, on the other hand, understand what is our common denominator; our humanity, our values and our ability to influence with our Head, our Hearts and our Hands.
Let’s continue the convo, let me know in the comments:
“What resonates most about the 3 Hs and how can we be better people of influence…?”