To be a true influencer, we have to walk the walk and talk the talk of professionalism every single day. People must trust what they hear us say and see us do in every interaction. Here are five fast tips to make sure you exude influence daily!
Tip #1: Be DiscreetBeing the person people can trust to keep a confidence enhances your credibility and trust factor. How you handle personal, company, and clients’ confidential information matters. Are you careful not only with what you might hear, but what you may be overheard saying? Distributing bits of information or gossip chips away at your image as an influencer and leads to tip number two.
Tip #2: Don't Make Noise"Noise" is when we react rather than act in the office setting (or anywhere, for that matter). If you have a complaint, finding the appropriate person to assertively tell helps maintain an ability to be authentic in sharing thoughts while sustaining an essence of professionalism. The alternative is voicing opposition to anyone and everyone, or to someone who cannot do anything about our concern. That does nothing but create unproductive noise, endangering productive processes as well as our image—which leads to the next tip.
Tip #3: Walk, Don't RunNo matter how busy you feel, it will jeopardize your professionalism to appear too frantic.
How would you look if the many competing events of the day made you physically run, not walk, from obligation to obligation? What message would you send if you found yourself racing around in an environment that is looking to you for confident professionalism?
There are a lot of ways you might find yourself "running" if you aren't careful. Talking too fast and too much is an equivalent to what we communicate when we run. Acting without first thinking calmly, giving others abrupt responses, finishing others' sentences, and physically appearing rushed all give the message that you have trouble coping or handling what is on your plate.
The next tip explores other ways to use body language to appear capable.
Tip #4: Take Up SpaceMost of us have been conditioned to minimize ourselves with posture, or to carry ourselves in a way that makes us comfortable. This works against us being seen as credible. Using and taking up space at the table with appropriate gestures and open posture enhances our visual imprint on others. This contributes to how professional we appear and what people will remember about us. This is a kindness we can do for our own image and reputation as an influencer—which can help us with the next tip.
Tip #5: Be KindIt is easy to be more focused on ourselves in any given situation than on others. Yet those who are perceived as influencers show up in the world in confident ways that allow them to focus more on others. They realize that respect is a demonstration of their values, and they can give it to everyone they meet. Even when someone is difficult, the professional acts out of respect rather than reacting out of fear, dislike, or aggressiveness.
Being kind allows us to be consummate professionals, and people notice our unwavering consistency. The consummate professional is kind to the flight attendant, the CEO, the hotel service person, the receptionist, the client, and the competitor. Level or status is irrelevant.
“Be kind” may be the last fast tip, but it is certainly not the least of considerations in making sure we are seen in every situation as the influencers we wish to be.
Deborah Rinner will be speaking at the ATD 2018 International Conference & Exposition on "The Art of Influencing Stakeholders," Monday, May 7, and on Wednesday, May 9. View the full program for more details.