If you want to build your influence the first step is always to start to speak out and get visible – because without that no one will ever know about you and your ideas.
And when you are consistently visible, repeatedly sharing the same core message reminds people you are there and helps them realise that you mean what you say and you believe in it.
So consistent visibility is the first step to growing your influence. But what happens next?
How could you increase your influence more quickly, more effectively And more efficiently?
This week at the conference I was attending I saw a speaker whose influence has grown significantly since I first met her, so I thought I’d use my observations of her journey as inspiration.
3 years ago this speaker was in the early stages of her journey.
She’d seen an area she was passionate about, but other than passion and ideas, she didn’t have the credibility and expertise to make it happen. People were interested in what she was sharing, but they weren’t ready to jump in and get involved.
Fast forward to this year and she now has:
- people on her team who complement her own knowledge
- partners and test cases who are known in the industry
- her own company with investment.
As one of the key speakers in the plenary session at the conference, she put together a compelling case, and her ideas not only reached several hundred people but also felt credible and concrete.
She has gone from being visible and having conversations about her ideas to being someone people go to when they need advice and support in this area.
She is not just visible, she has influence.
What are the elements that have helped her make this transition?
These are the things I observed:
- from the start, she was willing to share her ideas and have conversations about them – listening to feedback and taking it onboard. When people feel listened to, they are more likely to keep on engaging with you. This doesn’t mean she did everything they said, it meant she took the time out to understand and consider their perspective when implementing her ideas.
- she recognised the gaps in her knowledge to deliver on her idea and:
- she invested time in increasing her own expertise by getting training in the elements that aligned with her strengths and interests.
- she recruited other team members to join her who complemented her abilities, bringing more experience and increasing the project’s credibility.
- she developed partnerships with potential customers/ users who are well respected by others in the community, providing her with test cases and recommendations.
- she’s continuously building on the connections she has formed through her growing network as a platform to continue to be visible, share the results and start new conversations.
All of these things have been enough for her to secure investment (which also came through conversations), reinforcing her credibility even more, and allowing her to invest more of her energy and time into the project.
It’s really important to recognise that this didn’t happen all at once. Those early conversations unlocked ideas and built connections, which allowed her influence and credibility to expand and grow. Because she recognised that she couldn’t do it alone, it created the space for others to get involved and for collaborations to form, opening up new opportunities.
But there’s one thing I want to come back to, and that’s that even though she doesn’t know everything, and openly admits that she’s not an expert, it has been her passion, belief and energy and willingness to keep on showing up that made this project happen.
I’ve worked with individuals who lead large and small projects as well as with entrepreneurs and founders, all with ideas that they were passionate about. I’ve also worked with individuals wanting to build their influence in their organisation.
The individuals that have been most successful in building their influence have all done it through connections and collaborations, increasing their credibility one conversation at a time.
Get out there, talk to people about your ideas and the things you are passionate about, and let your influence grow – and look out for opportunities to collaborate, especially those that have the potential to increase your credibility.
In the areas that you’d like to be more visible, who could help you to increase your credibility?
- how could you make them aware of you, your capabilities and your ideas?
- what would they need to know to engage with and support you?
Take the first step, reach out to them, have a conversation and watch your influence grow.
If you’d like support on how to approach these people this is covered on days 2, 4 and 5 of my visibility challenge which you can now work through at any time online at emmacowling.com/visibilitychallenge.
If you’d like some one-to-one support to increase your visibility, book a one-hour Visibility Profiling Session and let’s get started!
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