Here are seven ways to enhance those talents:
1. Develop your critical decision-making skills. Decisiveness is not a trait we’re born with — it’s a skill that can be learned. Analyze your process of critical decision-making to spot weak links in your reasoning and to recognize unconscious biases for or against something or someone.
2. Learn to make a solid argument. To argue means to give reasons. It means defending and promoting your choices against the contrary arguments of equally adept influencers.
3. Become a storyteller. Storytelling has been a premier tool in influencing people across cultures and eras. Influencers tell stories for strategic purposes. From motivating people to act, to teaching, to reducing resistance and changing minds. A well-told narrative is a formidable force.
4. Hone your speaking skills. Like decision-making skills, speaking skills are in high demand. Do not shy away from speaking opportunities. Hone your message and delivery skill by repeatedly putting yourself in front of an audience. Summon the courage to speak and accept discomfort as a natural part of learning and growing. There’s no limit to where your influence can grow with this skill.
5. Have a basic understanding of current events. Influence is about shaping opinion, and embarrassing holes in everyday knowledge can significantly dampen your 360-degree influencing efforts. You can’t have an intelligent conversation with your peers and clients if you’re stumped when faced with everyday topics such as the economy, major politics, taxes, markets, unemployment, and so on.
6. Think like a leader. The most successful companies develop their high-potential leaders from within. Volunteering is an excellent start for leadership training, as is mentoring others and helping them achieve their goals. The number-one leadership rule to keep in mind: help others become successful! Your altruistic efforts are sure to influence decision-makers around you to pencil you in for a bigger job when the opportunity comes along.
7. Understand communication technology. It’s the 21st century, and even 5 year olds know about Twitter, Facebook and the latest multimedia platforms. Social media have secured a big foothold and they’re here to stay. If you don’t have an ongoing online dialogue with your customers or if you need a 19 year old to show you the ropes every time you log on to your website’s forum, you’re behind.