Entrepreneurs: How to Move From Obscure to Influential

1. Connect with people

Influence and relationships go hand in hand. The first thing you have to do is connect with people on an emotional level.

There’s a difference between interacting with people and truly connecting with them. Influencers are able to do the latter. Instead of just having conversations with people or smiling when you pass someone in the hallway, make a commitment to engage those around you in conversation.

One really good way to do this is by asking open-ended questions that get people talking about themselves. People love to talk about themselves, and your genuine interest in their responses makes them feel special and builds trust that can then be leveraged later when you want to impart influence.

2. Make people remember you

What are you doing to make people remember you? People of influence don’t just engage people in the moment – they also continue to have an impact on people when they aren’t together. There are lots of things you can do to make people remember you, but here are a few simple examples:

  • Try sending unique gifts – from a site like Gadget Flow or Etsy – to individuals in your professional network whenever they achieve big accomplishments. As a result, they’ll naturally start to associate you with their successes.

  • Make it a point to tell stories when you meet people for the first time. Even if someone forgets your name, they’ll remember the story you told them the next time you interact.

  • Make people feel good. According to a study performed at the MIT Media Lab, people don’t typically remember what an individual looks like or says as much as the way they made them feel.

Influence is built on the foundation of many different interactions. If you want your interactions to mean something, set yourself up for success by helping people remember who you are.

3. Add value to relationships

When we think about influence, we naturally think about imparting wisdom and ideals, but there’s more to it than that. You have to add tangible value to your relationships before ever expecting people to listen to you.

Depending on what your skillset is, adding value might look like offering a service, coaching someone through a situation or simply helping out in a time of need (even if it’s unrelated to business). When people perceive you as valuable in their life, your influence will skyrocket.

4. Be confident in your beliefs

Influential people are confident in who they are and aren’t easily swayed by emotions. Even if other people are telling you that you’re wrong or that what you’re doing/saying isn’t going to work, you have to stick to your guns.

Find an influential person in any industry, and you’ll see someone who is confident in what they believe. Sure, their beliefs may evolve over time, but they aren’t jumping back and forth just because the wind blew in another direction for a few minutes.

5. Attach your name to content

In today’s world, influence doesn’t just happen in person. There’s a large degree of it that happens online. If you really want to be an influential person, you have to become a content creator in some form or fashion.

With social media and blogging, it’s never been easier to carve out a platform online and become an influencer. Try guest blogging on popular websites or building a following on Twitter or Instagram. The more people see your name online, the more they’ll come to trust you and recognize you when you have something important to say in the future.

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