12 Qualities of an Influential Person


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by Jayaram V

Summary: This essay is about the 12 exceptional qualities which influential people possess and how they influence others.

Influence is the ability or capacity to make an affect upon the thinking and actions of other people. At one-time, people thought influence was an ethereal or miraculous substance, which flowed from the stars and made people act in mysterious ways. Today, we know that not only people but also substances such as alcohol, commercial products, popular brands, organizations, ideas and ideologies can influence human behavior. Certain influences can last for a very long time. For example, we are still influenced by scriptures that were composed thousands of years ago.

Everyone has some influence, but it may not be sufficient to motivate others or realize one’s goals and dreams. In most cases a person’s influence may extend to his or her family and friends, or to certain groups and organizations, where he or she has a stake. If you are seeking success and fulfillment in life, you must try to extend your zone of influence or, in other words, become an influential person. Power is the ability to influence. The more power you have, the more impactful your influence will be. With more influence, you will have better control over your life and circumstances, as people respect your authority, words and decisions. They listen to you, pay you attention and even comply with your requests and expectations.

Many things contribute to influence. Money and status (social, political or economic) are two most important criteria. One may also influence other through deception or by using fear and coercion. Thus, many positive and negative factors contribute to a person’s influence. His ability to influence may also depend upon circumstances. Many people realize it when they lose power, position or money or when truth about them or their character becomes public.

However, what sustains a person’s influence in the end is his character, conduct and integrity and the impression he creates in others. Wealth may buy you influence, but wealth without character does not work in the long run. People may do the bidding of wealthy people to avoid confrontation but may not truly and willingly be influenced by them, unless they earn their respect. If you are aiming to increase your influence or become an influential person, the following information may help you. Influential people possess most of the following characteristics.

1. Character and integrity: A person may or may not have wealth, but if he has character and integrity, he has greater chances of influencing others. Influential people are humble and possess good character and integrity. Mahatma Gandhi was not a rich man, but he was more influential than the richest people of his time because he had character and integrity.

2. Knowledge and skills: People always respect those who possess knowledge in specific areas. Even politicians, businessmen and big corporations consult them in decision making. Therefore, if you want to have influence, you must have expertise or specialized knowledge in a field, which is in demand.

3. Ability to lead: Leadership and the ability to influence others go together. Good leaders are good at influencing and inspiring others. Their authority stems from their leadership skills. They know how to set the goals and lead by example, show courage, confidence and initiative, accept responsibility, or help others when they need it.

4. Likeability: It is not necessary that one has to be rich and powerful to influence others. One can do it by being likable. If you are likeable, people listen to you even if you have some faults and even if you do not hold a position of authority. It is why many people who do not hold any position of power, or who may occupy subordinate or secondary positions also succeed in influencing others and accomplishing their goals.

5. Friendly and sociable: If you are outgoing, easy to approach and communicate, willing to invest in friendships and relationships and prefer to build bridges of understanding and goodwill, you have better chances of leaving a positive impression of others and influence them.

6. Open-mindedness. If you want to influence others, you must be willing to keep an open mind and suspend your prejudices and preconceived notions. Close-minded people are choosy. Hence, they will have a very limited zone of influence. Open-minded people interact with many and thereby find more opportunities to make themselves heard.

7. Ability to inspire: Influential people have the ability to inspire and uplift people. They do it with their personal aura as well as intelligence. By appealing to their desires, fears, thinking and imagination and with a careful choice of words, body language, symbols and images, they invoke in them right feelings and emotions and elicit the desired response.

8. Optimistic: Truly influential people never lose hope in their ability to influence and inspire others. They keep exploring various alternatives, ways and means until they succeed. Without hope and positive expectations people easily give after a few feeble attempts, whereas influential people keep trying until they succeed.

9. Ability to communicate effectively: Influential people possess a good command over the language. They know which words to use in which situation to elicit right responses. They also know how to appeal to the minds and hearts of people with a careful selection of words and phrases.

10. Self-confidence: Influential people believe in themselves and their ability to impress and influence others. Therefore, they do not mind taking risks or showing initiative in performing actions or making things happen. With faith and confidence in their aims and abilities they inspire others to listen to them or follow their advice.

11. Readiness to appreciate: Influential people know the power of positive appreciation. Therefore, they do not cross others or hurt their feelings or dampen their spirits unless it is a part of the plan. Otherwise, they never leave an opportunity to admire and appreciate people and bring out the best in them.

12. Show gratitude: Influential people never forget the help they receive from others and miss no opportunity to remind themselves and others how grateful they are for the help they received from them. Wherever possible, they also reciprocate by returning the favor in some meaningful and substantial way. Thereby, they earn the good will of people and build a vast network of influence.

With these 12 characteristics you too can become an influential person and build your own zone of influence where you can influence people, and accomplish things according to your choice, vision and goals. You should also remember that your effort to influence others must be guided by noble intentions and not for selfish or destructive purposes. Hence, you should never lose sight of the importance of character and conduct or the virtues of humanity. Otherwise, you will end up becoming an influence peddler or a lobbyist, which will eventually lower your self-image in your own esteem and bring your misery and suffering.

Suggestions for Further Reading

Author Bio: Jayaram V is the Founder President of Hinduwebsite.com and author of 14 books including Think Success and Being the Best.

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