Circle of Influence: Relationships, Persuasion and Success

circle of influenceThe world is full of concerns. On any given day we can find ourselves worrying about our home, our family, our bills, the people suffering from a natural disaster, our time, the story we just heard on the news, what our water bill is going to look like this month, a gift we need to mail, and on and on. These concerns – no matter where they land on our spectrum of priorities, can be lumped together as our “circle of concerns”. At the center of this larger circle is our smaller circle of influence. Our circle of influence consists of what we are actually able to change like the people we actually have contact with, and the areas of life we actually have some influence over either directly or indirectly. This circle of influence is important to the quality of life we lead and the relationships we build for personal and professional success. You can employ scientifically proven ways to increase your level of influence in order to increase your enjoyment of life and the success of your business.

Our circle of influence is made up of the people that are closest to us and the ones with whom our decisions are connected. These people are the ones that contribute to our overall success and happiness and vice versa.  It is important that we learn how to best use our abilities in communicating to influence, persuade and connect with those in this circle as they will contribute to our sense of well-being, our potential, and be the ones that we seek support and connection from.

Influence and Persuasion

We cannot talk about our circle of influence without talking about persuasion. After all, if you are seeking those that you can influence and looking to those that influence you for ideas and answers, persuasion is probably part of the conversation. Sometimes, persuasion has a negative tone associated with it and it is assumed that persuasion means manipulation or conversation with a hidden agenda. That is not the case! Persuasion is an important communication technique that helps you stay mindful of the needs and desires of those you are communicating with – those that are in your circle of influence – and helps you respond to those needs and desires in a way that is understood and leads to open consideration of what you have to offer. Instead of thinking of persuasion as communication that is competitive or that there will be a winner and a loser in a persuasive conversation, it is important to begin to understand persuasion as a cooperative approach to problem solving and decision making.  This will lead to a strong, healthy, and mutually beneficial circle of influence.

For example, if you have a product or service that someone in your circle of influence would benefit from, you can use skills of effective persuasion to tell them about your product or service and help them as well as increase your sales and the strength of your business.

Beyond sales, your ability to use persuasion will help you achieve important career goals, and move others say yes to the requests you have on a personal or professional level. By setting a career goal to understand how powerful persuasion can help you reach your goals, you are setting yourself up for success in business and the business relationships that will help launch you into greater fulfillment. The tools of persuasive speech will help you communicate arguments in a way that they are heard by the people most important to your success.  It is sometimes assumed that the only person who has influence is the one in authority and others are just destined to be along for the ride of whatever he or she decides, especially in a business context. However, the structure of business is changing as teams are more widespread, organizational structures are flatter and globalization is changing the way we communicate. It is important to find ways to share your voice and ideas in any situation, regardless of the level of authority you feel you have.

Technology and globalization are also changing who we have access to and how many people can be influenced by our thoughts and business decisions.  The more we know about communication, persuasion and influence, the better chance we have at succeeding in life and in the marketplace and the better chance we have of connecting with people on the deepest level, therefore, ensuring that our circle of influence works in our favor.

The Virtual Society

The changing look of business means more challenges as well as more opportunities in our technology-based society.  Today’s entrepreneurs and business people must understand the width of their circle of influence. Most business people today have a circle of influence that spans geographic locations and media platforms. No longer are businesses or teams confined to one office or made up of people all working from the same location at the same time. For many people, their circle of influence in business includes people across the globe and maybe even those they have never met face to face. Teams are still employed to work on projects, but they are increasingly virtual in nature- connected through technology instead of proximity.  These virtual teams mean an increased pool of people that can be brought in to fill a specific role.  Business owners can now find the right individual for their project needs no matter where they live because they can be connected through the internet, emails, telecommuting and other virtual platforms. However, some new challenges arise when our circle of influence is no longer able to meet around a conference table or discuss goals and issues face to face. Communication challenges, developing trust and accountability are all major concerns with virtual teams.

You can adapt to this new model of business and learn to manage and influence a virtual team in order to establish healthy income flow, meet sales goals and quotas and improve revenue. It is likely that if you are not working with a virtual team already you will be in the next five years, so understanding persuasion and communication to help establish an effective circle of influence and manage a team well is an important step in your business and personal development.

Circle of Influence and Social Media

Along with increasing your understanding of how to work in virtual teams, it is important to understand and use social media effectively to support your goals, communicate across distance, and connect with those that are good for your short and long-term success. Social media has changed the way we communicate with each other forever.  Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and more are changing the way people connect with businesses and how they understand their personal relationships. Within seconds one can log on, search for, see and make a judgment about an individual or business that they are thinking of connecting with.

Social media can either be a distraction that takes up our time and our profiles filled with people that we never fully connected with or it can be an effective platform for increasing our circle of influence and a catalyst to genuinely establishing a personal or business relationship that will lead to mutual success.  If you are mindful of this reality, you can use social media as a tool to increase and strengthen your circle of influence. Not to mention, the benefits of connecting with like-minded people or those that are in need of your ideas or projects can increase your quality of life and your overall product sales.

By taking the time to look at the people that you are connected to, you can establish a healthy view of what your circle of influence looks like. This circle makes up the areas of life that you can control and is key to your long-term happiness and success. You can master your ability to influence your team and be on your way to higher levels of efficiency and profitability as well as greater relational success and overall life satisfaction by connecting deeply within your circle of influence. Understanding the difference between your circle of influence and your larger, but not as easily influenced, circle of concerns will help you manage your relationships and build stronger connections overtime.  Understanding this difference will also help you shed the frustrations and anxiety that come with some of the concerns that you have no control over.