How to be influential within your existing friends
Not everyone wants to Gamify their lives, but almost everyone wants to be influential and respected among their friends and peers.
However, the majority of the people do not become that, mostly because they are so comfortable with their existing social statuses in their groups that they don’t know how to change that.
Here are some guidelines to help you become more influential within your circle. Your circle could mean anything from your small group of friends, your class, your department, or your entire organization.
1. Become the Best
This is the most straight forward but most difficult way to become influential. It simply means being the best at whatever your group is doing. In fact, most respectable and influential individuals from a group are the ones that have mastered their skill sets the most, whether it be basketball, sales, programming, Gamification or just video games such as Diablo 3.
The way to do this is simply match talent with hard work and become the best. Nothing fancy. Interestingly enough, a lot of people who become extremely successful later on in life still highly respect their childhood friends who were remarkable in a game they played, even if the childhood friends are not very successful themselves.
One key to note is that the activity you excel at must be shared by all the people in your circle. If you are the best at chess in a chess club, you will be respected as everyone is doing it. But if you are best at sales but your circle does operations and finance, then it wouldn’t have the same effect. Finally, conduct yourself in a manner that minimizes jealously (elaborated in another post).
2. Become Useful
If you don’t have the ability to become the best at what you do (by definition the majority of the people), another way is to become useful. This means that you are always there to help everyone out, and always have the right resources handy when it’s needed.
This is much easier to accomplished because you do not need to be the most talented at something. You just need to be the most prepared and most available out of all. If you are the one that brings something when no one else thought it would come in handy, or you remembered a piece of information that suddenly was needed, people will start to trust you. Eventually, as you are there for everyone and people start to rely on you more and more, you start to gain in respect and influence.
One key to note is that you want to make sure you don’t do it in a manner that suggests people can simply take advantage of you. You want to make sure you maintain a strong core and are only helping because you want to help instead of being trample upon. Learn how to occasionally say no to show you have a backbone.
3. Become Audacious
This is something interesting, but people usually respect others who can overcome their own fears. Most fears are not encountered on a regular social basis, but stepping out of the norm, being an uncomformist, and approaching new people in public is something that most people are uncomfortable with.
If you are always taking initiative in contacting people, organizing events/hangouts, talking to strangers on the group’s behalf, you usually earn a lot of respect from the group. It’s a strange social energy that displays that you are confident and know what you are doing. Sometimes this translates to charisma, which can be obtained without really being good at anything else besides being audacious.
Again, how you do this is essential. You need to do this in a very positive and sociable light. Anything else can make you seem weird, obnoxious, or creepy. Just like hitting on girls, there’s only a thin line between being smooth and sleazy.
4. Become a Maven
Another way to develop influence in your circle is to be the trusted advisor of this group. This means that even though you might not be the best at what you do, you are the most knowledgeable in the field and have a passion in sharing your knowledge.
To be a maven, you do need to be passionate about the topic and are constantly updated on the latest news and developments on that topic. You need to know a large amount of relevant information, its sources, and how it is comparable to similar things within the topic. Once you have that established, even the top performer will come to you for the best and updated information. Now you are respected like a coach, or Yoda.
5. Become a Connector
Finally, the fifth way of becoming more influential in your circle is to become a connector. This is probably the easiest as you don’t need to have any skills of your own, but simply the enjoyment of making new friends and helping them out with your existing friends.
Whenever someone in your circle has a need, you know the friend who can solve the need, and you make a connection. The first helped person now owes you a little favor. You can then use this favor to help someone else, and that someone else also owes you a little favor. As time goes by, everyone will owe you a little favor and you have become very influential as your network grows. People then need to maintain a good relationship with you because you are their window to all the resources out there in the world.
If you have seen the movie, you’ll notice that the Godfather actually is not the best at any skill, he isn’t necessarily “useful” or a maven, he is not more audacious than many others, but he is a connector that everyone needs to depend on. His influence comes from his network and how he is able to leverage that for himself and his friends.
Summary: Be Remarkable, Provide Value, and Be Proactive.
Everyone has a different style, and not every principle above fits you. If you do all of them, you are bound to be extremely influential in whatever circle you are in (charismatic and confident leader who is the best at what he does, shares tons of knowledge, there when people need him, and connects people to tons of others), but depending on who you are, sometimes you just need to do one and you will become more respected and influential amongst your peers. Most of them are not impossible to accomplish. It just takes a little heart and a little action. Always try to Be Remarkable, Provide Value, and Be Proactive.