Want to make people like you genuinely? Do you want to inspire positive change in others? The key is to learn the art of influencing people positively.
In this quick post, I share simple but effective ways to influence positively, especially with regard to your closest friends and family.
But whether you want to strengthen your connections with those in your life or have a hard time making new friends and getting people to like you, the tips in this article can help you.
Let’s dive right in.
What Does It Mean to Influence Positively?
Before we go any further, let’s set something straight right off the bat: this article is not about being a people-pleaser, nor is it about tricking people into liking you.
Getting your family and friends to enjoy being around you or turn to you for support doesn’t translate into working your way into their good books by all means. You don’t have to set aside your core values and personal principles to be likable.
If anything, being a positive influence on others means genuinely connecting with them and rubbing off on them in a good way.
When you influence people positively, you don’t use underhanded tactics to get them to do what you want. Instead, you find ways to support, inspire, and empower them.
At first blush, it might appear that to influence people is to be self-centered, to manipulate or exploit others. But that’s not what this article is about.
My aim with this post? To show you ways to be of more service to those in your life. And by creating a lasting positive impact on them, you get to benefit from them too. After all, iron sharpens iron, right?
To drive the point home, here’s what I mean by influencing others positively:
- You help others believe in themselves, especially when they are down and out.
- You encourage people to pursue self-improvement and meaningful goals.
- Your words and actions inspire optimism in those around you.
- You are an example of resilience, hope, and faith.
- Through your behavior, others learn firsthand what being empathic, kind, and compassionate means.
- You demonstrate contribution to the community by giving your time and resources for the greater good of all.
As you probably figured, “fake it till you make it” won’t cut it here. Positively influencing people is giving your energy, time, and positive attributes. And as you already know, you simply can’t give what you don’t have.
What’s your first course of action if you want to positively influence others? Start by working on yourself to cultivate helpful habits.
Now that we’re clear on what I mean by influencing others positively or getting others to want to be around you, let’s see how to positively impact those in your life.
6 Ways to Influence Positively
1. Pay Attention to People
We all want to be heard and understood because it creates a sense of social connection, which ties back to our inherent need for belongingness. This explains why we tend to gravitate toward those who meet that need ― people who hear us out, give us their rapt attention when we express ourselves, and don’t interrupt us when we share our thoughts and feelings.
Indeed, words are necessary to influence others, but in some situations, actively listening is a more effective way to connect with people on a deeper level.
Here are two key ways to show you’re paying attention when a friend or family shares their fears, hopes, or concerns:
- Listen attentively without cutting them off midway. Don’t try to formulate a response in your head when they speak. Instead, put yourself in their shoes and try to feel what they feel. Feel their emotions.
- Avoid checking your phone or doing something else during important conversations. Look people deep in the eye (don’t stare, though; that’d be considered rude), use facial gestures that say, “I’m all ears,” and repeat or paraphrase their last sentence when it’s time to respond.
Truth is, getting others to open up to you can be tricky, but paying attention to them when they share things they consider important with you, deepens your connection and makes it easier to engage them emotionally and be more open to your persuasive techniques.
2. Take a Genuine Interest in the People in Your Life
Trying to get people interested in you (because you want to influence them positively) is putting the cart before the horse.
A more productive approach is to become genuinely interested in others first. When your words and actions demonstrate a genuine interest in people, chances are they will also show an interest in you.
Why is that?
One word: reciprocity! Humans generally feel indebted to return favors, which is why we tend to like those who like us.
To influence positively and show genuine interest in people’s well-being, keep these tips in mind:
- Be there for family and friends when they need you (lend a helping hand or offer guidance as best as you can).
- Remember the details they share with you and ask follow-up questions about previous conversations to know their progress.
- Find out what others are interested in and have meaningful conversations around their goals, passions, hopes, and dreams.
3. Avoid Making Others Feel Attacked
Complaining about a family or friend or criticizing something they’ve done may seem like providing negative feedback. But to the person being criticized, it feels like a personal attack.
And guess what happens when a family or friend feels attacked? They will most likely avoid you or even attack back.
In other words, avoid criticism and unnecessary arguments as much as possible because they’re sure to work against you.
Instead of complaining about your friend’s behavior, try to walk a mile in their shoes. Empathize with them, try to see things from their point of view, and don’t forget to factor in their circumstances.
Sometimes, empathy is all it takes to win people and get them to see things from your perspective.
4. Make People Feel Important
Remember the first tip on how to impact others’ positively? Actually, giving someone your full attention is part of making them feel important and appreciated.
If you make your family and friends feel important, chances are they will want to connect more with you and your positive emotions.
How exactly can you make those in your life feel important and have a positive influence? Consider these tips:
- Praise their efforts and do so sincerely, especially when they put their hearts and soul into a task.
- Genuinely compliment their confidence, skills, talents, personal qualities, and accomplishments. When complimenting appearance, be mindful to focus more on personal style than body-related compliments.
- Say “thank you” and mean it when they do something easy to take for granted.
- Ask for their suggestions or ideas to show that you value them and that their input is important to you.
- Point out their positive qualities, especially when they second-guess their abilities.
5. Find Out How You Can Be of Value to Others
Influencing people is a lot easier if you figure out what they want to achieve and actually help them accomplish it.
Okay, this doesn’t mean you should abandon your dreams and aspirations just to help others. Instead, it means finding ways to arouse their passion and then putting yourself in the position to nudge them toward their goals.
You also want to try your best to be a shoulder for the closest people in your life to lean on. Of course, this means being non-judgmental and making people feel safe to share their feelings.
It also means respecting people’s experiences and struggles and keeping the information they share with you private.
One quick caveat, though.
To influence positively is not the same as solving problems at every chance you get, so don’t be in a hurry to “fix” people. Avoid giving people unsolicited advice only unless they request it.
6. Be True to Yourself
While it is okay to put your best foot forward, it is equally important to be your authentic self in your quest to influence positively and have a positive outlook.
Let me restate this again: forget the “fake it till you make it” ideology when it comes to impacting others in a good way. In most cases, people can sense when you’re merely going through the motions and not being sincere. This is especially true with those closest to you.
Act with integrity ― be your true self wherever you are: at home, work, or hanging out with your best buddies.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
The best way to influence others in a positive way and have more positive energy is to discover your uniqueness and stay true to your core values. This way, you honor your values without putting on a façade when dealing with others.