How Influential Are You?
Have you stopped lately to think about what level of influence you have on people? To put it another way; do people listen to you and respect your opinion? This is especially important on your job, whether you are rank-and-file, or in management. People follow leaders, whether they hold a title on their job or not. If you are not able to persuade people, and win them over to your way of thinking, you may be relegated to the lower rungs of society.
Every day we are presented with opportunities to influence others. It may come in the form of a law enforcement officer ready to issue you a ticket, or your boss challenging parts of your presentation, or when you have to return a pair of shoes to the department store without a receipt. How you handle these everyday challenges, in turn, help or hurt your ability to shine in high profile situations, where your persuasive skills are on display for all to see.
Your Most Powerful Tool
Do you want to know the most powerful tool you have at your disposal when it comes to influencing people? I learned and perfected this strategy over a 4 year period, while working as a contracts negotiator for the Department of Defense. I must have learned my lesson well, because I was named one of the top negotiators in my area, and received the coveted sustained superior performance award for high level achievements.
This tool is so powerful, most people (on all levels of organizations) completely miss it, yet it has been proven to be extremely effective in studies after studies. What is it you ask? It is the “psychology of a smile.” That’s right; a smile. Why is it so powerful? Because it has no language barriers-none. I have tested this theory all around the world. No matter where I travel, every single person, in every language understands its message. A smile is the universal language of winners. The reason I call it a tool is because, like any tool it works in the right situation.
It was President Abraham Lincoln who said that a man is ultimately responsible for the condition of his face. How true this is. So the next time you are tempted to use the tool of anger during one of your daily challenges, try employing a simple smile instead, and see if the results are different. I have used it on flights across the country, and witnessed flight attendance be more attentive to me v. others. I have used it when I really should have gotten a ticket for speeding, only to get a warning to slow down. I have used it at restaurants and watched servers be just a little kinder to me and my party, over all others. I have watched frowns turn to smiles, simple because I took the time to smile.
The Smile Strategy
Don’t dismiss this as some flaky strategy used by flakes and geeks. The “smile strategy” has been used effectively by such greats as Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Oprah Winfrey, Melinda Gates, Nelson Mandela, Richard Bronson, Warren Buffet, Barak Obama, Napoleon Hill, Angela Merkel, Michelle Obama, Laurene Powell Jobs, and so many more.
Do you want to become a powerful influence on people? Then start with a smile. Watch stunningly successful people (even in your immediate circles) and you’ll see that they have a tendency to smile more than others. Frank Irving Fletcher wrote that; a smile cost nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
One of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal when it comes to influencing people is simply to smile.. A smile is the universal language of winners.
© 2014 Cubie Davis King. All rights reserved. Unlawful to duplicate or use in any way with the express written permission of the author.