How to Build Influence from the Ground Up

You may have heard the phrase “It isn’t what you know , it’s who you know” Personally I prefer a variation on this…  ‘It isn’t what you know, or just who you know, it’s also who knows you!” because broken down this refers to your knowledge, your network and your reputation.

But Influence is a broader topic than just those three things, it’s your ability to understand people and effectively communicate. For some it’s personal branding and creating content which positions you as a thought leader. 

The world continues to change at pace and relationships today span the globe. We are no longer restricted to the people we physically meet every day. Success depends on our connections with good, smart, and talented people.

So here are a few ideas for building your influence from the ground up over the coming year to attract more people to you and build your reputation.

Become a Student of People – There are a ton of psychometric tools out there which will help you better understand the behaviours of others, and more importantly yourself. When you take time to understand people and what motivates them, you can tailor your message for maximum impact and deliver in a style they are likely to be most receptive too.

Habituate Networking – Most people don’t prioritise networking at all. It’s an afterthought or borne out of necessity when work dries up. 

Instead start to create small habits, yes it takes a little discipline, but it yields great results. Habituate making new connections, keeping in touch with established connections, creating regular value add content & status updates that provoke engagement, new conversations & new opportunities. 

Demonstrate Expertise – It is not enough to know your stuff; people need to know you know your stuff! Essentially almost all business decisions are based on confidence, and the most effective way to establish confidence is to demonstrate your expertise. 

Think about how you can add value to your network and develop your thought leadership. Creating content through your website or blog, social networks is a good place to start, but also consider developing your authority through public speaking, video or even start you own podcast. 

Focus on Influencers – Credibility by association is the simple premise that we are known by the company we keep. Building relationships with other influencers and highly respected leaders, creates a perception that we too are important. 

Think about who already has great profile in your industry or niche and think about how you can develop a relationship with them.

Build Social Proof – A good reputation opens doors or attracts support, where as a bad one creates obstacles and causes those same doors to slam in your face. A good testimonial is 12 times more likely to be trusted over your own marketing materials, yet most people don’t invite them. 

In an age of due diligence, people are doing their research, so encourage your happiest customers to endorse you.

Share Your Values – One of the most satisfying things you can do in your personal and business life, is to live your values. Better still, we typically attract people to us who share these values with us. 

Think about how you can wear your values on your digital sleeve, weave them into your website copy and tell stories which show them off.

Contribute First – Add value to your network by being a connector, you will generate an enormous amount of good will. The more you understand your network and their wants & needs, the better positioned you are to help it. 

Every time you connect two people, your credibility increases in both of their eyes. 

Contribution also comes in the form of thought leadership by sharing your ideas and educating your audience. 

Wishing you a successful 2019.

Warren Cass is a professional speaker and best-selling author of ‘Influence – How to raise your profile, manage your reputation and get noticed’. He is also the Co-Founder of Achievers International who help people develop their thought leadership. Find out more at