Influence: A Secret Ingredient for Business Success

Influence: A Secret Ingredient for Business Success

September 3, 2013

Allison Beadle, MS, RD, LD

Editor, RDBA Weekly


What is influence?

Webster’s dictionary defines influence as “the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command” also “the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways.”

Whether you realize it or not, influencing others is part of your job.  It’s critically important to driving support for initiatives, inspiring others to work hard, or persuading others to get on board with your point of view.  The question is, are you a good influencer?

This is something we don’t often think about, but being an effective influencer is critical to your short and long term success. And believe me, influencing is an art.  It’s not something you learn overnight. There’s no formula. In fact, there are as many ways to influence as there are individuals. 

Here are four key attributes that determine your ability to effectively influence others:

  • Who You Are.  Influence begins with who you are.  Your ability to influence is directly related to your character—people listen to and follow those who act with integrity.  Know who you are and be honest with your strengths and weaknesses. And by all means, you must always be authentic. 
  • How Your Treat Others.  Be very cognizant of how you treat others.  The Golden Rule holds true when it comes to influence.  People want to be heard, understood, and appreciated.  So always endeavor to listen, acknowledge, and express gratitude. 
  • What You’ve Accomplished.  Actions certainly speak louder than words, when it comes to influence.  In order to be influential, you have to have a track record of results.  You can talk a big talk but if you can’t get things done, your ability to influence dwindles considerably.
  • How You Sell Your Ideas.  And here’s where good presentation skills come in handy.  Your ability to influence others and convince them that you’ve got the right idea is very much dependent on your ability to effectively get your point across in a compelling way. 

For retail dietitians, it’s very important that you give considerable thought to your ability to influence others.  It’s an art to that must be taken seriously and a skill that must be honed over time.  In the long run, you’ll appreciate the returns for having invested the time and energy to become a better influencer—you’ll have more cohesive teams, more impactful initiatives, and ultimately, a more successful career.