What is influence?

Dallas McMillan Influence

Influence is the ability to have an effect on people or things in your environment


1. the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.
“the influence of television violence”
synonyms: effect, impact; ….


1.have an influence on.
“feminist ideas have influenced the law-makers”
synonyms: affect, have an effect on, exert influence on;…

Influence is essential to effective communication and interactions.

Note influence is actually three things:

  • Firstly it’s the ability or capacity to effect change in others or in our environment.
  • Secondly it’s the act of  effecting change
  • Thirdly it’s the result or impact of this change

Whatever your work, effecting change and the capacity to effect change when needed are essential. You want to be able to create results, outcomes and change in the world.

For example you may want to lead or train a team to adopt a new behavior, or you may want your customers to take a certain action such as buying a product.

Even on a personal level, you want you kids to clean up their room, you want your friends to meet you to see a movie or you want your spouse to take a trip with you.

To a large degree influence is just effective communication.

If communication occurs, but nothing happens, influence wasn’t there.

It’s easy to get a bit scared of thinking about influence because it all starts to get a bit Machiavellian – like we are trying to manipulate people or events. While this is an extreme example of influence, what we are interested in discussing is really just effective communication.

Understanding more extreme examples of influence is still important, because while we all use influence on a daily basis, to an even greater extent we are being manipulated and influnced on a much larger scale. The advertising, marketing, and political industries constantly bombard us with messages scientifically designed to change what we think, act and feel.

Further, people around us are exerting influence all the time. We’ve all had the experience where someone asked us to do something we really didn’t want to do, but we said yes anyway, resulting in us being inconvenienced or upset later.

Understanding how influence works in your everyday life, in business, and in marketing and mass communication helps you gain perspective on how you are being influenced, and also gives you the skills to be more effective when you want to influence people or events in your life and business.

Next, I’d like you to meet a man who has devoted his career to udnerstanding the science of persuasion and influence. He’s studied master influencers – sales people and other influencer professions, and catalogued thousands of tactics and approaches that they use to influnce consumers.

He’s distilled all the different approaches down to 6 universal principles of Influence and Persuasion.

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