increase your influence

Two ways to increase your influence

by Elizabeth Toohig
in Blog
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How wisely and generously do you use your influence when you give a talk or presentation?


One of the things I did for Lent this year was step up to the ’40acts challenge’ from Stewardship.  The theme running through the daily challenge is generosity. In one of the posts, Alexandra Khan focused on INFLUENCE. It struck a real chord with me, for what I do in both my role as a speaker, and in helping others create a great talk.


Alexander Khan defines influence as:

The impact we have on others that changes how they feel or act.

This is exactly the sort of influence every speaker should set out to achieve each time they stand up to give a talk or presentation.

Power of influence

Having influence isn’t about the size of the fee you charge when you speak, the number of people in the room, the title on your business card or the promises you make.

Rather, I see it as taking your life experiences and using them to help others with similar struggles. In this way, you will:

  1. Help others to avoid making the same mistakes and errors you did
  2. Save others time by sharing knowledge built up from your experiences
  3. Show others the possible transformation and benefits.


Changing people’s minds or opening their minds up to new possibilities is challenging. As a speaker, you need to provide sufficient credible evidence. Therefore, I like to think of it as being in court. I have to provide enough proof for the jury to find in my favour.

To effectively influence the jury (your audience) so that they embody change in their lives, you need to get them to say YES with their head and their heart.

Head and Heart

Providing LOGICAL evidence will satisfy the audience that your message is based on sound research and reasoning. As a result, this will enable people to say yes with their head. However, logic alone is seldom enough to influence people to a embrace a new way of thinking or acting. Creating an EMOTIONAL bond that arouses emotions such as happiness, anger, guilt or love will then enable your listeners to also say yes with their hearts.

Greatest Impact

When I think of the talks and speeches that have left the greatest impact on me, the speakers have certainly taken this approach. They got me to say yes with both my head and my heart. The speakers used their knowledge, experience and skills in a selfless way and put the needs of the audience first.

As a result:

  • They appeared open and honest, without putting themselves on a pedestal
  • Their long road became my short cut
  • Their qualities and values shone through; they truly walked their talks

Your influence is limited only by what you are prepared to do with gifts, experiences and passions you’ve been given.” Alexander Khan

Are you ready to extend your influence simply by being prepared to be generous with your words and the content of your talks?
Click here for details of my next workshop ‘Speak With Confidence’ on Wednesday 3 May in Taunton.

I share more tips on Twitter @E_Toohig and Facebook


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