When you think of your personal power of influence, how do you see yourself? Do you feel that the things you say and do have much of an influence on the people around you? Would it surprise you to learn that you actually have at your disposal the power to change the mental state of others in an instant?
Furthermore, this power is not restricted to people that you know. In fact, it actually extends to people you have only seen once, and that you have never even spoken to. That's right, with almost no effort you can change the state of a complete stranger in a moment, from a distance, without a word. How's that for influence?
As intriguing as this power is, it is really a very specialized form of communication. Let's look at some possible candidates.
Verbal communication skills
In an effort to influence other people, most of us tend to rely on verbal communication skills. Why? Because being able to express our thoughts and feelings accurately and convincingly is a powerful skill. We have all been persuaded, motivated, or otherwise moved by the words of skilled communicators.
Whether delivered by a captivating speaker, a talented author, or a persuasive friend, well crafted words have the power to touch our hearts and stimulate our thinking. But this article is not about the influential power of words, and here's why. For our words to be able to touch somebody's life, they need to be heard or read. Remember, I said you could use this power of influence from a distance, without speaking to the other person.
How about body language?
There is no doubt that our body language has a strong influence on the way others view us. Yes, body language conveys a powerful, subconscious message to everyone who sees us, even from a distance. So body language is most definitely an influential means of communication.
Is body language the secret power of influence we are looking for? Even though body language is an effective way to communicate nonverbally, and to influence how others perceive us, it doesn't really have the power to change their mental state. So, it's effect is limited.
How about our external trappings?
This is a large category that includes the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the cost of our wristwatch or jewelry, the home we live in, and various things like that. There's no denying it, those things do get other people's attention.
Really though, external trappings are just an extension of our body language. They may convey a message about our current financial status, but again, all that does is influence people's perception of us, not their mental state. So, what is this powerful yet specialized form of communication we are looking for?
Here's a clue
Imagine that you make eye contact with someone walking down the street who looks sad. What could you do to to help them? What secret power could you release in a moment, without a word, that would help them feel better right now?
Perhaps you are the one walking down the street feeling blue, and someone else makes eye contact with you from 10 feet away. What could that person do to add a little shot of joy to your life instantly?
Did you figure it out?
If not, don't feel bad. It's probably because the answer is so obvious and simple. OK, here's how you can use your influence to instantly change someone else's mental state. First, look them straight in the eyes, and then, give them a warm, sincere smile. Wasn't that easy?
Smiling at other people has the power to change their focus and lift their spirits in an instant. It's a friendly little gesture that forms an immediate connection between you and them. Smiling also sends a powerful message of good will. Amazingly, a smile can reach clear across a room and touch the heart of a complete stranger. Now that's powerful!
Think of your own experiences
How do you react when you are just going about your daily business, and someone you don't even know smiles at you for no discernible reason? My guess is, you smile back, right? It's the natural reaction.
Now tell me this, how does exchanging smiles with someone else make you feel? It feels good, doesn't it? So smiling is a simple way to make everybody feel better immediately. That's a pretty wonderful ability to have at your disposal, don't you think?
Use your power of influence
Why not make a special effort to use this power liberally to improve your life, and the lives of those around you? Go ahead, exercise this great power every chance you get and see if it doesn't completely transform the quality of your life.
Don't be surprised if people are attracted to you like a magnet, even though they won't consciously know why. The important thing is, you will know why, and you will feel really good about it. In fact, it will probably make you smile!