There’s the social media influencer with millions of followers. And then, there’s the influential leaders that get featured in magazines.
You’re neither of those!
But could it be possible that you have a strong influence on people, too?
Just like there are regular people who have influenced your life, you too are influencing others in your own, quiet way.
Here are 10 signs that show you’re better at influencing others than you think.
1) You make people feel heard and understood
People assume that to be influential means to be a speaker—to be some sort of expert who always has something interesting or definite to say.
But what most of us don’t know is that we can influence people by simply having good listening skills.
If you’re a good listener that makes people feel heard and understood, you’re already far better at influencing others than you think.
For instance, while Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is recognized as the most influential leader of the civil rights movement, what most people don’t know is that his greatness springs from his excellent listening ability.
King’s willingness to listen—even from his critics—has turned him into a kind of leader that many people are willing to support and follow.
So if you listen with genuine interest and empathy, you’re likely already influencing people already—less with your words, and more with your actions and ability to make others feel cared for.
2) You’re a natural at building rapport
As Christopher Voss says, “ We fear what’s different and are drawn to what’s similar.”
That’s why from presidents of countries to famous celebrities—no matter how rich or brilliant or good-looking they are—the one thing that makes them influential is they are relatable.
They do things that make people think “Hey, we’re different but at the same time…we’re totally the same!”
Are you good at finding and nurturing similarities? Do you try to build common ground?
Before talking or posting anything on your socials, do you ask yourself “Hmmm, can people actually relate to this?”
You’re likely far better at influencing others than you think.
We want to listen to people who we can relate to, plain and simple.
So if you have the skill to make people feel that you’re vibing—and that you don’t make them feel like they’re totally different from you—then you’re better at influencing others than you think.
3) You don’t force people to agree with you— you let them
As a quote often attributed to Lao Tzu says, “ One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.”
It’s kind of paradoxical, but the more people feel like they are forced to believe or do something, the more likely they will resist.
We want to have ownership over our decisions. We want someone to hold our hand, not push our backs forward.
So even if someone actually wants to attend a protest, but then someone says something that makes them feel forced to do it (“Attend the protest or else!”), they’ll lose motivation and not go.
If you’re the type who respects people’s stance and choices, you’re likely far better at influencing people than the person who bulldozes people to do things.
4) You usually make sense
Do you notice things that most people don’t? Do you have a unique way of seeing the world? Do you connect the dots in your own way?
You might not be the smartest or the most talented, but do you have ideas that make people go “Ohh, yeah…that’s actually quite clever”?
One doesn’t have to have a PhD to actually come up with ideas and opinions that make sense—one simply has to have enough knowledge and good sensibilities.
So if you can honestly say that you make sense (most of the time, at least), then you’re probably better at influencing others than you think.
5) You’re a team player
You know when to lead and collaborate…and you always think about what’s best for the team more than what’s good for you.
As a collaborator, you’re excellent at listening and communicating your ideas.
And as a leader, you know when you need to step back or step forward as the situation needs.
Being a good team player comes with a set of traits that makes you influential. You are humble, cooperative, forward-thinking, empathetic, responsible, and caring, among other things.
And these traits are why people look to you, especially in times of crisis.
6) You’re good at simplifying complex things
As the genius Albert Einstein says, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
So if you’re able to explain complex concepts in simple terms, you have already influenced far more people than the person who only uses “smart” and highfalutin words.
Do you want to be understood instead of to be seen as someone smart? Do you always make the effort to keep things easy and simple for others?
When people are confused or overwhelmed and overloaded with information, do they turn to you?
Then you probably have a strong influence on others.
7) You’re known for being caring
While most people equate influence with coercive power or superior intelligence, the truth is, know-it-alls are hated by most people— from kindergarten to retirement homes.
Who wants to listen to someone who is so sure and self-centered, anyway?
If you’re someone who genuinely cares, your words and actions automatically hold more weight and will sway people’s decisions far better than the uncaring genius in the room.
This is why they are likely to be more influenced by you because they know your stance comes from a space of empathy rather than wanting to get ahead and benefit.
8) You have a strong moral compass
Are you a person with integrity? Do you keep your promises and fulfill your responsibilities?
If you can confidently say yes, then you’re better at influencing others than you think.
You see, as we grow older, “right” and “wrong” become more complicated and even people with the best intentions still falter.
This is why when the situation is confusing people’s principles, they turn to you.
They are open to your influence because of your consistently strong moral compass that isn’t swayed by pressure or bribes.
If you’re the type who is willing to lose out on opportunities that don’t align with your moral compass, you can bet people are influenced by your words and actions.
9) You walk the talk
Do you practice what you preach? Do you actually DO things instead of just talking about them?
Then you’re probably better at influencing others than you think—whether it’s something as simple as picking up trash if you tell others you care for the environment.
While it’s true that being an excellent communicator helps with influencing others, at the end of the day, people are watching if your actions match your words.
It doesn’t matter if you deliver the most beautifully crafted speech if you can’t or don’t follow through with aligned action.
It doesn’t matter much either if you’re kind and compassionate, if you don’t actually perform real action.
If you’re a person of action, people will respect you. And respect is essential if you want to influence people.
10) People actually like you
Do people say good things about you? Do your colleagues want to work with you? Do people’s faces light up when they see you?
Well, it could only mean one thing—that you’re well-liked by the people around you.
And that’s probably because you effortlessly make others feel good about themselves. Maybe you make them feel seen and heard, maybe they feel you actually care.
It could also be because you’re funny, relatable, talented, smart, and a hundred other things.
And this is actually easy to know why. When people like someone, they find it easy to respect and listen to what they have to say.
So if sometimes you think “Nah, I don’t think I actually have influence on people”, well think again. If you’re a likable person, you probably influence others in a lot of ways!
There are people who aim to be influential because they crave the power that comes with it and there are those who simply want to live as an authentic and good person.
Whether it’s simply inspiring others to become better people, or rallying the community towards a common cause, being influential is about amplifying the good on this earth.
If you can relate to most of the signs in this list, congratulations!
You’re more influential than you think.
Embrace your subtle gift and set the intention to be a ripple of positive influence.