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7 Ultimate Strategies To Become Influential In Your Industry

7 Ultimate Strategies To Become Influential In Your Industry
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Do you want to become influential in your industry or career? When people talk to others about the business you’re in, is yours the name that comes up as the expert in the field? Do others seek out your advice and follow your recommendations?

If you want that to be the case, you are going to have to work on a few different things that will skyrocket you to becoming an influencer. Every single leader in business has done these things, and by following the examples of the successful people that you look up to, you can become the person that people want to know and want to learn from. Here are seven things to do to become more influential within your field.

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1. Speak Out

You are never going to get noticed if you don’t speak up. You could have the most important thing in the world to say, but no one will hear it if you don’t make yourself heard above the crowd (both literally and metaphorically). You need to make sure that you find a forum to express yourself. Don’t let social pressure or individual criticism stop you from expressing your uniqueness. The people who stand out above the crowd are going to be the people that others want to follow and be influenced by.

2. Put Your Own Spin On Things

Just because some topic has already been discussed, doesn’t mean that it can’t be freshened up — you just have to do it the right way. Find out what sort of topics in your industry are growing stale and find a brand new way to look at them. Make people see the value in these old ideas and your fresh, innovative take on them as you consistently add value to the conversation.

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3. Learn To Speak in Public

Want someone to be influenced by you? Then get in front of them and teach them something valuable. When you’re a public speaker, even if you aren’t good at it to begin with, people will start to respect and notice you. As time goes on, you’ll get better and more confident when speaking to crowds, and that confidence will begin to bleed through into the rest of your interactions. It’s hard work, but leadership and becoming influential starts with getting noticed, making the circuit, and having your name recognized. It’s hard for haters and progress-interrupters to pull you down when you’ve built yourself a soapbox and established yourself as an expert — so get started!

4. Make Something Amazing And Learn From Kickstarter

You’ve probably heard of the crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter. People go on Kickstarter to raise money for their particular project or goal. You’ll notice that almost every single Kickstarter success actually has had something pretty amazing to show the people before they started, but you’ll also notice that what made these Kickstarters successful was the community they developedLearn from Kickstarter — they’re one of the greatest examples of the power of social proof, but they also demonstrate that quality wins out. These people made something first, and then the support they found on Kickstarter helped them make more. You can do the same thing with whatever industry you are in. Make something amazing, get others talking about it, and people will begin to listen to what you have to say — becoming influential 101.

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5. Give Value to Others Without Regard for Whether You’ll Get it Back

When you start off on your journey to become influential, you’re not going to be receiving much from others. That comes later, after they have seen you in action and have developed some respect and admiration for you. So, in the meantime, give to them as much as you can, especially if you don’t get anything back. You’re building a relationship, and while this tip in particular can feel drudgy and unimportant, the payoff at the end of the road is always worth it.

6. Become Influential By Teaming Up

A true leader’s strength comes from their ability to let go. Don’t be afraid to team up with others. You might want to be a leader and influence others in your field, but you don’t have to do it alone. Let me repeat that — you don’t have to do it alone.

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Often, learning when to delegate can let you become influential faster and more efficiently by letting you focus on doing what you do best, and letting go of the rest. When you work with others, you begin playing off each other’s strengths and compensating for relative weaknesses. Not only does this make your product far better, it encourages others to engage with you productively. When people see that you are willing get to work and get your hands dirty, they’re far more likely to cooperate with and look up to you — it’s just human nature! Working with a team on a project is an awesome opportunity for you to develop your leadership abilities. If you take the lead naturally and your teammates allow you to guide them, you’ll learn a great deal about influencing people and even more about how to deal with crises.

7. Remember Who Helped You On The Way Up

Finally, don’t forget about those people who helped you on the way up. These are the people who believed in you and helped you from day one, when they had no idea what (if anything) you could do for them. They might not expect a thank you, but you should take the time to acknowledge them anyways. Loyalty is a precious commodity in this world, so guard it closely. Becoming known as a person who remembers those who helped out will encourage others to help you in the future. Never pass up an opportunity to to pay it forward when you have an opportunity to do something to help someone.

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Featured photo credit: johnhope14 via imcreator.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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