Influencers Are Not Born; They Are Made

Influence is not some gene we pick up at birth or a predetermined mould. It is not a golden ticket we find in a Cornflakes box. Influence is a natural talent that develops over time.

Influence is a skill. And, like most other skills in life; it develops. Whether heading in the right direction or lagging behind you control your power of influence.

When successful businesswoman and entrepreneur Gabby found she had a knack for influencing people, it took her some time to get her head around it. The invisible pull she had influencing buying decisions and new trends was beyond any of her previous reckoning. Gabby had become a mentor, someone whom many people aspired to. But how did she develop this skill of influence? At what part of her journey did she morph from follower to inspirator?

Gabby’s story to follow shortly. Firstly, lets delve a little further into influence in business.

The story of influence

If you ask any successful leader or influencer how they got their persuasive pull it’s doubtful they will say they were born with it. They will provide a history of who they met along the way, hardships, victories, and how they developed their skill over time. But one common link will be their initial ability to convince themselves.

Here is how Gabby got on with the job.

Prior to becoming a recognised name Gabby made the choice to approach everyday interactions persuasively. There were no prior rules to follow and no guide. She simply adopted four personal basics to practice every day.

  1. Develop confidence
  2. Become a savvy networker
  3. Be accessible
  4. Be niche-focused

This guide she says, was the formation of what she is today. Anyone can be an expert or influencer in their field if they dedicate time into educating themselves. Confidence and authority then follows naturally.

The following provides a brief insight into how Gabby’s four fundamentals equipped her to become a successful influencer.

#1 Develop confidence

New to the game? Don’t worry. Everyone else starts somewhere too. Gabby adopted this mindset to get her through the first challenge of influence.

Gabby found the majority of business leaders she met oozed confidence. They were optimistic about what they did and their company’s vision. She listened intently to their stories. It wasn’t until she researched their businesses to learn that many were not just the CEO – they were the only employee at the company. They were sole traders.

The lesson she learned was to adopt the very confidence of these people she networked with. Confidence generated credibility for them and she was hooked on their stories.

Gabby says immerse yourself in what you know. Believe that your peers and associates are/were once just like you. This helps to gain a similarity and confidence of moving forward.

#2 Encourage networking opportunities

Even if it pains you to go to networking events alone, give yourself the best chance to network effectively. You never know who you will meet along the way.

And, for the shrinking violets in the room – here are Gabby’s tips for getting through.

Set a networking KPI

Make yourself accountable for achieving a networking KPI before leaving. It could be a length of time to stay (which is the easy out), meeting a set number of new people, or having a set number of conversations. You can’t leave until you achieve your goal (or, until they kick you out of course).

Plan your arrival time

Think about what you really want to achieve by attending the event and plan your arrival time around that purpose. Here are some examples;

  1. a) an early arrival gives you more chance to meet the event organiser or sponsor
  2. b) an early arrival also provides more chance for in-depth conversations with attendees
  3. c) the end of the event is primed for quick chats and exposure to more people

Be noticed

You can speed up connection with others by making yourself easy to talk to. Wear something quirky to encourage conversation – an interesting set of earrings, a statement shirt or dress pattern, etc. Conversation starters like these provide people a talking point and a hook to come to you.

#3 Be accessible to others

A key influence strategy is to remain accessible to others. If there is an opportunity that evokes your mission and vision, get involved.

When it is hard making the evaluation whether something is beneficial or not, just run with it. Start with an open mind and be optimistic for a new adventure. You never always know which channels will be the most effective at setting you up with the right people.

Here are a few strategies to bear in mind to avoid over stimulation or a burn-out when being so accessible:

  1. a) define morning time as your time: use mornings wisely without interruptions or meetings. Usually this is when motivation levels and brain power are at their peak
  2. b) establish the best time for meetings each week and try to stick with that pattern: booking meetings in the same pattern each week promotes more focus and readiness for the job at hand. Gabby found meetings mid-week meant she could plan work around them and offered better preparation time knowing they were approaching
  3. c) Friday fun day: non-agenda meetings work well on Friday afternoons for Gabby. Finishing the last task of the week meeting new people or investing time in an up-and-coming opportunity provided her extra stimulation

#4 Your niche

Building a network is the cornerstone of influence. However, it is your niche which defines you.

People will follow and aspire to someone with a set philosophy or purpose. Be informative, be consistent, be memorable and commit for the long haul. Rome was not built in one day…

Influence is a skill developed through practice and commitment. Work hard, expand your horizons, and most of all, step outside of your comfort zone once in a while. And remember, you can’t convince anyone else if you can’t convince yourself first.


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I am a Mum, business founder, author and accomplished CEO with over 20 years’ experience in the corporate world. My childhood dream was to become a fighter pilot, but when that didn’t materialise, I found my place in the corporate world, climbing the sales and marketing ladder to my role as CEO of Cox & Kings Australia.

I'm the founder of Empowering Ambitious Women, I've led start-ups to companies with annual revenues from $55 million to more than $250 million. My role as CEO of Australia’s leading franchise network of professional builders saw me as a pioneer in the industry; as a female CEO leading a large franchise home building company.

I was formally recognised twice by the Telstra Business Women's Awards my achievements in business.

As a woman who became one of the 16% of female CEOs, and who has led in male-dominated industries, I’m passionate about creating pathways for women leaders to step up, take a seat at the table and own it.

I love; French champagne, socialising, dining out and having an impact...

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