6 signs you’re more influential than you think

It’s often easy to overlook how much impact we have on the lives of others. Other times, we don’t overlook it; we just don’t know the signs.

That is, we fail to realize the influence of our actions, words, and presence on others. But what if I told you that you might be more influential than you think?

More often than not, influence reveals itself not in obvious actions but in small, repeated signs.

So, are you more influential than you think? 

Let’s find out. 

Here are six signs to watch out for. 

1) People mirror your body language

Have you ever been in a professional or social situation when you noticed someone adopting a similar stance or using the same hand gestures? 

When you crossed your arms, they did the same. You found them nodding when you were nodding. 

If so, what you probably experienced was someone mirroring you.

What is mirroring? As defined in a post by Berkley Wellbeing, it is when “ we unconsciously imitate someone else’s behavior in social interactions. This can include body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice”. 

It can be difficult to spot when we are being mirrored as it is so rooted in our natural behavior. However, you may recall times when you caught yourself almost copying someone else’s body language in a social interaction. 

So, how does this relate to being influential?

It’s generally accepted that we mirror others that we respect and want to have a good relationship with. Even more than this, one study suggested that when we want to become affiliated with someone, we mirror even more. 

Often, people don’t even know that they are doing it. However, if you find somebody almost imitating you, it is a sign that they perceive you as a figure of influence, somebody they want to be affiliated with.

If you weren’t aware of mirroring before reading this, you might not have noticed it. You will now. Watch out for who’s mirroring you. You might just be more influential than you think. 

The next sign seems obvious, but many of us still overlook or downplay it. 

2) People seek your advice 

When people turn to us for guidance and insight, many of us don’t think much of it, but it’s a sure sign that we are influential.

Think about it. Someone is literally asking you what they should do and may well act on it. Your behavior or opinion will likely have a bearing on what that person does. It’s almost the definition of influence.

Rack your brain for times a family member, friend, or colleague approached you for advice. People don’t go to just anyone for advice. It’s a sign that they trust your judgment. 

Think about the people you would go to for advice. Have these people had an influence on your life? I’d bet they have. 

I know the people I ask for advice are people I respect and consider influential in my own life. The people coming to you for insight likely feel the same. 

The next one is a big one, but many overlook it too. 

3) People remember what you say

Have you ever noticed how certain things linger in your mind, shaping your perspective and guiding you in the decisions you make? 

Take a moment to think about a teacher you remember well, a movie you watched, or a book you read.

I am going to bet the teacher, movie, and book that came to mind are ones that had an influence on you. 

You probably had teachers you can’t even picture, watched movies you now can’t recall, and read books you no longer remember the main point of. 

So what’s the point?

The point is, us humans are not very good at remembering everything. A University of Toronto study suggests that we forget more than 75% of what we hear after just two days. 

But we do remember the important things, the things that had an influence on us. We don’t forget the teacher who taught us to be confident, the movie that inspired us, or the book that changed our perspective on work or relationships or money or whatever. 

We remember what our wives or husbands said when proposing. We probably remember it verbatim, almost in slow motion. 

But we struggle to recall what our colleague said at the coffee machine this morning.

If somebody can recall what you said a month, a year, or even five years ago, don’t overlook it. If they can remember it, your words meant something to them

4) People imitate your dressing

signs youre more influential than you think 1 6 signs you’re more influential than you think

As a child, you probably wanted to dress like your Dad or a superhero if you are male. If you are female, it was probably your mom or a TV character. 

Why is that? We imitate those we respect and admire. 

As much as we don’t like to admit it, we do this as adults, too. We look to sports stars, celebrities, and billionaires and imitate how they appear. It’s more subtle than wearing a Batman costume, but it’s the same idea.

How many aspiring entrepreneurs have adopted the uniform concept popularized by Steve Jobs? How many people wear the same branded performance gear as their golfing heroes when on the course? 

We also do a similar thing in social or professional groups. We imitate those we desire to be like. In psychology, this is tied to what is called ‘social contagion’. 

While there are a number of reasons for this, Psychology Today states that the “presence of an influential role model” and “Being ‘inspired’ and impressed” are two reasons for this behavior. 

If you have found that some of your colleagues, friends, or family members have started adopting your way of dressing, it may be a sign of your influence. 

5) People remember your name 

How many people do you meet and almost instantly forget their names?

Be honest. We all do it. 

However, when we meet people for the first time and they leave a lasting impression, we almost never forget their names. 

Experts back this up. 

Charan Ranganath, director of the Memory and Plasticity Program at the University of California, told Time, “People are better at remembering things that they’re motivated to learn. Sometimes you are motivated to learn people’s names and other times it’s more of a passing thing, and you don’t at the time think it’s important.”

Granted, some names are easier to remember than others.

However, as a rule of thumb, if people usually remember your name after meeting you, you probably made a lasting impression and are more influential than you might be giving yourself credit for. 

6) Your absence is noticed

In the busy world we live in, we often don’t even notice when someone isn’t around. This is particularly true at work or clubs where there are many people. You would notice, of course, if your wife or husband weren’t there.

Whether you like to admit it or not, you probably have a colleague who could take a week or two of annual leave, and you might not even notice. 

Think about the last time you were absent from a familiar environment – be it your workplace, your gym, or a community meeting. Did people ask about your absence? Did they notice that you weren’t there as you normally are?

If they did, it’s a subtle sign that your presence carries weight and influence. They may not notice your influence when you are there, but your presence, input, and insights are missed when you leave.

The sooner people notice your absence, the more influential you likely are. 

The bottom line

Our level of influence on the people around us is something many underestimate. Often, we overlook signs that suggest we are influential or dismiss them as unimportant. Other signs can be difficult to notice unless you are looking for them.

If you notice many or all of the above signs, you are likely a lot more influential than you give yourself credit for. 

I hope this post provided some food for thought and that it was an enjoyable read. 

Until next time.

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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