How to Become an Industry Influencer and Key Role Model

December 7th, 2016

The new year is just a few weeks away, so you need to start working on your goals for 2017. If you want to use the next year to raise your profile to the level of industry influencer and valued role model, now is the time to start plotting your strategy.

Becoming an influencer is hard work. Many people wrongly assume you’re either born into the role or you’re not, but this isn’t the case. It doesn’t matter where you started, if you’re a natural introvert or an extrovert, or what line of work you’re in, you can become an amazing role model. Follow these five steps to make it happen.

Believe in Yourself

If you don’t respect yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to. You’re an incredibly talented person with a lot to offer, so believe in the power you have to make a difference in the lives of other professionals. From providing guidance to those just getting started in the workforce to helping develop the careers of your mid-level staffers, you can wield a huge influence.

Lead by Example

No one respects a leader who says one thing and does another. If you instruct people to behave in a certain manner, you must heed to your own advice. You can’t expect others to adhere to guidelines you can’t even follow.

Start Networking Better

The larger your network, the more people you can influence. Constant networking is a must for prominent industry leaders, so you always need to be out meeting new people. If you’re naturally outgoing, this won’t be a problem, but you may be hesitant if you’re shy. Instead of feeling intimidated, set guidelines for each event you attend — you have to stay for an hour, make two net contacts, etc. Before you know it, you’ll be a natural at networking.

Nurture Your Contacts

After working hard to create a vast network of contacts, you want to be a valuable resource. Do your best to stay in touch with people, to build and maintain a positive relationship. If you come across a job opening or even an interesting article that applies to the career of a contact, pass it along. Of course, when you’re notably well-connected, people will always try to tap into your network, so be protective of it. Don’t pass on contact information or make introductions unless you’re sure it will be helpful to your contact.

Be Available to Help Others

Influencers and role models want to touch the careers of as many people as possible, so open yourself up to others. Do your best to accept more invitations to meet with new contacts than you decline — of course, only accept those that make sense. Practice active listening during conversations, so the other person feels respected and gets something valuable from the meeting.

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