Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:2-7
Influence without motivating others to action is a wasted opportunity.
That verse and that phrase haunt me. I want to live my life in such a way that leverages whatever influence I may have on this planet to move people closer to the heart of Jesus. As Paul says, I want to proclaim the mysterious Jesus in a world where the simple Jesus is all people know.
But how do you influence people with influence over others? For me, that’s the question. It’s one thing to have a role that puts you in contact with influencers. It’s another to influence those influencers.
Here are five quick ways I’ve found (this isn’t wisdom, it’s me stumbling towards figuring it out) to influence influencers towards things that truly matter:
- Proclaim the whys. I’ve found that a lot of influencers are so busy that they need help connecting the dots and being told “why” something is important much more than how to do it. Influencers are smart and know how to get things done. But you need to have them own why it is important for them to do something.
- Heart tugs. A person has influence over others because they have a huge heart. If I can expose that heart to the need… they can make mountains move. A challenge for me isn’t putting them in that situation, it’s finding out what will tug a leaders heart to action. What, you thought this was easy?
- Biblical truth. Call me a crazy conservative all day. I don’t care what you label me– the Bible holds truth I cannot fathom. When I have the opportunity to bring up biblical truth, or remind a leader what the Bible says about the situation they are in, that moves them.
- Appeal to pride. You thought I’d say humility? Heck no, I play dirty if it means that they will take action. Have you read the Bible? The Old Testament is full of examples of prophets and friends motivating a leader with a well timed rib shot. Why? Because it works.
- Challenge them to take responsibility. I’ve noticed that highly influential people are very happy to disassociate themselves from opportunities. Surely, their plates are full. It helps to look them in the eye and challenge them– if not you, than who?