Your character plays a key role in becoming influential with others. Although charisma and good communication skills are important, they're not enough to build lasting and impactful influence. There isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy for achieving influence. However, you can greatly benefit from practicing the following seven habits.

1. Believe in yourself

This is the most important habit for becoming influential. Believing in yourself is the foundation for others to start believing in you. When you feel confident and project that confidence, people will naturally be drawn to you.

2. Treat people with respect

It's true that actions speak louder than words. When you treat people with respect, you are showing a part of your character that is tremendously valuable for you and for others. Respect is one of the core values in life. People are more likely to trust you if you respect them.

3. Be genuine

Become an influential person for the right reasons. Be genuine in your words and actions--this will create opportunities for you to connect and engage with people positively. Make sure that what you say and what you do is aligned with who you are.

4. Show interest in others

There's no room for self-centeredness or superficiality if your goal is to become influential. Ask people how they are doing and really mean it--listen to what they have to say. Exchange thoughts and ideas. People like to feel acknowledged.

5. Speak politely

Communicate with people in a way that they understand and feel included in the conversation. Forget about being rude, and avoid the know-it-all syndrome. Use words that build people up and create an impact on them.

6. Smile

Smiling is a way to make people feel welcome. Let your smile be sincere and appropriate. Pay attention to the people around you: Chances are, they need a smile to lift their mood. A smile is an accessory, like a tie or a necklace--it adds a great touch to your personality.

7. Be helpful

Identify opportunities to help others. Be proactive and attentive. There's always someone in need of help. Of course, be tactical about how you approach people who may benefit from your assistance. Being helpful never goes out of style.

Practicing these seven habits will establish your credibility, and when your credibility is established, you'll have huge opportunities to influence people. Remember that influence is primarily based on your character. The more positive character traits you exhibit, the more influential you will become. Once you have this structure in place, the rest will follow naturally.

Published on: Sep 3, 2015