Three ways to increase your influence in business

Three ways to increase your influence in business

Are you ready to raise your professional profile as 2017 arrives? Perhaps you’ve made some strategic connections during those year-end holiday gatherings.

Or you may want to deepen some of the long-standing relationships you value and hold dear.

Here are some ways to rise in influence among your peers:

Take the lead in organizing a collaborative group. Seize the opportunity to be the one who ventures forth, seeking out new business relationships. Don’t wait for busy people to call you back. Stop by and pay a fellow business professional a short, personal visit on your lunch hour. Keep it under five or 10 minutes — longer than an elevator speech but short enough so you don’t tax the other person’s patience.

Tap the wisdom of professional peers. There’s a difference between asking for “networking handouts” and sharing a valuable piece of business intel with a colleague who might appreciate the opportunity to make a new connection. Always remember the rule of reciprocity. If you don’t share helpful advice with other business professionals, then don’t expect a free handout. The solution is simple: Always be on the lookout for opportunities to share helpful tidbits with your business friends.

Follow through on commitments. If you mention to a business connection you’d like to touch back with the person, it’s critical to follow up. Business owners are hard-pressed for time, and those casually expressed wishes will slip through the cracks. While you do not want to put undue pressure on another business owner, you can send a positive, friendly reminder a week after your meeting, such as a thoughtful greeting card.

Make 2017 the year you take your business to the next level!