Cheyenne Palma Dominguez serves as an ambassador for women in business. Cheyenne is the President of FemCity and has over 15 years of experience in fundraising and nonprofit development, building communities of donors, volunteers, and corporate sponsors. Check out her guest blog below!
“Influence. It can be used as a verb. It can be used as a noun. Merriam-Webster says its popularity is high, currently in the top 10% of words. Those who have it (influence, that is) have the ability to inspire others to do something, based on their recommendation or authority. Want to be an influencer? Don’t overlook the opportunities in your own backyard. Creating influence where you are — in your local business community — can be extremely powerful to your business and personal brand. Here are 3 of my favorite ways to increase your influence where you live and work.
- Speak up! Speaking can significantly increase your exposure as an expert in your field and help you build credibility. Scared at just the thought of public speaking? Try thinking about speaking in a new way. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a stage with a huge audience. Try offering intimate workshops on topics for which you’re an expert. Offer to speak to students at local colleges who are just learning about your industry. Seek out guest podcast opportunities (virtual speaking means no one is even looking at you). You can even be a guest of a Facebook Live session by partnering with another business or brand that reaches an audience similar to your ideal customer base. These types of speaking activities increase your authority in your field. And when it comes to influence, people follow people who have authority.
- Adopt the 80/20 rule. Give 80% of the time, and seek only 20% of the time. So how do you give 80% of the time? By thinking of yourself as a resource to other business people in your community. Strive to become known as someone who is a giver. Proactively (without being asked) provide referrals, share resources, facilitate introductions, extend event invitations, and share helpful business information. By being resourceful, you can become a “go-to” business leader. This includes being a giver on social media too. How? Spend 80% of your social media time and posts on relationship-building efforts. That includes offering helpful content, sharing the content of others, paying attention to what others are saying online and providing supportive commentary without promoting anything. Participate in discussions relevant to you and your brand. Resourceful business leaders who are helpful to others are often the most sought-after people in any room. The most sought-after people in a room are usually also the most influential. Become one of them.
- Take on a leadership role with a nonprofit organization. Find a cause that aligns with your business/brand and your personal interests. Maybe you’ve already found one and have been a contributor. Consider taking it up a notch by serving in a leadership capacity which offers more visibility. Serve on a board of directors, an advisory council, a special event committee, or help coordinate a fundraising campaign. A leadership role provides an opportunity to build relationships with the “movers and shakers” in your city. Nonprofit leaders are often resourceful, well-connected visionaries who know how to make big things happen. You’ll shine while building powerful connections with other business leaders in town.”