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6 Comments

  1. Valerie Simon
    April 29, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

    I view influence as an outcome not an objective (shout out to Richie Escovedo @vedo for helping me articulate the thought)

    The objective should be building trust and developing relationships. Influence is an outcome, and I believe that the negative connotation comes from an aspiration to influence rather than to engage. If your goal is to influence you are focused on YOU and your goals rather than a mutually beneficial relationship.

    Just my two cents… Thanks for a thought provoking post!

  2. Ann Marie van den Hurk
    May 1, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    I don’t think influence is a bad word. I think what is happened recently with Klout and other services and how it is being used in social media has twisted it in a negative way.

  3. Deirdre
    May 1, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    Hi Valerie! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes, I think we should focus on the community and mutually beneficial relationships. However, the road that leads to this outcome, is introspective to determine how a person can be better at engagement and increase the value of interactions. So, in a sense there is still a bit of a focus on the personal factors, but not selfishly, only in an effort to build trust and help a community of peers.

  4. Deirdre
    May 1, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    Thanks, Ann Marie! I’m with you…I don’t think it’s a bad word, I just think it’s misunderstood when we get too wrapped up in the numbers.

  5. Shane Jacob
    May 2, 2011 @ 7:28 am

    Nice post Deirdre, definitely food for thought. I do not believe the issue is with the word “influence” but what rather what most people interpret it as or what context it is interpreted as. Most people see influence as a manipulation or a kind of pressure which results in getting people to act a certain way. It is taken more often in a negative context -think “under the influence of alcohol” :). I guess the perception would improve if you change the context – think “who/what influenced you to become a PR professional”. In recent times as Ann Marie put it, its interpreted as a score, a number which makes people worry – if your “score” is high or low does it mean you can or cannot influence people? I guess Influence needs to be seen more than just a number and to applied in a better defined context for it to be perceived the right way.

  6. Deirdre
    May 7, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    Hi Shane…thanks so much for commenting and sharing your thoughts. You’re right, depending on the connotation, the word can be very positive or negative. There are so many people who influenced me, in the best possible way, to pursue my career in PR and communications. Without their influence, I may not be where I am today. I’m not a big fan of scores, but I do see how the numbers give us guidelines or parameters but should be used not in a competition with others, but only to make ourselves better. And, we should always keep in mind that in some cases, the numbers don’t matter with respect to the level of influence or the meaning of the influence. You can have 100 people in your network, as opposed to 100,000, and have more influence simply by the way you interact and remain closely connected . I definitely agree that influence goes beyond the number and I think it’s important that we define it in a better context.

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