How to be a Person of Influence

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I believe that this saying is very true.

We become frustrated when the people who are important to us don’t listen to or receive instruction from us. For a parent, it can be our children; for a teacher, our students; for a businessperson, our employees or colleagues. The bottom line is that people won’t take our advice if they don’t feel genuinely loved or cared for by us.

To be our most effective, we must first earn the right to speak into a person’s life.

Think about it. How do you react when people correct you? You may walk away feeling belittled. You may think: “He/she just wants to show how much smarter they are than me.” You may sense that they’re looking down on you, judging or trying to control you. If that is your perception, you probably won’t take to heart what they say.

In all fairness, the other person may really care and want to help, but because of some emotional disconnect, you end up shutting out their words from the very beginning.

Since the people in our lives will listen to us only if they know we genuinely care…

Some simple ways to show caring:

1. Listen.

Before pouring out your wealth of wisdom or advice, ask him or her how things are going in their life or situation. Find out what’s on their heart and what they are going through. To be effective, we must earn the right to speak into a person’s life.

2. Become a good listener.

Don’t just stop at listening. Become a good listener. Make eye contact, responding with caring facial expressions and then well-chosen words. Your body language reflects your concern for their well-being. In fact, your body language often speaks louder than your words. And if the two contradict each other, the other person will pick up on that too.

3. Avoid Distractions.

Avoid distractions like texting, answering the phone or doodling during your time together. Such things send a wrong message, causing the other person to shut down before you even start. In fact, turn your phone off and put it out of sight. Send a message that you’re unavailable to all but him or her. Avoid sitting next to a window that looks on a busy area, so that the two of you can stay focused on your discussion.

4. Don’t rush.

Put aside enough time to truly hear their heart and to speak what’s on yours. Being a good listener takes time. However, be truthful about how much time you have available. You can always agree to another meeting to show that you really care and are willing to see their issue through to its conclusion.

It takes time, energy and commitment to genuinely care for someone, whether it’s a child, a spouse or a friend. What matters most is that we really care about one another. And this matters most to God! “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other… (Ephesians 4:32).” Once people know you care, they will also care enough to heed what you know.

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