Most people think influence comes with power, authority, experience, and position. It is true that these factors may affect your influence, but I have found they are not the most relevant.

INFLUENCE IS ALL ABOUT COMMUNICATION. Communication is the very foundation of influence. However, when discussing the subject of communication the topic of influence rarely comes up.

The impact of communication on influence becomes even more significant when one considers we can not communicate. Virtually everything we do professionally and personally communicates a message and therefore IMPACTS (positively or negatively) our ability to INFLUENCE others.

Authors Boone and Kurtz in Contemporary Business estimate that leaders, “spend about 80% of their time (6 hours and 24 minutes) of every eight-hour day in direct communication with others – whether that’s on the phone, in meetings, email, or in one-on-one conversations.”

Technology, social media, and internal communications tools like Slack are not helping the cause. There is a time and place for abbreviated text like “thx” and “LOL,” but they are not part of influential communication.

Hopefully, this is a reminder for all of us to objectively check our communication skills. What I have learned to be true is that communication refers to the whole package – your words, your presence, your messaging, and your non-verbal cues.