Characteristics of Influential People (Part I)

Just re-read a book I wanted to pass along to you. It’s called, The Influentials, by Ed Keller and Jon Berry. If you care about leveraging positive influence on others, you’ll enjoy their insights. In the book they document the type of person who carries great influence in America. Their research says that 1 in 10 people pretty much influence others where to eat, how to vote and what to buy. They are the people that others listen to, watch and follow their lead.

Keller and Berry call these folks “The Influentials.” While I was intrigued by much of their research, I was especially drawn to the conclusions about what qualified a person as an “influential.” What is the make-up and personality of an “influential?” According to nationwide Roper Research, the following qualities sum up these influential persons. I plan to blog about the list today and tomorrow. Here are the first 6 qualities:

1. They are able to sort out and define what matters.
These influentials can sift through all the noise and clutter, and determine what’s important. Then, they follow through on what they believe are the top priorities. They don’t get lost in the mundane.

2. They are more optimistic than the average person.
Influential people believe the future is bright and consequently, they plan to engage in it. Their dreams are bigger than their memories, and they live with the hope of an amazing 21st century.

3. They are selective and discriminating in their choices.
People listen to these influentials because they scrutinize their decisions, skeptical of empty promises in the media. They’re not Pollyannas. They’re discerning as they plan what to do or buy.

4. They are authentic; they don’t just follow the norm but think for themselves.
These influentials don’t merely follow he crowd. They carve out a life that suits their identity, and aren’t afraid to live a life that is a bit different than mainstream society.

5. They are good listeners and are very teachable.
According to research, these influentials list good listening skills as a high goal for themselves, especially if they’re in leadership positions. Although they know a lot, they listen to learn more.

6. They believe in God and are active in serving their communities.
More than the average person, influentials believe in God and claim to have a relationship with Him. Consequently, they are active in serving voluntarily in their communities and churches.

If you’re like me, you’ve thought about this issue. Let me hear from you. Is it right or wrong to want influence? Should people focus on following well, and let leadership take care of itself?

Or if we should cultivate our influence, do you have any characteristics to add to this list? What are the characteristics you believe make a person influential?


Characteristics of Influential People (Part I)