In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the concept of influencing up – in other words, being able to influence those in power in a corporate setting. One of my mentors, award-winning professor Tatiana Kolovou at the Kelley School of Business helped organize the following three steps on “influencing up”.

Since TH3RD BRAIN is an independent business, I don’t need to influence up the ladder internally. However, the skills of being able to make an impact on even the most powerful or more senior executives is essential to building a great career.

Here are three steps you can take to ensure you make a lasting impact on those who inspire you or are able to make a difference for you and or your artists’ careers.

1) Be respectful

Influencing up requires you to always be respectful. Show up on time having done your research. Has this person affected the industry in a powerful way? Do they have history you need to be aware of? Is there a current event involving them in the news? Knowing answers to the above will help you ask open-ended questions. Show interest and get to know them. If possible, always let them talk first – I wrote about the power of listening a few days ago – Remember, if you are talking, you already know what you are going to say, but if you are listening, there is an opportunity to learn.

2) Establish credibility, but don’t boast

When you do get your chance to talk, use relatable and credible references. When possible, bring value to the other person and the conversation itself. You can mention mutual friends if you have any or tell entertaining stories that display youthful or innovative ways for how you create opportunity. You don’t have to quote your own experience to share knowledge or be recognized for your greatness.

3) Follow Through

After the meeting, you can add value by sending a key introduction. Only send if you know it will be valuable to both people – do not assume. If you don’t have an important introduction to make, not to worry – There are other ways to add value too! Sometime in the next few weeks, you can send an article on a key area of interest you discussed in your time together or even a handwritten note acknowledging the other person. Keep it short, sweet, authentic, and heartfelt. If you’re writing a note and the words are not coming easily to you, pick it up at a later time. Keep it genuine or don’t do it at all. 

In my career, I’ve noticed all three steps are critically important to building great business relationships, especially with mentors.

It’s quite easy to schedule a meeting and show-up for it, but it takes another level of future leader to be respectful, credible and reliable. Influencing up involves bringing value to a professional relationship. Follow these three steps and become the future of business.

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