The Minimum Age Required to Influence
A supervisor influenced the company president to change a decision.
An intern influenced a senior designer with a fresh idea.
A millennial persuaded her baby boomer manager to get back into regular exercise.
A son influenced his father to be more patient.
A college graduate convinced an entrepreneur to take a chance and hire him.
A consultant influenced a CEO to modify her opening to a key note address.
These are six real leadership experiences that I’ve witnessed in the last 45 days. They are all examples of how one individual influenced another individual in the pursuit of a positive outcome. In all examples, the influencer is under the age of 28 and there is at least 15 years age difference between the two individuals involved – and in some cases, 25.
This is my point: If you believe that you’re too young to influence at higher levels, you are probably right – because if you believe you can’t, you probably won’t. And clearly, these six individuals mentioned above believed otherwise. If you are wondering how to be more influential with others who are more seasoned, experienced, or have been around longer, give some of these ideas a try:
- Most effective leaders recognize that there is great value in a fresh perspective – don’t forget that your idea (even if it seems like common sense to you) could be just that fresh idea that no one’s thought of.
- Offer your idea; don’t tell your idea like it’s an absolute (be prepared to learn something new that might even change your own perspective.)
- Speak up. And if you’re not sure how, ask someone for advice on how to do so.
- Test your idea against Aristotle’s three means of persuasion: is it, and/or are you, credible (ethos)? Does it make sense logically (logos)? Can you support it with a real story, appealing through emotion (pathos)?
There’s no minimum age requirement for leaders to influence. Start practicing now and often, and be prepared to make a difference.