How to increase your sphere of influence

How to increase your sphere of influence

Two women speaking to a seated audience.
Family, friends, colleagues and communities near and farther afield... how big is your sphere of influence?

We all have the power to influence others — to help bring about positive change. The things we say and do, what we decide to spend our money on, the campaigns we support, where we cast our vote… there are loads of ways you can maximise your influence and increase your reach.

Your ability to influence can be likened to the ripples that appear when you drop a pebble into a pond — they keep spreading and reach far beyond the point of impact. By recognising your sphere of influence, you can identify ways to engage with new audiences and individuals that can help you with your projects and ideas, so you can target your efforts at the right point.

Have a go at exploring your own sphere of influence by completing the following quick exercise.

To do this you will need:

  • A cuppa and a biscuit — essential for concentration!
  • A big piece of paper
  • A piece of tracing paper
  • Two different coloured pens

Start by thinking about the three things below:

  1. What is your sphere of influence at the moment? Who and what are you able to influence? You’ve probably got more influence than you think.
  2. Now think about what you would ideally like it to be. How would you like to increase your influence and why?
  3. And finally, have a think about what the current barriers to making this a reality might be.
​Draw your ripples

Take your paper and one of the pens and, imagining yourself as the pebble in the middle of a set of ripples, draw your current sphere of influence.

Add names

Using the ripples, add the names of people and organisations within your sphere and plot them close to you where you have a lot of influence (for example friends and family), and further away where your influence is less strong (perhaps a local council or government body).

​Show where and how

Using the other colour, illustrate where and how you would like to see your influence extended. Who do you know well, that might help you influence someone else? Who would you like to be able to engage with, but currently have no way to access?

Trace the barriers

Now place the tracing paper over your drawing and mark where you think the barriers to progress might be. Is the problem that you don’t know how to access someone or something, or is it that you don’t feel confident or able to…?

Overcome the barriers

Think about how you might overcome these barriers and write this down on the tracing paper. It might mean joining a new group, writing a letter, or simply being brave enough to ask someone something.

You may find it useful to keep both sheets and refer to them in the future to assess how much progress you've made.

Now that you've identified who you need to talk to and what you need to do or ask, see our tips on how to connect with people.