How to Win Friends and Influence People – Even as an Undergrad

By the SMU Social Media Team

Being influential could mean a whole array of things: To be popular, persuasive, charismatic and to stand out are all aspects of being an influential individual. Well beyond having an enviable number of followers on Instagram, traits, like being able to hold a conversation with anyone, exuding charisma, and commanding the right kind of attention, are crucial for excelling in the world.

Want to learn how to make waves on the social front? Here are 3 common traits shared by top influencers and student clubs at SMU that can help you build on them.


1. They Are Not Afraid to Speak Up

The easiest way to command plenty of presence is by expressing yourself and your ideas confidently and effectively in front of audiences. SMU Toastmasters helps you do exactly that. Get over your fear of public speaking while building up your self-confidence at this club, which is filled with individuals who want to help students “speak with a difference”.



Another club to check out if you want to win over friends and…just about everyone else is the SMU Debating Society. Need we say more? Learn to form a compelling argument and be a convincing orator through this intellectual hobby. (Read also, 15 Minutes to Kill? Let’s Debate!)


2. They Are Well-connected 

Lone rangers rarely find success. In fact, top industry leaders often credit the teachings of mentors they have met along the way. It certainly doesn’t hurt to build a network of influential connections.

There are many groups in SMU that help students reach out to key industry experts. Learn what the real working world is like through networking with actual industry professionals and graduates, and take this chance to ask them about the soft and hard skills needed to excel in the industry.

SMU Marketing Society (SMarketing), for example, is the perfect go-to platform to discover the multifaceted world of marketing. With a host of corporate partners and connections across different industries, you’ll find many opportunities to rub shoulders with the industries’ finest through networking nights, company visits, and workshops organised by SMarketing. Don’t miss out on their CMO Council Mentorship Programme which offers one-to-one mentoring by senior marketing decision makers from the Chief Marketing Officer Council.


SMU Marketing Society

Company visit to Carousell. (Source: SMU Marketing Society Facebook page)


For budding entrepreneurs and anyone with a passion for business building, SMU Real Business is a great platform to learn what it takes to build a successful start-up. The club, which prides itself on being “the most accessible, connected, and enterprising business venture club in SMU”, offers opportunities to hear from real entrepreneurs as they share tips, setbacks and inspirations from their personal experiences.



3. They Are Givers

Some of the world’s top influencers often share this similar trait – think Ghandi, Mother Theresa and the Obamas. The ability to rein in one’s personal self-interests and give with no strings attached is a highly respected trait. The mark of a true influencer is one who understands the effects of paying it forward and the lasting impact it can have on society.

Whether your hope is to become a social entrepreneur, humanitarian worker, or just to lend a helping hand, clubs such as SMU Caretalyst – a student-managed community service club started in 2008 – is a great first step to making a difference.


SMU Caretalyst

SMU Caretalyst team at MINDSville (Source: SMU Caretalyst Facebook page)