Influence vs. Impact: Know the Difference
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on November 13, 2023
Influence is the capacity to affect character, development, or behavior, while impact is the strong effect on something or someone.
Influence often works behind the scenes, quietly altering the perception or direction of others, such as a mentor influencing a student’s career choice. Impact is more forceful and observable, as in the case of a technological innovation's impact on communication methods.
Influence typically refers to the power to affect, guide, or shape the behavior, development, or decision-making of someone or something, while impact denotes a clear and often strong effect or change that has occurred as a result of an action or event. Influence can be subtle and pervasive, whereas impact is direct and significant.
Influence operates through persuasion, suggestion, and inspiration, potentially over a longer period, such as cultural influence shaping societal norms. Conversely, impact is the immediate and measurable effect of an action, like a new law's impact on the economy.
One can exert influence by setting an example or through leadership, thereby indirectly causing changes in attitude or approach. Impact, however, is the result of direct action, like the impact of a natural disaster on a community.
The scope of influence is generally broader and may not always lead to visible changes, while impact is concrete and can be quantified, such as the environmental impact of deforestation on local wildlife.
The power to change or affect someone or something
The strong effect that something has on a situation or person
Suggestive and often indirect
Direct and significant
Can be long-term and subtle
Often immediate and observable
Not always quantifiable
A leader’s influence on public opinion
The impact of a policy on employment rates
Influence and Impact Definitions
The power to affect the course of events.
Her speech had a profound influence on the audience.
The force exerted by a new idea, concept, or technology.
The smartphone's impact on communication is immense.
A person or thing that has the capacity to have an effect on someone.
His mentor’s influence inspired his career path.
The consequential effects following a significant event.
The hurricane’s impact on the economy was severe.
An ethereal presence that shapes outcomes.
The artist's influence is evident in the student’s work.
A marked influence or effect on something, often sudden.
The new evidence had a dramatic impact on the trial.
A power affecting a person, thing, or course of events, especially one that operates without any direct or apparent effort
The pervasive influence that TV has on modern life.
Young people falling under the influence of a radical philosopher.
The strong effect or impression made by something.
The novel made a significant impact on my thinking.
Power to sway or affect based on prestige, wealth, ability, or position
Used her family's influence to get the job.
The collision of two objects.
The meteor's impact created a large crater.
A person who exerts such power
My parents considered my friend to be a bad influence on me.
The striking of one body against another; collision.
A determining factor believed by some to affect individual tendencies and characteristics understood to be caused by the positions of the stars and planets at the time of one's birth.
The force transmitted by a collision.
Factors believed to be caused by the changing positions of the stars and planets in relation to their positions at the time of one's birth.
The effect or impression of one person or thing on another
Still gauging the impact of automation on the lives of factory workers.
To have an influence on (something); change
A news report that influenced the outcome of the election.
To pack firmly together.
To change the behavior or thinking of (someone); sway
Negative ads that are intended to influence voters.
To strike forcefully
Meteorites impacting the lunar surface.
The power to affect, control or manipulate something or someone; the ability to change the development of fluctuating things such as conduct, thoughts or decisions.
I have absolutely no influence over him.
To have an effect or impact on
"No region ... has been more impacted by emerging ... economic trends" (Joel Kotkin).
An action exerted by a person or thing with such power on another to cause change.
I'm not able to exercise influence over him.
To have an effect or impact. See Usage Note below.
A person or thing exerting such power or action.
He has been a great influence on the voters during the elections.
The striking of one body against another; collision.
(astrology) An element believed to determine someone's character or individual tendencies, caused by the position of the stars and planets at the time of one's birth.
The force or energy of a collision of two objects.
The hatchet cut the wood on impact.
(obsolete) The action of flowing in; influx.
A forced impinging.
His spine had an impingement; L4 and L5 made impact, which caused numbness in his leg.
(electricity) Electrostatic induction.
A significant or strong influence or effect.
His friend's opinion had an impact on his decision.
Our choice of concrete will have a tremendous impact on the building's mechanical performance.
(transitive) To have an effect on by using gentle or subtle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias, or sway; to persuade or induce.
The politician wants to influence the public.
I must admit that this book influenced my outlook on life.
(transitive) To collide or strike, the act of impinging.
When the hammer impacts the nail, it bends.
(intransitive) To exert, make use of one's influence.
(transitive) To compress; to compact; to press into something or pack together.
The footprints of birds do not impact the soil in the way those of dinosaurs do.
To cause to flow in or into; infuse; instill.
To significantly or strongly influence or affect; to have an impact on.
I can make the changes, but it will impact the schedule.
A flowing in or upon; influx.
God hath his influence into the very essence of all things.
To stamp or impress onto something.
Ideas impacted on the mind.
Hence, in general, the bringing about of an effect, physical or moral, by a gradual process; controlling power quietly exerted; agency, force, or tendency of any kind which affects, modifies, or sways; as, the influence which the sun exerts on animal and vegetable life; the influence of education on the mind; the influence, according to astrologers, of the stars over affairs.
Astrologers call the evil influences of the stars, evil aspects.
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
She said : "Ah, dearest lord! what evil starOn you hath frown'd, and poured, his influence bad?"
To drive close; to press firmly together: to wedge into a place.
Power or authority arising from elevated station, excelence of character or intellect, wealth, etc.; reputation; acknowledged ascendency; as, he is a man of influence in the community.
Such influence hath your excellency.
To affect or influence, especially in a significant or undesirable manner; as, budget cuts impacted the entire research program; the fish populations were adversely impacted by pollution.
To collide forcefully with; to strike.
To control or move by power, physical or moral; to affect by gentle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias, or sway; to affect; to move; to persuade; to induce.
These experiments succeed after the same manner in vacuo as in the open air, and therefore are not influenced by the weight or pressure of the atmosphere.
This standing revelation . . . is sufficient to influence their faith and practice, if they attend.
The principle which influenced their obedience has lost its efficacy.
Contact or impression by touch; collision; forcible contact; force communicated.
The quarrel, by that impact driven.
A power to affect persons or events especially power based on prestige etc;
Used her parents' influence to get the job
The single instantaneous stroke of a body in motion against another either in motion or at rest.
Causing something without any direct or apparent effort
The striking of one body against another
A cognitive factor that tends to have an effect on what you do;
Her wishes had a great influence on his thinking
A forceful consequence; a strong effect;
The book had an important impact on my thinking
The book packs a wallop
The effect of one thing (or person) on another;
The influence of mechanical action
They resented the impingement of American values on European culture
One having power to influence another;
She was the most important influence in my life
He was a bad influence on the children
The violent interaction of individuals or groups entering into combat;
The armies met in the shock of battle
Have and exert influence or effect;
The artist's work influenced the young painter
She worked on her friends to support the political candidate
Press or wedge together; pack together
Shape or influence; give direction to;
Experience often determines ability
Mold public opinion
Have an effect upon;
Will the new rules affect me?
Induce into action by using one's charm;
She charmed him into giving her all his money
The ability to sway someone's decisions.
The critic’s influence can determine a play’s success.
The act of changing aspects of culture or thought.
Technology's influence on society is undeniable.
Repeatedly Asked Queries
Can influence be negative?
Yes, influence can be either positive or negative.
Is impact always obvious?
It’s usually clear and noticeable.
What is meant by influence?
It’s the power to affect others' actions, beliefs, or decisions.
What is meant by impact?
A marked effect or change resulting from an action.
Is influence always intentional?
Not necessarily; it can be unintentional.
What is the result of influence?
Changes in behavior, opinion, or decision-making.
Can impact be measured?
Yes, impact is often quantifiable.
How is influence exercised?
Through leadership, persuasion, or example.
Is every influence impactful?
Not all influences result in a tangible impact.
How quickly does impact happen?
Impact can be immediate or develop over time.
Can someone’s words have an impact?
Absolutely, particularly if they lead to significant change.
Does impact require action?
Yes, it's a response to an action or event.
Can impact be controlled?
While one can attempt to manage it, impact often contains elements beyond control.
Can influence lead to impact?
Influence can set the stage for impactful outcomes.
What areas can impact affect?
It can affect physical, social, economic, or environmental areas.
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Written byShumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.