Put Your Influence Skills on an Upward Spiral
What is the best way to influence someone?
According to Rob Yeung, author of I is for Influence: The New Science of Persuasion, simply telling people what they should do is an almost guaranteed way to get them to refuse to do it. If you plead with your partner, for example, to take out the garbage, you’ll probably find your request falling on deaf ears. Offering someone rewards may also fail. Why? Because the reward may enhance motivation in the short term, but when it is removed, the person no longer wants to do the task. So what is the best way to influence someone? It’s better to focus on the intrinsic nature of the work, such as the satisfaction they will get from doing it.
What is the most important factor in effectively exerting influence?
Body language is probably one of the biggest factors in influencing people. Do you spend time polishing what you’re going to say, but forget about your body language? If so, shift your focus. One study found that about 80% of the impact business people giving presentations had was nothing to do with the words they chose. Rather, their greatest influence came from how they held themselves, their gestures and tone of voice.
What are some other key strategies in the art of persuasion?
To make a huge request, start by making a very small one. This is called “the escalating enquiry,” and is the principle behind many mail-order firms. Here’s how it works. The mail order firm asks you to spend just $10.00 or place one order. Once you’ve made it, it’s like they’ve shattered a psychological barrier and accepting a bigger request doesn’t seem that much of a big deal. In everyday life, if you ask someone for five minutes of their time, they’re much more likely to agree than if you ask for 45 minutes. Another strategy is to ask someone to imagine they’re doing something. For example, if you state, “Imagine yourself getting the clothes from the dryer and folding them,” they’re more likely to do it than if you just asked.
Influence is a learned skill. When you master the strategies of effective influencers, you tap into your ability to create the outcomes you desire. Master influencers also know, however, that they are not in their control zone. You can never make another person do, say or feel something. It is always the other person’s choice. Try these strategies because they work – not always but often. And when they don’t, recognize that you gave it your best shot and move on to Plan B. That’s POWER Optimism in action.
Source: Psychologies Magazine, October 2011, p. 34.