A quick Google search gives this definition for influence: “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”
The only way to get things done without imposing your power as an authoritative figure is by influencing others, and if you think about it, it’s a much more effective method. Influencing others is how you get promotions, sell products, and win negotiations.
There are many things to keep in mind if you aim to influence someone’s opinion. They’re all quite easy but require some practice. Try each one individually while hanging out with friends or talking to colleagues and check if you notice a difference in their atitude or behaviour.
‘Mirror’ people’s body language to get them to like you. Mirroring builds rapport. Go a simple step forward and use the same choice of words. Use their tone, hand gestures, facial expressions – heck, go all in and copy their breathing patterns! Actually, copying their breathing pattern is one of the most effective ways of building rapport while communicating. Subtle as it may be, you’ll both be in the same mindset. If the other person is excited, their breathing pattern will be that of an excited person, and if you’re copying it, it’ll make you excited as well. When you’re both in sync, it’s super easy to ‘pace and lead’ – they’re under your influence. Whatever you do, they’ll do as well without noticing. Lean forward and watch as they subconsciously lean forward as well. While you’re in this state, it’s very easy to get them to agree to things or to see things your way. It’s easy to think of it as a dance where you react to each other’s movements.
Focus on what the other person is gaining to get them to agree to your offer. Get them to think about what they’re gaining, not losing. For example, if you’re trying to sell a book, it’s better to say, “I’ll give you my book for $5,” instead of, “I want $5 for the book.” That will make them see things from a more pleasant perspective where they’re gaining something.
The “disrupt-then-reframe” Technique – it’s exactly what it sounds like; confuse the person in front of you to make them more susceptible to your request. It’s a sneaky way to get people to cooperate. One study found that when experimenters went door-to-door selling note cards for charity, they made twice as much more when using DTR. In the study they told people they were selling eight cards for 300 pennies “which is a bargain”, or eight cards for #3. people are distracted while trying to figure out how many dollars 300 pennies comes out to, and so they just accept the idea that the price is a deal. The reason it works is because it disrupts routine thought processes.
Use a “decoy” option to get people to buy your product. Basically what you do to make a person chose the more expensive of two products (or options) is add a third, more expensive product. The third option will have very little or no added value over the second. What that does is it makes the second option look much better in comparison to the third. Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, explained the “decoy effect” using an old Economist advertisement as an example in his TED talk. The ad featured three subscription levels: $59 for online only, $159 for print only, and $159 for online and print. The second option (to pay $159 for print only) is the decoy. Its sole purpose is to make the option to pay $159 for online and print look more enticing.
Use nouns instead of verbs to get people to change their behavior. As humans, we have a very strong need to feel that we belong, so in one study, when people were asked two versions of the same question: “How important is it to you to vote in tomorrow’s election?” and “How important is it to you to be a voter in tomorrow’s election?” the results showed that participants in the “voter” condition were more likely to vote the next day. By using a noun, the subjects of the experiment we made to feel like members of a group.
Timing is everything, and the best time to get a person to cooperate is when they’re tired. A tired person won’t express as much doubt when approached with a request as an alert person, and will usually be less critical.
That’s a lot to take in, but there’s more over here. Test what you’ve learned while talking to friends. See what works for you and what doesn’t. Have fun with it (but not too much fun!).
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