Whether trying to convince a customer, change your boss’s mind, or get your neighbour to finally trim their trees, we’d all like to be a little more influential.
Here are 4 tips, based on Invisible Influence to increase your impact.
BE A CHAMELEON
Trying to get a job or turn your first date into a second? We can subtly imitating the language, behavior, or facial expressions of others eases interactions. Mimicry increases liking, trust, and affiliation. It makes negotiators more successful like increasing waiters’ tips by 70%. So don’t just listen; emulate. If an interviewer leans back on their chair and crosses their legs, do the same. If a client starts emails with “Hey” instead of “Dear,” adopt that language. Subtle shifts can deepen social bonds and turn strangers into allies.
MAKE CONSENSUS VISIBLE
In many group decision making contexts, people are looking to others to figure out what to do. So to sway the group your way, build consensus for your side and make that support easily observable. Nobody likes waiting in line, yet people often flock to restaurants or attractions that have lines out the door. Why? Because they assume if others are doing something it must be good. So build your own virtual line of backers. Find people who already agree with you, and use their support to convince those on the fence. Start with the easiest to persuade and build from there. Let the next person know that the first person already supports it. The more people know others support you, the easier it will be to convince them.
BE DIFFERENT...JUST NOT TOO DIFFERENT
Pitching a new product or idea is tough. If the new thing seems too different from existing practice (e.g. the Segway or Drones), people may worry that it will require a big shift in behavior or be difficult to implement. If the thing seems too similar to existing practice, though, people will wonder why they need to buy or do something new. But in between is just right. Similar enough to be familiar but different enough to seem new. So pitch like Goldilocks (of Three Bears) and make things seem optimally distinct. If the product or idea is extremely novel, cloak it in a skin that makes it seem more familiar. If the thing is too similar, give it a new shell that highlights its points of difference.
Ever hear a new song on the radio and hate it, only to find yourself tapping your feet to that same tune just a couple weeks later? Familiarity leads to liking. The more we hear or see something, the more they like it. So use that same principle to increase your own influence. Want someone to like you? Walk by their office every so often, or try to run into them at lunch. Just like that song on the radio they’ll start to like you more, without even realising why.