10 Ways to Magically Influence People
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Any man in a leadership role knows how important it is to exert influence over others. Influencing people can sometimes be a challenge and, like anything, there are certainly right and wrong ways to do it. Shouting and making threats is an ultimately ineffective way of truly wielding influence. In fact, research suggests that making threats significantly decreases one's chances of influencing people. Truly influential people are ultimately respected and well-liked because they wield their influence with subtlety: Here are 10 highly effective yet subtle ways to influence people.
#1 Rational Persuasion
In a business environment, one of the best and most effective ways of subtly exerting one's influence is by using 'rational persuasion.' Rational persuasion is the calm use of logical arguments and factual evidence to persuade the person being influenced that a proposal is viable and therefore should be carried out. This can also be applied to virtually any aspect of your life. For example, if you want to go on vacation to Las Vegas but your girlfriend would rather spend her time with you in Paris, sit her down and calmly and rationally explain to her that during this tough economic period, a drive to Las Vegas is much less financially draining than expensive plane tickets to Europe and therefore, Las Vegas is the more viable option. The use of rational persuasion is supported by scientific studies on strategies that ultimately lead to commitment.
Humans, like many other animals, place great emphasis on the importance of colour and what it can tell us. Predators in the animal kingdom use colour to distinguish threats and, in a similar way, humans subconsciously perceive certain signals from different colours. There is such a thing as 'colour strategy' in the marketing world wherein the psychological value of each colour and what signal is emits is taken into account when formulating a new product or advertisement. For example, a marketing company may use a lot of red in an advertising campaign because it is the colour that the eye perceives quickest. In addition, research suggests that heart rate, respiratory rate and the frequency of eye blinks all increase when a subject sees red in stark contrast to blue, which has a more calming effect. In addition to its relaxing nature, blue is a colour that is favoured by men and tends to represent surpassing oneself, loyalty, trust and authority: all the qualities that one would expect in an influential figure. And indeed, psychological evidence and studies on trust suggest that if you want to successfully influence others, wearing lots of blue will help.
#3 Perceived Competence
Convincing others of your competence doesn't simply mean saying: "trust me, I know what I'm talking about"; if anything, that makes people less likely to have confidence in your judgment. Research already tells us that perceived competence is an important factor of influence and unfortunately for women, inaccurate gender stereotypes generally cause people to perceive women as less competent and less suitable for managerial roles than men. Men usually don't have to battle these misinformed stereotypes but often have to reassure people of their abilities. One of the most effective ways of doing this is not by monitoring what we say, but rather how we say it: studies have shown that speaking steadily with few hesitations and stumbles in addition to avoiding indirect and mitigated language makes you appear more competent and, by association, more influential to others. The frequent proper use of large words in your common speech also helps drive the appearance of competence and thereby raises your influential ability. It is also interesting to note that studies have shown that a beard can lower perceptions of your competence but when paired with glasses or a bald head, a beard has a positive effect on competence ratings.
#4 Word Choices
Nothing is more powerful than language: it is an abstraction that can exert a strong influence over people and their actions. This is especially important in the English language which has a particularly large vocabulary when compared to other languages around the world: where one language has only one word to express a certain meaning, English may have five or six. Many words in English may have similar, but slightly varied meanings, so it can be important to choose the right word when it comes to conveying the right message. For example, "bossing" and "oversee" are two English words with similar meanings, yet their use in a sentence can produce very different results. If you were to say to someone in a junior position at work "I'm your boss", you may incite a negative reaction from the person being spoken to. By using the term "boss," you are elevating yourself to a higher level and, by association, lowering them. If you were to say: "I'm just overseeing this project," the meaning you're trying to convey is essentially the same: you are the person in charge and therefore a person of influence. The difference is that by using the word "oversee" rather than "boss," you are still emphasizing your position of authority without alienating those around you.
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