7 Sneaky Influence Tactics You Never Saw Coming 1

How people disguise their efforts to flatter and ingratiate

By Dr. Adam Grant in Psychology Today

Early in life, when people wanted to influence us, they got away with flattery and conformity. By complimenting us and agreeing with our opinions, they buttered us up and got what they wanted. As we gain experience with coworkers and bosses, advertisers and marketers, and friends and family members, we become wiser. We recognize these thinly veiled ingratiation attempts, and they fall flat.

Like a virus that mutates after being neutralized by medicine, many people have responded by developing more sophisticated weapons of influence. These stealth strategies are harder to spot, and if we’re not aware of them, we fall for them.

To learn about these tactics, strategy researchers Ithai Stern and James Westphal surveyed and interviewed thousands of members of the corporate elite. They asked CEOs, top executives, and board members at some of the world’s largest companies how they got away with ingratiating without making others suspicious of their motives. Seven consistent strategies showed up:

1. Framing flattery as likely to make us uncomfortable

Many executives admitted to prefacing compliments with disclaimers:

  • “I don’t want to embarrass you, but…”
  • “I know you won’t want me to say this, but…”
  • “You’re going to hate me for saying this, but…”

People get away with this sneaky tactic for two reasons. First, it disguises the goal: if the aim was to ingratiate, we expect people to focus on making us feel good, not bad. Second, it portrays us in a positive light: We think we’re viewed as modest.

2. Framing flattery as advice-seeking

Executives reported couching compliments in advice requests. Rather than saying “I really admire your success,” one executive asked an influential colleague, “How were you able to pull off that strategy so successfully?”

This makes it seem as if others are trying to learn from us, not ingratiate. As Jack Herbert put it, “We all admire the wisdom of people who come to us for advice.” Let’s face it: They have really good taste.

3. Complimenting us to our friends

When people compliment us directly, one manager noted, it’s “kind of obvious brown-nosing.” Instead, if they say nice things about us to our friends, “we will almost always find out about it eventually, and it will mean a lot more.”

When people speak glowingly about us behind our backs, we’re often pleasantly surprised that they were talking about us, let alone praising us. It also appears more genuine, because they’re putting their reputations on the line by telling others that they think highly of us.

Article continues here:  Sneaky Tactics

Six Simple Steps to De-Escalate a Tense Situation Reply

President John F. Kennedy sitting in a “figure-four” stance; generally viewed as a distancing or “barrier” position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Chris Simmons

Previous posts have addressed the principle that emotions – not logic – are the core drivers in any decision. As such, when engaged in a discussion wherein tensions are rising, you can quickly lower stress levels by using these simple forms of nonverbal communication:

(not in priority order)

  • Change the angle of your body vis-à-vis your counterpart.
    • Shift your stance so your torso is not parallel to his/her upper body (i.e., you’re not “squared off” as in boxing).
    • If standing, cross your legs.
    • Tilt your head during the discussion.
  • Concede space, by either stepping back or leaning back.
  • Lessen the frequency and length of eye contact.
  • Avoid “barrier” behavior, such as crossed arms or a figure-four sitting position.
  • Take a deep breathe and audibly exhale. This gesture gently expresses your frustration while concurrently calming you and those around you.
  •  Enjoy a “change of scenery” together. Take a short walk or go get something to eat or drink.

In every human interaction, the majority of one’s message is conveyed nonverbally. Thus, rather than telling someone you want to defuse a tense situation, show them. Given our reliance on visual cues, “show, don’t tell” always achieves faster and more effective results.

A “Cheat Sheet” For The Art of Negotiation 1

By Chris Simmons

Negotiations come in all shapes, sizes, and intensities. While bargaining with a spy is very different from negotiating a home purchase or buying a car, many of the core tactics remain the same. Simple to master and easy to remember, these practices will help you get more out of any negotiation.

PREPARATION

  1. Understand that negotiations are rooted in emotional “wants,” not rational “needs.” For example, do you really “need” a 455 HP Corvette? Know what the other party truly wants. What is it that you need? How big is the gap between what you want and what you need?
  2. Identify the personal and cultural biases and quirks of the other party. Develop a plan to circumvent their biases or exploit weaknesses in their perceptions (for example, you may want to use a female negotiator in a male-dominated industry).
  3. Have an opening position, a “target” or ideal position, and a bottom line.
  4. In general, plan to address the easier issues first as a means of building momentum. The longer you negotiate, the harder it is for many people to walk away.
  5. Since most communication is nonverbal, one team member should focus on watching the behavioral cues of the other party.
  6. Remember, threats have no place in a negotiation, no matter how hotly contested.
  7. When possible, avoid allowing your decision-maker to get involved once the negotiations are underway. This maximizes your bargaining position and leverage by intentionally limiting your negotiator’s authority.
  8. Ideally, have a single spokesperson, but allow any team member to call a caucus, and caucus often.

“IN THE ROOM”

  1. Never be afraid to walk away from a negotiation – and ensure the other party knows you will if discussions sour.
  2. Operate from the perspective that everything is negotiable.
  3. Never accept their first offer.
  4. Nothing is free; every concession you offer is an exchange for something you want. Use “Yes, if…” in your discussions to reinforce the perception that the issue is not yet decided. Derail any outrageous offer by making your “if” so severe, that YOU decline the offer & counteroffer as unacceptable to both sides.
  5. Your initial offer should be at the upper limits of what is reasonable.
  6. Use sharply tapered concessions to gain momentum and show “good faith” effort. Make very small concessions as you near the end. Many individuals and groups follow a pattern known as the “Rule of Halves.” In this technique, each concession is roughly – but never precisely – half of the previous offer. If you are pushed below your target goal, intensify the theatrics by pushing hard for every point; seeking to split the difference; and offering no major concessions.
  7. Be patient.
  8. Always be on the lookout for creative concessions to offer.
  9. Be sensitive to any outside issue that seems to arise unexpectedly, as it could be a real issue.
  10. When the deal is almost done, ask for one more concession. This is known as a “nibble at the end.”
  11. Everything is conditional — until settled at the conclusion.
  12. When asked “is this your bottom line?,” answer with words to the effect “This is a fair offer/competitive offer/etc.”
  13. Ensure the other party feels satisfied with the outcome. Note: “Win-lose” negotiations are viable only in one-shot opportunities where no long-term relationship is sought (e.g., buying a car, house, etc).

 

Tali Sharot: The Optimism Bias Reply

Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side — and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.

Optimism bias is the belief that the future will be better, much better, than the past or present. And most of us display this bias. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot wants to know why: What is it about our brain that makes us overestimate the positive? She explores the question in her book The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. 

In the book (and a 2011 TIME magazine cover story), she reviewed findings from both social science and neuroscience that point to an interesting conclusion: “our brains aren’t just stamped by the past. They are constantly being shaped by the future.” In her own work, she’s interested in how our natural optimism actually shapes what we remember, and her interesting range of papers encompasses behavioral research (how likely we are to misremember major events) as well as medical findings — like searching for the places in the brain where optimism lives. Sharot is a faculty member of the Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences at University College London.

The Focused Leader Reply

by Daniel Goleman, Harvard Business Review

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Attention is the basis of the most essential of leadership skills—emotional, organizational, and strategic intelligence. And never has it been under greater assault. If leaders are to direct the attention of their employees toward strategy and innovation, they must first learn to focus their own attention, in three broad ways: on themselves, on others, and on the wider world.

Every leader needs to cultivate this triad of awareness, in abundance and in the proper balance, because a failure to focus inward leaves one rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders one clueless, and a failure to focus outward may cause one to be blindsided. The good news is that practically every form of focus can be strengthened.

The author of Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, and many other books on the power of cultivating awareness explains why focus is crucial to great leadership. Focused leaders can command the full range of their own attention: They are in touch with their inner feelings, they can control their impulses, they are aware of how others see them, and they can weed out distractions and also allow their minds to roam widely, free of preconceptions.

Read the complete article here:  The Focused Leader

The “X-Y” Theory of Motivation Reply

By Chris Simmons

American psychologist Douglas McGregor detailed the X-Y theory in his 1960 book, The Human Side of Enterprise.” While some recent studies question the inflexibility of his work, X-Y is still widely used in addressing organizational motivations and culture. McGregor suggests management styles are a simple choice between authoritarian or participatory approaches. Furthermore, Theory X (dictatorial) managers will generally experience poor results while their Theory Y (engaged) counterparts see better individual and organizational performance because of the opportunities to grow and develop.

Theory X Assumptions (Authoritarian Management)

  • The average person inherently dislikes work and will avoid it if possible.
  • Because most people dislike work, they must be coerced into striving towards an organizational goal.
  • The average person avoids responsibility, has little or no ambition, desires security over all other things, and prefers to be task-directed.

Theory Y Assumptions (Participatory Management)

  • Work is satisfying.
  • Physical and mental exertion at work is as natural as play or rest.
  • Coercion is not the only way to motivate people to work. When committed to a cause, people willingly use self-direction and self-control to achieve a goal.
  • One’s commitment is tied to the value of the perceived reward for achievement.
  • People seek and accept responsibility and will do the job based on their perception of the job’s priority.
  • The ability to solve organizational problems using ingenuity, creativity, and imagination is widely – not narrowly – found among the general populace.
  • The average person’s intellectual potential is only partially realized.

For all those currently suffering under a Theory X boss, read this offering from businessballs.com on surviving an authoritarian manager

How to Demotivate Your Employees in 4 Easy Steps 3

By Chris Simmons

Many managers, supervisors, and leaders around the world are skilled in a classic “blunder cluster” known as The Four Methods of Demotivation. These time-tested methods are virtually guaranteed to increase employee dissatisfaction, send annual turnover into the double-digits, and decrease productivity. Note: Methods are NOT necessarily listed in order of demotivational effectiveness!

1. Subvert decisions. This practice is so common that employees who haven’t been “bypassed” by a supervisor are considered “endangered species.” Managers can also issue orders to subordinates that contradict guidance provided by that individual’s immediate supervisor. Done often enough, the undercut supervisor starts deferring decisions to upper management, leaving the employee confused about who is in charge.
2. “Shooting From The Hip.” Supervisors can also stifle motivation by making a decision on a newly-presented problem “on the spot.” Done correctly, hip-shooting is inaccurate, ineffective, and includes employees who should have NO say in either the problem or its solution.
3. Making what should be a collective decision, alone and in advance. In this scenario, the supervisor seeks input from those employees responsible for implementing a decision, impacted by a decision, or simply whose insights would be informative. Subsequently, employees come to understand that the solicitation was an empty gesture and as a result, offer little commitment to the endeavor.
4. Interfering. Delegation is supposed to put projects into the hands of people qualified to execute them. These qualified subordinates are then supposed to be held accountable for the project. However, for those managers unwilling to let go, interfering is best implemented by issuing clarifications, providing periodic follow-on instructions, requiring impossible suspenses and demanding an unreasonable number of status reports.

Note to all newly promoted supervisors and managers; please understand that this is a weak attempt at sarcasm and not a policy document recommendation.

The Immediate Trust-Building Power of Reciprocity Reply

By Chris Simmons

Earlier this month, I shared The Manipulative Power of Reciprocity. Now, I’d like to revisit this topic and discuss how reciprocity is legitimately used to create and build rapport and trust. As noted in the original post, reciprocity is a highly effective persuasive tool. As such, it can be used to quickly gain influence by following this time-tested technique.

Begin by sharing something personal with the other party. That said, discretion is the key to success. Share too much and the other individual runs off screaming “TMI!!!!” Worse yet, you’ve lost all credibility because now he/she doubts your mental state for having shared so much with a complete stranger. The personal story you confide must be pertinent to the experience both parties are sharing at that precise moment. In doing so, you’ve demonstrated your trust in them and triggered a psychological need for reciprocity.

Your new friend is now drawn emotionally and psychologically closer to you and will generally respond by sharing something personal about themselves. This can unleash the real power behind psychological reciprocity because the more you share, the deeper you trust. As a result, complete strangers can rapidly find themselves in a legitimate bonding experience.

Reciprocity even works with reserved individuals, although the approach must be much more indirect. In this scenario, begin with questions about abstract issues like his/her thoughts on the ghost tours given in a nearby town or a new restaurant that opened nearby. The conversation-adverse party will generally answer the queries because they are perceived as nonthreatening and seemingly impersonal. In reality, one’s opinion is actually a deeply personal issue. As such, their sharing prompts the reciprocity effect, but on a slower path than in a “normal” setting.

Exercise caution in using reciprocity in this fashion. These approaches are not appropriate, or even possible, in all situations. Instead, view them simply as some of the many available options for building trust and enhancing rapport.

Body language: The Power is in The Palm of Your Hands Reply

Allan Pease is an Honorary Professor of Psychology at ULIM International University, who researches and studies selling relationships and human communication. He teaches simple, field-tested skills and techniques that get results. And he delivers his message in a humorous way, which motivates people to want to use. Allan’s own experience and record in the field of selling, motivating and training is equaled by few others. He is a born achiever, starting his career at the age of 10. Globally known as “Mr Body Language,” his programs are used by businesses and governments to teach powerful relationship skills. His messages are relevant to any area of life that involves winning people over and getting them to like you, co-operate, follow you or say ‘yes.’