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7 Psychological Tricks That Make You A More Persuasive Person

7 Psychological Tricks That Make You A More Persuasive Person

Maybe you need to persuade a friend to go on a holiday with you, a colleague to see your point of view or get your boss to give you that promotion. You may have to close a sales deal, counsel somebody to avoid self-harming behavior or persuade someone to do you a favor. Whatever the situation, you will need to be more persuasive.

Magicians and advertisers are using hidden persuasion techniques and manipulative tricks which are rarely obvious. The only problem is that they are not so willing to reveal these so we will have to resort to more mundane hacks which are nevertheless more than effective.

Choosing your words carefully will be an enormous advantage. But body language and other tactics will help you to deliver your message or present your case much more effectively. Here are 7 tricks you should keep in mind when you want to be more persuasive.

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1. You use emotional intelligence (EQ)

Not many people realize that emotion al intelligence is the innate ability we may possess to recognize, understand and manage emotions. This is a powerful tool in persuading people to convince them that certain actions are no brainers. Martin Luther King Jr. and his speechwriter Clarence Jones knew this very well. It was a clever combination of indignation, reason, anger and hope. Just reflect on the emotions he aroused when he said that a land “sweltering with the heat of oppression” could be “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”

In normal situations, you will demonstrate your EQ by showing social awareness by being conscious of the emotions and feelings of the people you are dealing with. This helps you to empathize and you show that you see where they are coming from. It helps you build a rapport and a stronger bond which are essential elements in the process of persuasion.

2. You use body language effectively

Albert Mehrabian is current professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California and he has done extensive research on non verbal communication. His work shows that when words fail to convince or persuade, body language wins the day and will be the more effective way of communication. That is why it is so important to pay attention to the way we stand, sit, talk, use eye contact and how we wave our arms about!

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Imagine trying to persuade someone to vote for an issue in a referendum. You may spout a slogan with arms folded, no eye contact or mumble something unclearly. It is obvious that the person will notice your body language much more and will neither be impressed nor persuaded.

3. You prefer face to face contact

You might be tempted to use an email to make a difficult request or a phone call. But when it comes to being more persuasive, nothing beats face to face contact. Next time, take a walk down the corridor and talk to the person rather than using the phone. It is also good exercise! In politics, there are lots of studies that show that face to face contact is the most effective method of all in persuading people to vote for a candidate or cause.

4. You know the power of touch

There are lots of studies on how the power of touch can influence and persuade people whether in personal relationships or in business. We know that waiters will be tipped more if they learn the art of unobtrusive touching. There are research studies on shoppers who were touched who spent more time in the store and bought more! Time and time again, studies show that the power of touch tends to put people in a better mood and has a powerful healing effect. Touching makes people more open to requests and persuasion. While this is powerful, you need to be aware that certain cultural and religious customs might regard it as an intrusion. It is also very interesting to reflect on the fact that the healing power of touch has almost always been avoided by psychotherapists.

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5. You know the power of active listening

Persuasive people are not great talkers, they are great listeners. It works almost every time. Why? Well if you want to persuade, you must first find out how likely they are to accept your idea or request. Then, you have to find out whether there are any obstacles, objections or doubts. The most important thing of all is to be ready when you spot the openings for agreement which is when you will go for the kill and capitalize on it. Above all, you are in a stronger position when you know the other side of the argument. It pays to listen!

6. You know how fast to speak

In a fascinating study done by the University of Michigan, researchers found that the rate of speech when persuading was an important, and often, overlooked factor. Speech rates, pitch and fluency were all measured in telephone interviewers where they were trying to persuade people to take part in a survey. The optimal speed of speech was about 3.5 words per second which is moderately fast. Also, the interviewers who built in 4 or 5 pauses every minute were more successful. Speaking too quickly was perceived as being suspicious (the classic fast talker!). Speaking too slowly gives the impression of being too pedantic or less intelligent. Also, researchers found that being too lively and enthusiastic was off putting in many cases.

7. You are aware of the value of flexibility

If you are trying to persuade somebody to do something, think like you or buy from you, you are aware of the enormous benefits flexibility can bring. We can learn from young children here who have a variety of behaviors which usually help them get what they want. They can go though the usual list of crying, sulking, bargaining, pleading and even charming you before you give in and give them what they so desperately want. Parents always say “No” which is often ineffective. The lesson we can learn from this is that we need a more flexible approach as regards behaviors when we are involved in the persuasion process. Being open minded and never dogmatic will also help enormously.

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As we have seen, the art of persuasion is a fascinating area. Let us know in the comments if you have perfected the art with some examples, if you are willing to share them!

Featured photo credit: April Lewis and Carol French lead a discussion about emotional intelligence/Oregon Department of Transportation via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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