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7 Scientifically Proven Ways To Increase Your Influence

7 Scientifically Proven Ways To Increase Your Influence

I got a chance to interview Udemy.com Instructor and Lead Human Behavioral Investigator Vanessa Van Edwards. Her mission in life is to help you become the most memorable person in the room. She refers to herself as a recovering boring person who was uninterestingly bland. So she turned to science to overcome her dilemma.By using current research out of academic institutions and research organizations around the world, she’s able to share the latest people science in an actionable, applicable and un-boring way.

1. Connect with people emotionally

According to Vanessa’s research, she’s discovered that if you want to intrigue and influence people you have to get their dopamine pumping. Dopamine is that pleasure/reward area in our brain that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. She says you need to be relentless about stimulating that part of the brain, if you want to influence someone. A great way to do that is by having excellent conversation starters handy. Two that she always uses is, “What was the best part of your day and what was the worst part of your day?” or “What personal passion project are you currently working on right now?”

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2. Be emotionally curious

When you make others feel important, your influence goes a long way. All of us want to be liked, loved and accepted. When you fulfill that need for others, you are perceived by them as being influential. Dale Carnegie once said, “To be interesting, you have to be interested.” So be genuinely interested in other people. A great way to become interested in people is to ask them open-ended questions. Get them talking about themselves and that will help increase your rapport with them.


3. Use Confident Body Language

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Researchers at Harvard Business School, according to Vanessa’s Udemy.com class conducted a study wanting to know if a person’s body language could affect other people’s opinions of them. It turns out that it can. Low power body language is normally contracted, with the shoulders rolled with one’s head down or bowed. High power or confident body language is expansive. The head is held high, the arms are loose, shoulders are back and the chest is out. When you manifest power body language you are seen as more influential. Confident body language not only affects the way others see you, but it also affects the way you see yourself.

4. Tell a Story

Our brains are hard-wired for stories. When we hear stories, our brains feel like we are right there with the other person. It’s like you are experiencing the story along with them. Do you see the potential of how influential this could make you? When you tell a story, the brain of the other person is in sync with you. If you can stimulate the other person’s brain with a story, you can in effect get them on your side. Vanessa suggests creating a story toolbox. This toolbox should consist of relevant and thought-provoking stories you can tell at any time when you’re with people. Then after you tell the story, follow it up with some interesting questions. She suggests, “What was your most challenging moment and how did you overcome it?” or “When did a person, situation or moment turn out differently than you expected?

5. Be Vulnerable

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Being open about your emotions actually increases your likeability and influence. People perceive you as being real when you admit to weaknesses or flaws. They are better able to relate to you. Vanessa suggests sharing a vulnerable story from your story toolbox. By doing this you not only tell a great story but you are being vulnerable as well, so it doubly increases your influence.

6. May I ask a favor?

According to Vanessa’s Udemy.com class, whenever you ask someone for a favor, you are perceived more positively. It turns out that asking for help is one of the best things you can do to be seen as an influential person. It is known as the Franklin Effect. So freely ask for help in the form of advice, other people’s opinion and their guidance.

7. Become Charismatic

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Who is the most charismatic person you know? Why did you pick that person? Most likely you chose that individual because of the way that person makes you feel. According to scientific research, most people don’t remember what a person looks like or what they may have said. They remember how the other person made them feel. Charismatic people make others feel good. Vanessa gives three non-verbal ways to up your charisma quotient. When talking to someone, she says you should tilt your head, your torso should be aligned with theirs and lastly, your toes should point toward them. As Dale Carnegie said, when you show you are interested in other people, you become more interesting.

Featured photo credit: Thomas8047 via flickr.com

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meiko patton

Founder - Never Ever Give Up

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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