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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Influence People and Make Them Feel Good

How to Influence People and Make Them Feel Good

Most discussions on how to influence people eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction: building strong relationships for positive influence.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams not through brute force, but through careful appeals to their sensibilities.

Using these tactics, they can use positive influence others to guide others towards excellence, productivity, and success, impacting the world one person at a time.

Carnegie’s book is great, but there are other resources, too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is that learning how to influence people is about centering on the humanity of others.

Chances are you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars and having positive impacts. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

Here are some tips on how to influence people in a positive way.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, you need to be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique in order to start making a positive impact on others.

Discover your unique take on an issue, and then live up to and honor that. One of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctively appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

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Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and, thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positive influence on others.

If you’re not sure how to discover your own sense of authenticity, you can try Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment. It can help you identify the areas where your life may be falling short and causing you to feel inauthentic.

2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I was a good listener, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s point of view, character, desires, and needs.

To learn how to influence people, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported, and seen. If a person feels they are invisible and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening and being genuinely interested in them meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance, which builds positive energy.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area where you want to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. However, it is unwise to argue over facts, and experts come with facts.

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4. Lead With a Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials, and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and well-told story can be.

If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail.

A story told in the right way can be the perfect way to grab hold of someone’s emotions, which can help you as you learn how to influence people positively.

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who give their all day in and day out.

Case in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6th all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double, becoming the first woman to do so. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention, and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to use positive influence is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates, and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions. Show them you are interested in other people’s success, as this will positively impact all of the personal and professional relationships you set out to create. Making an impact on someone’s life is as easy as offering a compliment. 

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7. Be Effusive With Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “to do” list; they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are. This is key when learning how to influence people.

This inevitably has a positive influence on those around you. Remember that a person who feels appreciated will be more willing to go above and beyond with anything you request of them.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego.

However, in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people and arouse resentment in others. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to dealing with people via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset, but your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat, and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted, and if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional, and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional, and cooperative needs[1].

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Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to learn how to influence people, operate from your sphere of influence, your place of expertise, and leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack-of-all-trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot use positive influence on others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to influence people is about centering your humanity. If you want to utilize positive influence, focus on the way you communicate, and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself. Get comfortable with your uniqueness first, and then get out there and influence others.

More Tips on Influence

Featured photo credit: Evangeline Shaw via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Center for Creative Leadership: Influencing: Learn How to Use the Skill of Persuasion

More by this author

Jennifer R. Farmer

An author and trainer specializes in helping socially-conscious entrepreneurs, celebrities and activists

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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