Influence. In a word, it’s what the social world is really made of and a critical part of our everyday lives. What if you knew some decorative, office tips to enhance your influence without others even knowing what you’re doing? The work of psychology provides numerous examples of how you can improve your odds at influencing others. Here I provide a few tips to enhance your influence, specifically your likability.
Research has shown that people make extremely quick assessments of whether you are a “threat or a friend.” In fact, this happens BEFORE you are even consciously aware of the others’ true intent or character. This is the result of years of evolution, directly related to the “Fight or Flight” phenomenon. Before we’re even aware of what we’re confronting, we have a sense of “I’m OK”, or “I’m not OK”. Subconscious activity is faster than conscious activity.
What if there were some way to instill a particular thought in someone’s mind before you even say a word? Good news: There is!
Research has shown that priming can go a long way toward influencing your perceived ‘warmth’ with very little effort.
Priming is the act of presenting various cues that will enhance the likelihood of some subsequent reaction or behavior. Magicians use this quite a lot.
Let’s look at a few examples that can influence your perception.
I’m a genuine, engaging and warm person.
Offer a warm cup of coffee, tea or cocoa. Research shows that by offering a warm cup prior to meeting someone, folks are much more likely to consider them a genuine, sincere and, well – warm – individual. It really works.
I’m an inviting, playful and friendly person.
I use this one with my coaching clients (if appropriate). Set out some candy and other playful toys in your office. These send a signal that you are inviting, generous and not too serious. Keep it professional – you don’t need to have a playground or candy shop, just some easy items for others to sample. If you’ve ever been referred to as “too serious” or “intense”, this is a nice way to soften your image.
I care deeply about you and others.
This one also involves office décor and should be part of nearly everyone’s routine. Lay out a few photos of your significant others. Keep them simple, i.e., I didn’t say put out a few hundred. Two or three desktop photos of your family or friends will show that you are a real person – not just an office ‘stooge’.
The common element among all of these is feelings. Feelings really matter – they even influence thoughts (substantially, too).
By establishing an environment that feels warm, playful, caring you will not only be priming others, you’ll be priming yourself to actually be these characteristics.
There you are, psychology at work.
It really matters.