3 Weird Tips for Instant Influence

3 weird tips for instantly increasing your influence

I spend a lot of time browsing online to research stuff that might help women lead, climb and thrive in their corporate careers.

From time to time, I find odd bits of information that wouldn’t fit neatly into a corporate leadership training program, but are intriguing, nonetheless.

So in the spirit of those internet ads promising “one weird trick to reduce your belly fat”, here are three weird tips for instantly increasing your influence.

1. Wake up to a power pose

Harvard Business School associate professor Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk about body language has gathered over 16 million views, popularizing the power pose—the “Wonder Woman” stance. Use your power pose before a meeting, and you’ll pump up your confidence and be perceived as more authoritative.

When the New York Times checked in with Cuddy last September, she had been examining the effect of sleeping sprawled out versus curled up. “Early results show that people who arise with arms and legs extended feel brighter and more optimistic than the 40 percent who start the day in a fetal position,” wrote David Hochman, for the Times.

So if power posing during the day is too much effort, you can now do it in your sleep!

And if you wake up, like I do, to the realization that you’ve been sleeping in a less influential posture (doh!) it’s not too late. Just make a manspreading move. Cuddy says “Open yourself up like the guy on the subway taking up too much space, and soon enough you’ll feel like a happy warrior.”

2. Be an energizer

Be an energizer! That’s the message shared by Robert L. Cross and Andrew Parker in their book, The Hidden Power of Social Networks. Cross and Parker discovered that “…those who energized others are much higher performers.”

They also found that these “energizers” are better at persuading others to act on their ideas, for example when seeking a colleague’s support for an initiative or getting a client to make a purchase. “Our results suggest that those who energize others may be more likely to be heard and have their ideas put into action,” say the authors.

But the influencing tip here is not what you’d imagine: Being an energizer is not about being the most entertaining, charismatic or intense individual in the room. According to Cross and Parker, “Rather, they bring themselves fully into an interaction.”

Want to influence others to take action? Be fully present and focused when you interact with them.

3. Use the most powerful word in the English language

In his article Are You Using the Most Powerful Word in the English Language? Jonathon Goodman wrote:

“In Robert Cialdini’s must-read book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he describes a study done by Langer et al. Langer would approach a stranger in line waiting to use the Xerox machine and say, ‘Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?’ In this instance, 60% of people allowed Langer to bud the line. Not bad considering the abrasiveness and absurdity of the question. There were two more trials though and what resulted from this study is both fascinating and powerful.”

In the next two trials, Langer was able to vastly improve his chances of influencing the outcome by including one specific word. That word is “because,” and it didn’t even matter if the statement that followed made a whole lot of sense. For example, adding “… because I have to make copies” to the above statement about using the Xerox machine was as effective as adding “… because I’m in a rush.”

The addition of the word “because” led to a 33% increase in results. To understand more about why, I recommend reading Cialdini’s book. It’s a gem.

The Takeaway

So if you lack the time or inclination to read a book or take a class on influencing, you’ve now got three handy shortcuts. Be fully present in your interactions with others, sleep (or wake up) in the Wonder Woman pose, and say “because” when you want to increase your influence, because although they are three of the weirdest influencing tips out there, it can’t possibly hurt to try them.

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Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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