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Charm Offensive: the psychology of winning people's hearts and minds

Published on: Feb 10, 2016

The author of Persuade offers three tips to help you wield more influence in the workplace

We’d all like to be more persuasive, whether that’s to help us get on better with our colleagues or to improve our rapport with clients. What’s more, we all need to belong – something we achieve through our membership of social groups. In the rest of the animal kingdom, that’s mostly about survival. For humans, belonging to a group helps us to establish our social identity.

By understanding what makes all humans tick, we can work out how to increase our influence in the workplace. My book focuses on our seven “psychological drivers”:

  • The aforementioned need to belong.
  • The need to be loved.
  • The need to feel important.
  • The need to believe.
  • The need for some certainty – and some uncertainty – in life.
  • The need for development.
  • The need for “a place”.

Based on these factors, here are three tips designed to help you enhance your relationships and become more influential:

Make others feel loved and important.

When you see colleagues doing something right, let them know. Remind them that what they are doing matters and encourage them to think that they’re part of something that has a real purpose and a bright future. This should also enhance their sense of belonging and show them that their need for development is being addressed.

Ensure that people believe in you.

If you feel that life is meaningful, you are more likely to be in good physical and mental health. If you believe that, you are much more likely to find true meaning – it’s why placebos work. So the next tip is to ensure that your colleagues believe in you. Be reliable, trustworthy and honest.

Help colleagues through uncertainty to achieve their goals.

While we need some certainty in our lives, we don’t need to know everything – it’s about having things to look forward to. If we know exactly how our future is mapped out, the fun and interest evaporate. But if we dread tomorrow because there is too much uncertainty, we become unhappy. So ask your colleagues what they are unsure about and show them that you care if they are concerned that there are too many unknowns. And we all want more – that’s why you are reading this: for your development. Some people want more money, some want more recognition, some want more freedom. Ask people what they want more of – and whether you can help them to obtain it.