Well, manipulate is a strong word. So why did I include it? To manipulate you into opening this of course. There is no manipulation here. Just some simple, easy-to-implement psychological hacks.
What you want to do is to make people see things from your perspective and make them understand why your point is the valid one. This is easier said than done. People simply don’t want to change their opinions or attitudes simply because of their ego.
So here we have some small ways that can help you achieve this.
Get people to accept your ideas
Picture this. You have a fantastic idea that you’re pitching to your colleagues. Everyone seems to think it’s a creative idea. Except, there is one holdout. There is always one. That one headstrong chap that refuses to acknowledge that you’re perfectly capable of original ideas. How do bend this person to your will?
The deviously simple trick is to make them think that it was their idea too!
That’s right. When proposing your idea, always ask for suggestions and inputs from people you know are difficult. Get them involved in the creative process and listen to their suggestions. This will cause them to take ownership of the overall idea as well. They will begin to support your idea because it’s their idea too, right? Nobody will even see it coming.
Of course, beware of idea theft. With some clever cunning some people might try to take complete credit for your idea, but this is very unlikely.
Another hack is to nod your head while pitching your idea. The hack is that the brain prefers congruency and people will most likely mimic you behaviour. In a way, you are priming them to accept your pitch.
Get people to reveal more information
This one is a classic used by most detectives on TV shows. The trick is to not ask closed questions if you want to extract information. Closed questions are ones to which the answer can be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Instead, ask open ended questions.
For example, instead of asking your child is she ate the ice cream ask her “What did you do after I left you in the kitchen?” This way, she is likely to even reveal some details that you may have not noticed initially.
More examples? Sure. Interrogators don’t usually ask the perp if they are guilty of something or not straightaway. Instead, they ask, “What were you doing on the night of so and so?”
In a nutshell, start your questions with When/Why/What/Who/How and you’ll get longer answers.
This strategy is often used successfully by cold callers too.
Sometimes this can only get you a partial answer. In those cases all you need to do is to wait. Stretch out the tension while staring them in the eye. Eventually, they will try to break it and start talking again. They may try to change the subject, in which case revert to asking more open ended questions.
Get people to like you
Ever notice how your grumpy dad who always said no to a dog, but over time her grows very fond of the dog? Well, this is what dogs do on a daily basis to ‘manipulate’ people into liking them.
It’s common sense that people like people who like them. What you don’t realise yet is how to use this to your advantage.
Simply greet the person cheerfully every time you see them. They will register this in their mind as you liking them. Which means that they will also start to like you. There’s a reason why everyone likes the cheerful guy in your office and this reason is called Reciprocal Liking.
Whether you actually like the person or not is irrelevant. You can fake a smile, can’t you? Well, fake it till you make. The upside of this method is that you will trick your brain into actually liking that person as well. And more love is exactly what the world needs.
Another hack to remember is best said by a quote attributed to Maya Angelou. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
That’s right. Make people feel better about themselves and they will remember it more than what you actually said to make them feel that way. Emotions stay with you for a long time and are embedded in your subconscious. The next time the person meets, their subconscious recalls that feel-good feeling.
This kind of emotional manipulation is also what the media uses to manipulate to make people hate an idea or a person. They use strong language that invokes a strong negative emotional response within you. Facts be damned.
Get people to do work for you
It’s every parent’s nightmare to get their kids to do household chores. You can’t blame the kids. They simply don’t enjoy doing it. Can you manipulate people to enjoy doing things for you? I don’t think even hypnotising them will work.
As Sterling Archer would say, “Phrasing!” How you phrase your request will determine how likely people are to respond to it positively.
Instead of telling someone to do something for you, ask for their help instead. This again ties in with the first trick. By asking them for their help you’re making them take responsibility for the chore.
Instead of, “Tommy, go do the dishes”, try, “Tommy, when you’re done with dinner, I need your help in the kitchen.” And when Little Tommy shows up, tell him you could use his help washing the dishes. Be sure to thank him after to reinforce this behaviour.
Positive reinforcement works wonders if you want someone to feel good about helping you. Reward people when they do something nice for you and it’s likely they’ll enjoy doing nice things for you.
The most in-depth, approachable book written on the topic of persuasion has to be Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Rather than just list the persuasion strategies and explain them, the author manages to sell it to you.
Bonus hack: Get answers quickly on the internet
This is something most of us have faced. We encounter a simple problem on our computer and are unable to find a solution for it. You turn to a reputed online forum that is know to answer these type of questions and post your conundrum. And then…**crickets**
Nobody is responding. Why? Doesn’t matter. People will respond, just that they will respond whenever they feel like. Or maybe the resident expert is not online and other don’t want to give it a try. But you want the answer now!
Instead of asking “How do I do XYZ in SuperTechSoft 2.0,” ask, “To do XYZ in SuperTechSoft 2.0 I did so and so.” Of course, you don’t know what you’re talking about. But I can guarantee you that within the hour you will be flooded with answers correcting you. It’s quite interesting really. People will go to any length to prove an internet stranger that they are wrong.
This is the basis for 90% of mud slinging that we see on social media.
So there you go. Some psychological hacks that will make your miserable existence a bit more bearable.
If you want to use some hacks to stop smoking then I written an article on that as well. Thank you.