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.
You want to make people see things from your perspective and make them understand why your point is the valid one. Of course, this is easier said than done. People don’t want to change their opinions or attitudes simply because of their egos.
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 refuses to acknowledge that you’re perfectly capable of original ideas. So how do you bend this person to your will?
The deviously simple trick makes 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 requests. This will cause them to take ownership of the overall idea as well. They will begin to support your opinion because it’s their idea too. Nobody will even see it coming.
Of course, beware of idea theft. Some people might try to take full credit for your idea with some clever cunning, but this is very unlikely.
Another hack is to nod your head while pitching your idea. Again, the hack is that the brain prefers congruency, and people will most likely mimic your behavior. So 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 not to 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 if she ate the ice cream, ask her, “What did you do after I left you in the kitchen?” This way, she is likely to reveal some details that you may not have 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. Finally, they may try to change the subject, in which case they revert to asking more open-ended questions.
Get people to like you
Ever notice how your grumpy dad always said no to a dog, but she grows very fond of the dog over time? Well, this is what dogs do daily to ‘manipulate’ people into liking them.
It’s common sense that people like people who like them. Unfortunately, you don’t realize how to use this to your advantage.
Greet the person cheerfully every time you see them. They will register this in their minds as you like them, which means they will also start to like you. There’s a reason why everyone wants the cheerful guy in your office, and this reason is called Reciprocal Liking.
Whether you like the person or not is irrelevant. You can fake a smile, can’t you? Well, fake it till you make it. The upside of this method is that you will trick your brain into actually liking that person. 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 said to make them feel that way. Emotions stay with you for a long time and are embedded in your subconscious. So 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 make people hate an idea or a person. They use strong language that invokes a strong negative emotional response within you. Facts are 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 don’t enjoy doing it. Can you manipulate people to enjoy doing things for you? I don’t think even hypnotizing them will work.
As Sterling Archer would say, “Phrasing!” How you phrase your request will determine how likely people 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 behavior.
Positive reinforcement works wonders if you want someone to feel good about helping you. Reward people when they do something nice for you, and they’ll likely enjoy doing nice things for you.
The most in-depth, approachable book written on persuasion has to be Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Rather than list the persuasion strategies and explain them, the author manages to sell them 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 cannot find a solution. You turn to a reputed online forum known to answer these types of questions and post your concern. And then…**crickets**
Nobody is responding. Why? Doesn’t matter. People will reply, just that they will react whenever they feel like it. Or maybe the resident expert is not online, and others don’t want to try it. 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 you will be flooded with answers correcting you within the hour. It’s pretty interesting. People will go to any length to prove to 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 will make your miserable existence a bit more bearable.
If you want to use some hacks to stop smoking, I wrote an article on that. Thank you.