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Influencing People Using Psychology Tricks

22nd July 2016

A quick word… it’s important to note that none of these influencing tips fall under what we might call the ‘dark arts’ of influencing people.

Anything that might be harmful to someone in any way, especially to their self-esteem, is not included here.

These are ways to win friends and influence people using psychology.


Here are the 5 Top Tips to influence others:


  1. Get a favour

Trick: Get someone to do a favour for you.

Legend has it that Benjamin Franklin once wanted to win over a man who didn’t like him. He asked the man to lend him a rare book and when the book was received he thanked him graciously. As a result, the man who had never wanted to speak to him before, became good friends with Franklin.

Once a person has done you a kindness, they will be more ready to do you another.

Scientists decided to test this theory and found that those who were asked by the researcher for a personal favour, rated the researcher much more favourably than the other groups did.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the theory is pretty sound. If someone does a favour for you, they are likely to rationalise that you must have been worth doing the favour for, and decide that therefore, they must like you!


  1. Aim high

Trick: Ask for a lot more than you actually want at first, then scale it back later.

You start by throwing a really ridiculous request at someone – a request they will most likely reject. You then go back shortly afterwards and ask them for something much less ridiculous – i.e. the thing you actually wanted in the first place.

This trick may also sound counter-intuitive, but the idea behind it is that the person will feel bad for refusing your first request, even though it was unreasonable, so when you ask for something more reasonable they will feel obliged to help out this time.

Scientists tested this principle and found that it worked extremely well as long as the same person asked for both the bigger and smaller favour, because the person feels obliged to help you the second time and not anyone else.


  1. Names

Trick: Use a person’s name, or their title depending on the situation.

Dale Carnegie, the author of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, believed that using someone’s name was incredibly important. He said that a person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language for that person.

A name is the core part of our identity, and so hearing it validates our existence, which makes us much more inclined to feel positively about the person who validated us.

Using a title, or form of address can also have strong effects, according to the ‘as if’ principle.

The idea here is that if you act like a certain type of person, you will become that person – it’s a bit like a self- fulfilling prophecy.

To use this to influence others, you can refer to them as what you want them to be, so they will start thinking of themselves this way.

This can be as simple as calling an acquaintance you want to be closer to “friend,” or “mate” whenever you see them, or referring to someone you want to work for as “boss.”


  1. Flattery

Trick: Flattery will actually get you everywhere.

This one may seem obvious at first, but there are some important caveats to it. For starters it’s important to note that if the flattery is not seen as sincere, then it’s going to do more harm than good.

Researchers have studied the motivations behind peoples reaction’s to flattery, and found some very important things. They found that people tend to look for a mental balance, trying to always keep their thoughts and feelings organised in a similar way.

So if you flatter someone who has high self-esteem, and it is seen as sincere, they will like you more, as you are validating how they feel about themselves.

However, if you flatter someone who has low self-esteem, there is a chance it could backfire and cause them to like you less, because it interferes with how they perceive themselves. That, of course, does not mean you should put down a person with low self-esteem!


  1. Mirroring

Trick: Mirror their behaviour.

Mirroring is also known as mimicry, and is something that we do naturally and subconsciously.

People with this skill are considered to be chameleons; they try to blend into their environment by copying other people’s behaviours, mannerisms and even speech patterns. However, this skill can also be used consciously, and is a great way to make you more likeable.

Researchers studied mimicry, and found that those who had been mimicked were much more likely to act favourably toward the person who had copied them.