The 11 Key Steps to Influence

As a child, long before my interest in relationships, I had an interest in super heroes. I dreamed of being able to shoot lightning bolts from my hands, and having the higher status, independence, and control that super heroes portrayed. Getting the girl would have been nice too.
It wasn’t long before I realized that a Zeus-like control over lightning was probably not in my realm of abilities, but experience taught me that real power depends less on supernatural abilities and more on what people think of you (and are willing to do for you).
Imagine if you had the power to consciously alter what people think. What if people would consistently go out of their way to help you at a moment’s notice?
Books such as, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D., and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, teach us how to develop likeable characteristics and techniques for persuading others – real super powers.
Here are some highlights that you can immediately implement into your life to develop the super power of influence and start winning more at life:

1. Live and Look the Part

People respond to you based on your appearance. Dress appropriately, move confidently, act enthusiastically and passionately, and people will assume you are powerful.

2. Make Yourself Known

Network in your profession, interests, and hobbies by being present and visible at related social and professional events, commenting on related blogs and news sites, and emailing industry leaders to ask questions or to volunteer. Everyone you meet should know what you do, your goals, and your interests. Your visibility equals how much people trust you and view your level of importance.

3. Become or Act Like a Figure of Authority 

Research indicates that people will act against logic and instinct if told to by an authoritative figure. The Milgram experiments demonstrated that when asked to administer electric shocks to another person by an authority figure, 65% of test subjects would continue to administer electric shocks, even though the person appeared to be immense pain and potentially at risk of death.
Of course, I only want you to use your power for good. But the point remains that as you become more of an authority figure you will have more influence.

4. Praise, Make People Feel Important, and Be Positive

People are attracted to what makes them feel good and avoid what makes them feel bad. Give praise freely and avoid direct criticism. In conversation, repeatedly use, and remember, others’ names. Focus your attention on whoever is speaking. When the speaker feels important, he or she views the listener as someone he or she wants to impress.

5. Give to Get 

Do what you want for other people and they will reciprocate (i.e., invitations to social functions, holiday cards, gifts, etc.). Also, asking someone for a large favor that will likely be turned down will increase the chance he or she will say yes to a smaller favor.

6. Convince a Few and the Rest Will Follow

Groupthink occurs when the natural desire for harmony overrides the logical decision making process. The news, media, businesses and especially politics are prone to group think. Target people that have influence with your ideas, and they will spread like wildfire.

7. Pitch Ideas as Missed Opportunities or in Terms of Loss

People are more likely to take risks if they consider what they may lose, than if they consider what they may gain.

8. Limit Options 

The more choices you give to people the less likely it is they will make a decision, and the less satisfied they will be after they make their decision. Less is more when it comes to options.

9. Find Similarities With Everyone

Similarities make people feel connected (names, birthdays, hobbies, goals, weaknesses, specific experiences, etc.). Mirroring (copying) a person’s speaking style, body language, and breathing pattern will instantly create similarities and rapport. Research indicates that simply playing a game with another person for a few minutes can increase feelings of empathy.

10. Always Have a Reason

Always include a reason for doing something. In the famous Xerox study by Dr. Robert Caldini, a researcher asked others if she could cut in line at a Xerox machine to make photocopies. Just using the word, “Because” led to a compliance rate of 93% (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?”), compared to only 60% compliance when asking without a reason.

11. People Want to be Consistent

Gain investment from a person (a promise, previous favor) or label them with specific characteristics (i.e., patient, generous) and they will strive to be consistent with your expectations. For example, restaurant reservation no-shows decreased from 30% to 10% when they stopped telling customers, “Please call to cancel your reservation,” and started asking, “Will you call to let us know if you need to cancel?” If you want someone to return a phone call, leave a message that includes, “I know you’re busy, but you have always been considerate and great at getting back to me, I can’t wait to talk to you soon.”

Go Be Influential

The strength of your ability to persuade the people around you takes time to develop, and is also directly related to the actual strength of your relationships.  Take the time to train and develop your own super powers by focusing on the previous tips, but also by investing more in your current relationships.  Real power and wealth comes from how people perceive you, and the relationships you have in your life.
Read More By Benjamin Ritter on the ManTalks Blog
5 Areas of Your Life You Need to Go Phoneless
You Don’t Deserve Better, You Deserve to Be Better
5 Tips To Dramatically Improve Your Relationship
Benjamin-headshotBenjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, is an interpersonal, dating, and relationship consultant, author of The Essentials, co-host of the Suave Lover podcast, curator of the Interfaith Relationships workshop, and the Values Systems workshop, freelance expert and writer, and healthcare executive. He has years of direct client, personal, and social experiences towards improving and solving internal development, dating, and relationship situations. For more information go to;

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