If you can convince others of your ideas, it can have a positive impact on your professional success.
In order to be able to have a certain influence on others, you do not necessarily have to have a deep friendship with the whole team.
According to author and professor Amanda Neamon-Peters, you can improve your persuasion abilities by prioritizing emotion over logic and making use of working from home.
It is important to have a certain level of influence in the workplace. Your professional success can sometimes depend on this – for example, if you have to make a team, want to impress colleagues with your idea, or need help mastering a difficult task. However, being able to make an impact at work doesn’t mean you have to be close friends with the whole team.
According to Amanda Neamon-Peters, professor of behavioral sciences at Hult School of International Business and author of the forthcoming book Working with Impact, improved persuasion in the workplace can build a type of social capital that you can draw on later.
“It’s not about getting people to do things they don’t want to do,” she said. “You should set yourself the goals and successes that you strive for and then think about how others can help you achieve those goals.”
Finding common ground
We are often better able to convince others of our ideas if we are friends with them. However, this does not mean that you have to form deep friendships with every colleague. In each team there are people with different personalities and not all of them have to be in harmony in private life.
“We are known to be influenced by the people we love,” says Nemon-Peters. “However, not everyone has to like you to convince them of something,” she adds. “Scientific research shows that people just need to feel a sense of belonging to be more open to other people’s ideas.”
For example, a 2008 study of high school and college students found that more people completed questionnaires handed out when the name on the cover letter resembled the recipient’s name. This automatically created a sense of belonging. The same study, led by Randy Garner, a professor at Sam Houston State University, showed that people were more likely to empathize with a fictional character than a book if they had a name similar to the interviewee. So finding common ground and developing a sense of belonging among colleagues can greatly increase your reputation in the workplace.
Emotions are more important than logic
However, the way we try to convince others of something is often ineffective. In doing so, we give the other person as many rationales as possible to do what we ask them to do,” says Nemon Peters.
“However, most people do not make their decisions rationally, but emotionally. They do what makes them feel good.” A 2017 meta-analysis that examined 49 studies of influence methods found that forms of rational belief were effective only about 12 percent of the time.
Instead of telling others why the decision made sense, you should make people feel that something is the right thing to do. “People turn to emotion and reward,” says Nemon-Peters. “They do things because they think they will benefit emotionally and physically.”
Home office is your friend
Working in different locations can make personal communication in the team and thus exerting influence more difficult. According to Nimon-Peters, this also has advantages because you are forced to act strategically.
“When you meet in the office, you talk in real time,” she said. “You have to be able to think quickly. Although you can plan in advance what you want to say to someone else, being able to do it face to face is another matter.”
“When you write an email or put together a presentation that is shared through an online medium, you are in control of what you want to say and show to elicit certain emotions,” says Nemon Peters. So you can use this to your advantage – thus increasing your impact.
This text has been translated from English. You can find the original here.