The human brain is a complicated organ, and there are a lot of neat psychological tricks you can use to fool it into doing your bidding. Whether you are dealing with employees or employers, parents, children, or even yourself, these eight psychological tricks can all help you to achieve your desired outcome.
1. Small gifts can have a big effect.
If you want someone to do something for you, offering them a small gift can have a big effect on their attitude toward you and your request. This could be something as simple as offering coffee to workmen you have hired. Various studies have shown that offering a small gift to people will make them much more receptive to your requests and make them more likely to put more effort into any work they do for you.
2. There are subtle ways to stop someone from talking.
Sometimes people get saddled with co-workers who simply do not know when to stop talking. If this happens to you, there are a few little psychological tricks you can use to bring the conversation to a quick finish. You could try deliberately dropping something and then bending down to pick it up, as this distracting tactic will make people instinctively stop in the middle of a conversation. Another neat trick that works particularly well with people who come to your office or workspace for an unwanted chat is to stand up and walk with them back to their own workspace. The other person will often sit down and go back to work instinctively when they have been brought back to their workspace, freeing you up from having to converse with them.
3. Being wrong on the internet gets better responses than asking for help. (It works face to face to and in emails too.)
People love to point out when they are right and somebody else is wrong, especially when they are using the internet. This trait can be annoying, but it can also be used to your advantage. When you need some information, you are more likely to get a prompt correction if you say something wrong, rather than asking for help or demanding they do something. Playing to their ego and making them feel important always will get you great results. Who does not want to feel important?
4. Use a passive voice to avoid blaming people for things.
It is human instinct to get defensive when you have been accused of doing something wrong, even if you know it is completely your fault. Therefore, when problems arise, it can be helpful to use a passive voice so that is does not sound like you are blaming the person you are talking to for causing problems. For example, instead of saying ” you did not send a message,” you could say “the message did not get sent.” It is amazing how much difference this little change in your sentence structure or wording can make.
5. Spend a short amount of time on tasks you do not feel motivated to do. See our 5 minute productivity life guide here.
It is easy to procrastinate when you feel unmotivated. This can lead to difficult or unpleasant tasks never getting done. A good psychological trick you can play on yourself to overcome this issue is to tell yourself that you will just spend a short amount of time working on the problem. If you still want to get up in 5 minutes, you will have made more progress than you would have done by doing nothing at all. However there is a good chance that once you start doing the task, you will carrying on with it for longer than you originally intended.
6. Give someone a choice between two tasks.
If you want someone to help you do something but you are worried they will not do it, a good psychological trick is to give them a choice between two different tasks, or doing a task in two different ways. For example, if you want help with washing dishes, you might say, “Do you want to wash or dry the dishes?” Similarly, you can ask someone something like, “Which detergent would you rather use to wash dishes?” This creates an illusion of choice and makes someone far more likely to carry out your wishes. You are telling and asking all in the same sentence.
7. Ask for something bigger than the thing you really want.
A another neat trick that can be used to get something from someone else is to begin by asking for something from someone far great greater than the thing or task you want. For example a child may ask a parent for a pony instead of puppy. When your ridiculous request is refused, you can then suggest something smaller as a compromise. The person you are negotiating with will often feel they are getting a much better deal than they would have otherwise, as they feel like you have reduced the magnitude of your request.
8 Use silence to your advantage.
Silence makes people feel uncomfortable, and they will often start talking to fill the gap. Silence can work well to get someone to admit something or to offer you an improved deal. The silence prompts them into speaking to try and alleviate the uncomfortable feelings silence brings, even if it means talking themselves into a much worse position.
These psychological tricks can all help you get what you want. Being aware of them should also help you understand when people are trying to do the same type of tricks on you!