Top 8 psychological hacks to boost you work and social interactions

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1) Go into any interaction with acceptance and comfort mindset

2) Pay attention to people’s feet when you approach them

If they turn only their torsos and not their feet, it means they are in the middle of an important conversation and they don’t want you to interrupt them. If they turn both torso and feet, it means you are welcome.

3) When arguing, stand next to the person, not in front and move your eyes around

As subconsciously, this might be perceived as confrontational, and thus exacerbate the argument.

4) Show attention and understanding during conversation

  • rephrasing what he/she just mentioned
  • labelling his/her feelings using words (which has deflating and positive effect)
  • mirroring, i.e. repeating his/her words for more clarification/elaboration – animals mirror each other for comfort and to instil trust
  • nodding and using “uhm” and other silent confirming sounds
  • summarise in order to get “That’s right”: this will show that you heard, understood and identify with his/her issue/points and hence the answer “that’s right”
  • ask open-ended questions using “how” and “what”: both give a chance to the other person to elaborate and clarify, which instills further understanding for you and the longer the other person talks, the better he/she feels about you

5) Use silence in conversations

We tend to think silence is awkward. Don’t shy it, let it flow and let the other person or yourself ponder in the silence periods and then continue answering. Silence periods may seem awkward but they induce understanding and bonding.

6) Enrich your conversations

  • storytell: package information into stories and anecdotes (using details of colours, music, tastes, smells, movements, etc) – we are evolutionarily wired to buy into stories and trust those who tell them
  • tone and inflection: no one finds monotone exciting. Switch up your tone of voice from deep for declarative statements, to high inflection when you want to leave them guessing.
  • ask them to guess what happens next: where relevant/possible, this will create engagement and anticipation
  • avoid using “I think” and “I believe” where possible: instead use “I will” and “I know” to show a stronger and more confident footing

7) Use Benjamin Franklin effect

A person who has done someone a favor is more likely to do that person another favor than they would be if they had received a favor from that person. Similarly, one who harms another is more willing to harm them again than the victim is to retaliate.

In social situations, you can hack this by making someone do something small for you, then asking for your true favor. It’s such a small favor that they will say yes, and due to cognitive dissonance their brain will rationalize that they must like you enough to do you a favor in the first place. This is also called the foot-in-the-door effect.

8) Frame your request as a choice

No one likes to feel pressured into doing something they don’t want to do. By subtlety rephrasing a request, you can make the person feel like they came to the decision on their own terms.

Also this insightful blog post on overall work ethic touches on some of these and other psychological factors..

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