12 Mind Tricks That Make People Like You and Help You Get Ahead
By Dr. Travis Bradberry
When you’re working hard and doing all you can to achieve your goals, anything that can give you an edge is powerful and will streamline your path to success.
Mind tricks won’t make you a Jedi, but using the brain’s natural quirks to your advantage can have a positive impact on everyone you encounter.
None of these tricks are deceitful or disingenuous, except for number six, and I trust that you’ll only use that one with good reason.
As soon as you become aware of these 12 tricks, they start popping up wherever you look. With minimal effort on your part, their unconscious influence on behavior can make a huge difference in your day-to-day life.
1. When a group of people laughs, each member of the group can’t help but make eye contact with the person they feel closest to
This trick can make you an astute observer of relationships of all types. It can tell you which members of your team are bonding and learning to trust one another, just as easily as it can tell you if you might have a shot at landing a date with a certain someone. Of course, you’ll learn a lot about how you feel about other people just by paying attention to whom you make eye contact with.
2. When someone does a favor for you, it actually makes them like you more
When you convince someone to do you a favor, they unconsciously justify why they are willing to do so. Typical justifications include things such as “he’s my friend,” “I like him,” and “he seems like the kind of person who would return the favor.” These justifications serve you perfectly. Not only did you just get help with something, but the other party also likes you more than they did before.
3. Silence gets answers
When you ask someone a question and they’re slow to respond, don’t feel pressure to move the conversation forward. Remaining silent plays to your advantage. Moments of silence make people feel as though they should speak, especially when the ball is in their court. This is a great tool to use in negotiations and other difficult conversations. Just make certain you resist the urge to move the conversation forward until you get your answer.
4. Open hands and palms create trust
There’s an employee policy at LEGOLAND that says whenever someone asks where something is, the employee “presents” (open-palm gesture) their directions instead of “pointing” them. This is because the open-palmed gesture conveys trust, making people more likely to agree with what you’re saying and to find you friendly and likeable. Pointing, on the flip side, is generally seen as aggressive and rude.
5. Nodding your head during a conversation or when asking a question makes the other person more likely to agree with what you’re saying
The next time you need to win someone over to your way of thinking, try nodding your head as you speak. People unconsciously mirror the body language of those around them in order to better understand what other people are feeling. When you nod your head as you speak, you convey that what you’re saying is true and desirable, and people are more inclined to agree with you.
6. If you have to tell a lie, add embarrassing details to make it more believable
The more detailed a lie is, the more likely people are to believe it. When you add detail, people begin to put a picture to your story. When you include embarrassing details, the picture becomes all the more vivid and believable. After all, if you were going to make up a story, you would be much more inclined to make yourself look good.
7. People remember unfinished things better
The natural tendency to remember unfinished things is called the Zeigarnik effect. Ever notice how some television commercials get cut off early? The company paying for the commercial cuts it off so that it sticks in your head longer than other commercials. The best way to forget unfinished things (commercials or songs) is to finish them in your head. If a song gets stuck in your head, try singing the last lines to yourself. You’ll be amazed how quickly it goes away.
8. Chew gum to relax and focus
Chewing gum actually lowers your cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for stress. But chewing gum doesn’t just reduce stress, it also makes you more alert and improves your performance in memory-oriented tasks. It does so by increasing the blood flow to your brain and alerting your senses. When you experience a stressful situation while chewing gum, your body is less likely to go into the primal fight-or-flight mode (which results in poor decisions and inability to focus).
9. People’s feet reveal their interest
When talking to someone, pay attention to their feet. If their feet are aimed at you, they’re interested and listening to what you’re saying, but if their feet point away from you, they’re most likely disinterested and mentally checked out.
10. When you meet someone new, work their name into the conversation in order to remember it
The goal here is to repeat their name three times in the first five minutes. It works extremely well, but the trick is to do it naturally. When you rattle off their name unnecessarily, it sounds foolish and awkward. Try to use phrases like “Hello ____,” “Nice to meet you _____,” and “Where are you from _____.”
11. Showing excitement makes other people like you
This one goes back to the idea that we mirror the behavior of those around us. If you show excitement when you see someone, they naturally mirror that excitement back at you. It’s an easy way to make a strong first impression and to get people to like you.
12. Maintain eye contact for 60% of a conversation
The key to eye contact is balance. While it’s important to maintain eye contact, doing so 100% of the time is perceived as aggressive and creepy. At the same time, if you only maintain eye contact for a small portion of the conversation, you’ll come across as disinterested, shy, or embarrassed. Maintaining eye contact for roughly 60% of a conversation comes across as interested, friendly, and trustworthy.
Bringing It All Together
Give these tricks a try, and you’re bound to notice a difference in how people respond to you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.
Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart® the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries.
Dr. Bradberry is a LinkedIn Influencer and a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, The World Economic Forum, and The Huffington Post. He has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Fast Company, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.