How will you influence other people in a nice way?
Obviously, influence plays an important role in social interactions. In fact, it is vital in a business setting and/or in any negotiation process.
The better you are in using this psychological force, the greater your chances of becoming successful.
But how can you effectively influence others?
Well, the truth is that there are many techniques you can use. Some are ethical, while others are not.
But what I’m going to share with you is an ethical and simple way of influencing people.
The “influence” is in your hand
Not too long ago, a group of scientists studied how body temperature affects emotion. In 2008, Lawrence Williams, assistant professor at the University of Colorado, and John Bargh, professor of psychology at Yale University conducted studies among undergraduate students.
There were two groups of students. One group held a cup of coffee before letting them respond to the scale. The other group held a cup of cold coffee. The participants had no idea that holding a cup of coffee was part of the experiment.
Using a scale, the participants were then given instructions to rate an unknown person’s personality.
The result suggests that those participants who held a hot cup of coffee gave a more favorable description of the unknown person than those who held a cup of iced coffee. In other words, holding warm things may actually make people more generous to others.
“When we ask whether is a warm person or cold person, they both have a temperature of 98.6,” Bargh said. “Physical warmth can make us see others as warmer people, but also cause us to be warmer – more generous and trusting as well,” Bargh added.
Williams, the lead author of the said study suggests the application of the finding: “At a board meeting, for instance, being willing to reach out and touch another human being, to share their hand, those experiences do matter although we may not always be aware of them.”
On the other hand, Simon Storey and Professor Lance Workman from the University of South Wales conducted another study in 2014.
The researchers wanted to investigate whether or not holding hot or cold objects affects the participants’ cooperation.
There were 60 students who instructed to complete the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma (IPD) to measure the level of cooperation.
The participants were instructed to hold either a cold or a hot object prior to completing the task.
The finding suggests that the participants who held hot objects had a higher level of cooperation than those who held cold objects.
The two studies have consistent findings – holding hot objects have a positive significant impact on our social interactions.
But what really happens when we hold hot objects?
Professor Workman further explains: “This is evidence that, during our evolution, the part of the brain responsible for processing interpersonal warmth came to ‘piggyback’ on top of the part of the brain responsible for physical warmth. So when we say we have ‘warmed to someone’ this is, in a sense, literally true.”
These studies may have huge application in business and negotiation processes. For instance, if you want to ask a favor from someone, sell something, or influence others by your ideas, a cup of coffee or tea may be a great help.
This may also the reason why a long handshake is more effective than a short one. In fact, some experts suggest that during a job interview, applicants must give a firm and a longer handshake with the interviewer. The applicants who have warm hands have a higher chance to be hired than those who have cold hands.
Having cold hands during a job interview signifies that the applicant is not confident.
While some experts suggest that before the actual interview, the applicants should consider drinking a cup of hot coffee. This will make the applicants feel warm and relax.
What are your thoughts on this?
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I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.