I heard an interesting talk today by Resli Costabell, an award winning speaker who specializes in Emotional Intelligence. She gave us some techniques to use to motivate and influence people. The first was the use of the “social proof”. That is, if others are doing something, it is easier to get another to do it as well, than it is for someone to stand for something alone. For example, if “most of the people” say they like a certain product they bought, you may be influenced by this in your own assessment. It takes courage to stand up to that many positive assessments and give a negative one. Others seeing your negative comment may dismiss it because it goes against “most” of the people. Another example is if most people in an audience are laughing at a joke, you would be more inclined to laugh as well. The second technique is knowing when to use a “going away from the pain” message, and when to use a “going toward the good” message. For example, you may say to someone, “you’ll lose your license if you do X”. You are trying to motivate someone to do something to avoid a negative consequence. Another way of conveying the same outcome is to say, “you’ll get to keep your license by avoiding X”. You’re trying to motivate by stressing the positive result of the same issue. Take a look at ads to see whether they use one technique or the other. In business, you may use the pain relief technique with accountants and engineers (who are often concerned about rules and procedures to avoid negative consequences) and the moving toward the good technique with sales people (who are often upbeat and eager to succeed). A good book on the subject of influencing and decision making is Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein.