Remember that time you picked up the phone to call or meet face to face with someone because you need something and have a relationship with them. What about when the conversation didn’t go the way you thought and you were either disappointed, frustrated, or just angry? This doesn’t just apply to a conversation or someone you have a relationship with, but also actions; sometimes from complete strangers. This entry of the “Create Your Pyramid” addresses these situations that lie outside of our control and may be influenced by us, but end up an internal (or even worse external) struggle for power.
This struggle begins and ends as we try to control peoples behaviors or actions only to find that we end up in conflict, a damaged relationship, and no change. To avoid this we have to realize that the behaviors of other can never be controlled, only influenced. When we try to exert power over a person’s are of personal control, it gives the feeling that we are degrading their value. As a result the relationship is damaged. Without a relationship, there is little, if any, hope of influence.
Instead of thinking of new ways to control someone or their actions, we should be concentrating on how to influence them. Two key ways are through physical (modeling) and verbal (educating).
Modeling: Something very interesting about humans is our desire to mirror those around us or our surroundings. Think of when you are talking to someone and you nod your head. They nod in return. That’s why smiling at people is so powerful. Our mirror neurons fire as soon as someone smiles at us; instantly returning the gesture. Much like these examples, we can influence how people act toward us and ultimately in various situations by leading the way with an example. We can’t be fooled into thinking that we only need model something one time. Consistency coupled with repetition is key. Want a person to respond to negativity with positivity? They need to see us do it repeatedly. How do people learn to change their perspective? They often need to be told and shown how to do it multiple times. Remember the communicator’s mantra of tell people what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Then do it with your actions.
Educating: People don’t know what they don’t know. How many times have we said to ourselves, “If I had only known!” That phrase usually follows some event that went less than how we desired. Even better are the times we get upset at someone for acting in a certain way only to catch ourselves later realizing that they were missing key knowledge to act differently. People act according to the response available to them at the time of their actions. Their brains tap into the available knowledge concerning the situation in from of them. If we want to influence a person’s behavior, we have to provide a disruption to their current line of thought or base of knowledge that allows them new information to access and use. This isn’t done by trying to control them. It is accomplished by educating them that there is a different way to perceive, think, and respond.
Below is the second video in the “Creating Your Pyramid” series where I explain more. While this one focuses on influencing people and behaviors, the next will focus on the other aspect of influence; adjusting how our circumstances affect us. If you found value in this post, I would love to hear from you and invite you to subscribe to this blog and my YouTube channel. Even better, go ahead and share it with someone else you think might find value.