Friendship and Influence
The inestimable value of friendship and influence is taken as a given here. This post assumes that you already know the “why.” It addresses the “how” in terms of timeless psychological principles which are fundamental to building personal relationships. Of course, commerce and business alliances are also based on personal relationships. We are talking about how to get people to know, like and trust you.
You may have heard these principles in some form before, but they are so important, in my opinion as a social psychologist, that they are worth repeating until we remember to act on them.
Attract Others Like You
Meeting the people you want to connect with involves exposure. If you want to be in the right place at the right time, be in a lot of places. However, it is wise to choose which places are most likely to put you in front of the kind of people you want to know. “Stack the deck” to improve the odds that synchronicity and serendipity will work in your favor. In addition to finding the “right” people, you will be seen in the right context. The mere fact that you belong to a group or a specific social network causes you to be perceived as “one of us.”
Friendship begins with being seen and being noticed. Psychologists know that the old myth, “familiarity breeds contempt,” is false. In fact just the opposite is true. Why do you think politicians invest so much on yard signs? On the internet your personal brand is enhanced by repeated exposure. Post, comment, tweet, like, link, etc. Get your name out there for starters.
Attract and Influence by Investing Attention
To win friends it is more effective to be interested than to be interesting. The best way to motivate people is to find out what they already want and give it to them. Among the things people want most (and don’t already have) is attention. They crave recognition and respect. I suggest that you consider paying, or rather investing, attention.
In a free market economy good listeners are in big demand and short supply. Listening is a technique that is more easily said than done, because we also want to be heard. On social media we “listen” by reading with comprehension and commenting appropriately to show our understanding and interest. We invest attention by re-tweeting and linking.
Recommending or endorsing people (or their content) makes them like you. Sincere compliments are always appreciated, and your recommendation is valuable to them as well. Be authentic. Sincerity is one of the most likeable traits.
Influence Starts with Trust in Them and in You
Stephen M.R. Covey wrote a book called, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything in which he calls trust the very basis of the new global economy and the essential ingredient for any highâperformance, successful organization.
Greg Ferenstein wrote a post on the Mashable.com blog called, The Science of Building Trust with Social Media. Ferenstein quotes Professor Judith Olson of U.C. Irvine, who conducted research on internet trust. Professor Olson notes that “lacking traditional markers of trust, such as voice intonation and body language, when only text is available, participants judge trustworthiness based on how quickly others respond.”
Consider how you feel when someone fails to reply to your email or return your phone call after you leave a voicemail message. You build trust when you reply quickly to comments on your Facebook posts or on your blog. Commentators get frustrated when their comment is “awaiting moderation” for too long. It is risky to leave a “Drive-by” comment on another blog without waiting for a reply to engage in conversation. Although it is essential to be authentic, showing respect for another’s point of view in an online dialog helps create trust.
Thank you, Buddy! Great insights on how fuels attraction and influence.
— ME “Liz” Strauss