9 Simple Conversation Hacks: How to Turn Any Interaction in Your Favor

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9 Simple Conversation Hacks: How to Turn Any Interaction in Your Favor

Losing arguments with your spouse? Missing out on raises at work? Maybe you need to improve how you’re approaching these conversations. Learn how you can use simple psychological tools to your advantage in nearly any type of interaction.

Give Others Power

Reminding the other person or people in the conversation of their free will (saying things like “only if you want to”) allows other people to feel in control and not forced. They’ll be much more likely to take your advice or do what you want.

Six Principles of Persuasion: (1)

Authority and credibility
Likelihood for reciprocity

Ask for More Than You Want

Want a small raise? Ask for a big one and then allow your boss to “talk you down” from there. This way, they’ll believe they’ve had a victory.

Workers who have asked for or negotiated a pay raise: (2)
Women 44%
Men 48%

Stop Talking

When you clam up, the other person will feel the need to fill the awkward silence with something. You should be silent more than you speak.

Emphasize the Payoff…

We humans are reward-focused; reminding your conversation partner of the glory, accomplishment or financial boost they’ll get will be a big selling point. Alternately, consider impressing on them the potential negative effects of not taking your advice.

Ask for Help

Saying something like “I need your help” will make the other person much more likely to help you. After all, nobody wants to seem like a jerk, and we all like to help out where we can.

88% of households give to charity. (5)
Average annual household charity contribution (5)

Be the First to Sacrifice

Giving a little bit of ground in one area could help you in another as the other person will feel that you’ve already done them a favor and will be eager to repay it.

Timing is Everything

Know when to have a difficult conversation and when to put it off. Need to borrow money? The best time to hit up your friend is probably not right after they’ve lost their job. And knowing the other person’s behavior and moods helps, too.

Favorable parole decisions in study of Israeli judges: (1)
Right before afternoon meal break 12%
After afternoon meal break 65%

We’re in This Together

Some people will be more likely to help or take advice if they feel like they are part of a team. They also respond better to someone saying “we should” instead of “you should.”

Get Angry — Sometimes

Like a well-placed expletive, controlled anger can be effective, as most people will want to avoid conversation. But don’t go too far; if people see you as consistently confrontational, they’ll simply avoid you altogether.

Percentage of people who regularly lose their temper at work (6)


1. http://www.psychologytoday.com
2. http://www.cbsnews.com
3. http://listen.org
4. http://www.forbes.com
5. http://www.nptrust.org