10 Simple Psychological Tricks That Actually Work

Understanding the many intricacies of human psychology and using them to your advantage is one of the most powerful skills that you can put to use in your professional and personal life.

With that in mind, here are ten simple psychological tricks backed by science and sure to make a positive impact in your interactions.

Getting Someone to Agree with You

If you tell someone something that you would like for them to agree with, one simple trick is to nod while you are speaking.

Nodding every now and again while you explain something to someone subconsciously affirms that what you are saying is true. Just be careful not to overdo it, and understand that this trick certainly won’t work in all circumstances.

However, it can be an effective way to make what you are saying just a little easier for the other person to agree with.

Thinking Fast and Slow

Thinking Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman

⏱ 14 minute reading time

🎧 Audio version available

Probe for More Information

If you ask someone a question and they don’t provide you with a full answer, try pausing the conversation for a few seconds and maintaining eye contact.

In many cases, this will cause the person you are speaking with to feel pressured into saying more, which may lead them to elaborate on their previous response and answer your question more thoroughly.

Just understand that, by design, many people may find the silence and eye contact uncomfortable, so use this trick carefully.

Make a Good Impression

If you want to make a good impression on someone that you have just met, one simple tactic is to repeat their name at various points throughout the conversation. Whether they realize it or not, most people enjoy the sound of their name.

Addressing them by their name during a conversation establishes a sense of familiarity that helps you make a more impactful first impression.

Overcome Eye Contact Anxiety

For many people, eye contact is highly uncomfortable. However, maintaining an appropriate amount of eye contact is also essential if you want to come across as friendly and confident.

If you experience eye contact anxiety, one simple trick is to look between the eyes of the person you are talking to rather than looking them directly in the eye.

The person you are speaking with won’t be able to tell the difference, and you are likely to find looking them between the eyes to be much more comfortable than direct eye contact.

Related: 5 Books Every Leader Should Read to Be Successful

Fake it Until You Make it

Did you know that smiling has been proven to lift a person’s mood regardless of whether or not the smile was genuine?

This means that you can essentially trick your brain into being a little happier at any given moment by merely faking a smile.

In a way, faking a smile to boost your mood is like sending a signal to your brain that you are happy at the moment – and it is a signal that your mind will often respond to by engaging the neural networks required to improve your mood.

Ask People for Favors

Benjamin Franklin once said that “he that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

From this quote, we get the name of a psychological trick called “the Ben Franklin effect,” which says that asking someone for a favor is a great way to make them like you more.

It may sound a little counterintuitive, but the psychology behind this effect is that people will subconsciously rationalize their agreement to help you out by assuming that they must like you.

Father Knows Best

If you want to put a little authority behind what you say, claim that you learned it from your father. It doesn’t matter whether or not the person you are speaking to knows who your father is.

The tactic may be more effective if they do not. Right or wrong, people tend to attribute wisdom and authority to father figures, so stating that the information or advice that you are providing was first given to you by your father is a great way to give it a little more significance in the mind of others.

Mirror Body Language

Mirroring another person’s body language during your interaction with them is an easy way to make yourself come across as more trustworthy. This is something that humans tend to do to some degree when interacting with each other without even realizing it.

You don’t want to be overly obvious about it, but mirroring another person’s body language by sitting in the same position as them or using your hands during the conversation in a similar way can make you come across as more trustworthy.

Spot Admiration

Do you ever wonder who it is that the people you are interacting with most admire? Perhaps you’re trying to gauge the interest of a potential romantic partner while out with a group of friends, or maybe you would like to know who it is in the office that your boss most appreciates.

Whatever the social setting, one easy way to spot a person’s admiration for another is to see who they turn their attention to when the group breaks out into laughter.

A person will most often glance at the person in the group that they most admire during these periods of group laughter, and spotting this glance is a simple way to tell who they are most interested in.

Demonstrate Your Listening Abilities

People love talking to someone who they perceive as being a good listener. Of course, being a good listener is an important place to start.

But if you want to communicate to the other person that you are listening to what they are saying, paraphrasing their statements and repeating them is a simple yet effective tactic.

Just be careful not to overdo it; paraphrasing a person’s statements back to them once or twice throughout a conversation is more than enough to demonstrate that you are genuinely invested in what they are saying without them noticing what you are doing.

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