• Difficult Negotiations
  • Crises & Conflicts
  • Credibility in Communication

If you have inadequate self-esteem, you lose the ability to rationally assess your capabilities.

Tomasz Piotr Sidewicz

Fear of influencing others (?)

After many many years of observations gained from conducting training in the field of conscious influence I came to a conclusion, that people are reluctant to use any techniques of influence consciously. Many a time I noticed in my previous posts that fear is a terrible adviser, since fear paralyzes common sense thinking. Why is fear paralyzing? Because of the need of taking responsibility for the impact of influence, the so called PRISONER’S DILEMMA.

Whether we like it or not, everyone uses social impact. The reason? – To make your life easier. Any form of communication among living creatures is a form of influence. Communication is not a transmission of information, contrary to what is commonly believed. Communication serves to interact with others and cause specific reactions or provoke. So everybody does it. Every single human being influences others, providing she or he shares the same location with other human beings. The simplest form of influence is ingratiation as a self-presentation. The hardest form is persuasion and eristic. The most common form of influence is lying and intriguing. Since people tend to delude themselves (ignorance is bliss), those who lie and plot do not have to make too much effort to be successful.

Fear of influencing others is like fear of being too attractive in terms of appearance. Certainly, there are situations when your attractive appearance can cause more harm than good. However the benefits of being attractive outweigh potential damage. Unfortunately, in many environments being too attractive is not accepted due to social conformity and common acceptance of bringing others down. These include corporations, in which there is a specific DRESS CODE, even specifying the length of fingernails, or prohibiting wearing sandals in the summer.

Human being is fairly simple animal, equipped with so-called limbic system, which is of great importance in decision making related to social behavior. Contrary to what we tend to think about ourselves, it is easy to manipulate and deceive us. Providing one accepts the cost of exerting influence on others, risk associated with the fact that someone may realize he or she has been manipulated pays off. Example ? – First date, bragging of one’s awesomenimity and subsequent verification of facts. All those who disappointed their partner for not being what they had presented, understand the nature of cost of social impact. By the way, I wonder why the attitude – DO NOT STAND OUT! is so common. Probably because you fear the consequences of disappointment of others.

In my next post I will present a technique called funny money, which is not as simple as it seams, however when well-played makes the whole argument substanceless. I will use the example of speech given by the President of the Polish Judges Association „Iustitia”, where in the course of an interview the president reaches for the funny money technique to reframe the whole problem he had faced. How did he handle it ? Read the next entry!

Tomasz Piotr Sidewicz