Many of us in our federal careers have struggled at one time or another to get the attention of employees when speaking to them in a group. This can cause us to doubt whether we are commanding the respect that our position deserves.
According to author and behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards, this isn’t unusual. She has seven scientific research tips that can help all of us make a better connection with employees and make us “the most memorable person in the room.”
- Connect with people emotionally
According to Van Edwards, if we want to intrigue and influence people we have to get their dopamine pumping. Dopamine is that pleasure/reward area in our brains that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. She says we need to be relentless about stimulating that part of the brain if we want to influence people. A great way to do that is by asking open-ended questions such as “What was the best part of your day and what was the worst part of your day?” or “What personal passion project are you currently working on right now?”
- Be emotionally curious
When we make others sense their importance, our influence goes a long way. All of us want to be liked, loved and accepted. When we fulfill that need for others, we are perceived by them as being influential. Dale Carnegie once said, “To be interesting, you have to be interested.” A great way to be more interested in people is to ask them open-ended questions. Get them talking about themselves to build rapport.
- Use confident body language
Our body language makes a difference. Low power body language is normally contracted, with the shoulders rolled and head down. High power or confident body language is expansive, with head held high, arms loose, shoulders back and chest out. When we manifest power body language we are seen as more influential. Confident body language not only affects the way others see us but also affects the way we see ourselves.
- Tell a story
Our brains are hard-wired for stories. When someone tells a story, our brains feel like we are experiencing the story with them. When we tell a work-related story, for example, the brains of the listeners are in sync with us, which can increase our influence. Don’t just share the facts in a speech, try to tell a story about the facts.
- Be vulnerable
Being open about our emotions actually increases our likeability and influence. People perceive us as being real when we admit to weaknesses or flaws. They can relate to us better. When we make a mistake we should be open and honest about it.
- Ask for a favor
According to Van Edwards, whenever we ask someone for a favor, we are perceived more positively. Asking for help is one of the best things we can do to be seen as an influential person. One way is to freely ask for help from employees in the form of feedback, or ask experienced employees for their opinion, advice and guidance.
- Become charismatic
According to scientific research, most people don’t remember what a person looks like or what they may have said. They remember how the other person made them feel. Charismatic people make others feel good. Van Edwards gives three nonverbal ways to up our charisma quotient. When talking to someone, tilt your head. Your torso should be aligned with theirs and your toes should point toward them.
When we incorporate these seven tips into our management style, we will show we are interested in other people, which makes us more interesting and not easily forgotten.