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What is the best way to influence another person?

There is no one best way to influence another person. On the other hand, certain techniques can be very helpful as you try to influence people. First, and most important, be sure to demonstrate empathy through “active listening.” For example, confirm your understanding of the other person’s needs. Second, to the extent possible, look for creative ways to meet the other person’s needs while also meeting your own. Invite the other person to suggest ideas (without committing to any particular course of action). Third, to the extent the other person is unwilling to cooperate with you, you may find it helpful to share with the other person the harm to their interests that may occur if you are unable to collaborate. If you decide to share such potentially provocative information, be sure to stay calm and unemotional so the information you share is perceived as “educational” and not as a threat. Finally, your own behavior is probably the single greatest factor in how you will be perceived by others; therefore, be sure that by your words and actions you are modeling the behavior you desire the other person to reciprocate!

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