Fresh Look – Benefit selling

If there is one theme that I emphasized in my courses, it was benefit selling—the crafting of influence attempts to emphasize the gains associated with the desired behavior tailored to the influence target. That last phrase is key to the…

Fresh Look – Emotionally adroit office politicians

Emotions are contagious.[1] When you go to a meeting where everyone else is acting cheerfully and optimistically, it can’t help but buoy your spirits. Similarly, contact with an angry customer often leads you to displace your frustration on others nearby.[2]…

Fresh Look – Identity congruence as the new benefit selling

All the time I taught organizational politics, I preached the value of benefit selling as a means of influencing others. Simply put, benefit selling involves pointing out the instrumental value of doing something desired by the seller. It answers the…

Fresh Look – Good news for supportive leaders

Ever feel like you are trying hard to be a supportive leader and team player, but you don’t have any political influence over others? This is an awful feeling and one that can easily lead to cynicism. When cynicism creeps…

Fresh Look – Giving advice

Asked what was very difficult, Thales replied: “To know thyself.” Asked what was very easy, he answered: “To give advice.” –Socrates Giving advice really is very easy. Everybody has opinions about how others should live their lives. But giving advice…

Fresh Look – Speaking truth to power

Sticking your neck out to advance an unpopular idea can be pretty scary.[1] This is especially true if your idea involves going against the commitments of authority figures or team preferences. Speaking truth to power is one of the most…

The persuasive value of voice

A new study shows that competence and intellect is better determined by voice than by the written word.[1] Consider the following ways of having your voice heard: Would you let me talk you through my proposal? Yes, I’ll put my…

Want a message delivered to a group to be persuasive?

All of us have attended public addresses by charismatic officials who commanded rapt attention by the audience. That is an ideal situation when it comes to persuasion, but the speaker does not have to be charismatic for significant persuasion to…

Tell newcomers stories, but not any stories

New employees are impressionable. They experience significant uncertainty about their new employer, and early experiences are quite decisive. Critical are the stories they hear. For example, new recruits often hear stories about how low-level employees have demonstrated considerable conscientiousness in…

Does scratching backs always work?

You’ve obviously heard the saying, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” In fact, it underlies much of what occurs in office politics. It leads to the practice of proactively doing favors for people you need to reciprocate in some…