Social Influence – Change How People See You

A program in the UK does social experiments. Their aim is to see how susceptible the public are to being conned and hustled. For example, one of the cons was to take a car from a car park- in daylight. Cars nowadays are more sophisticated in their locking systems, so the only way to get it is to ask for the keys. If you walk up to a regular person and ask for their keys- chances are you’ll get them…but in your eye. To get the keys from an unsuspecting person is to influence the conditions. Instead of walking up in regular clothes, they walked up with one simple article of clothing- a fluorescent security coat. All he did then was come up with some about needing to run the car through the system again and bring it back. Sure enough, they handed him the keys. I mean, who would argue with authority? One simple change managed to INFLUENCE their responses.


Ever looked at a homeless person dressed in rags? Ever seen a big guy with bulldog tattoos and “I love mum” walking down the street? You automatically have perceptions of these people before they even open their mouth. If you look at the typical CLICHE characteristics of, a successful person- things like the way they walk, the way they move, the way they talk, the way they dress- and you MODEL those attributes, then people will begin to react to you as a successful person. In the same way as you could easily turn away from a bum in the street, but you would pay attention to a policeman. You can manipulate the external factors to create a perception about you- and people react to that perception.


It all seems like it is about what you wear. That’s true to an extent, but there was another experiment which suggests you can change your body language to influence people. The experiment was gambling. People were asked to go into a room and gamble as they were being observed.

Scenario #1: They entered a room and saw a guy waiting at the table. He looked shy and nervous.

Scenario #2: Different individuals came in to do the test. It was with the same guy- the only difference was he had changed his attitude. He was laid back relaxed in his chair, he gave strong eye contact and didn’t rush up to greet.

The results: they found that the people in scenario #1 with the shy guy gambled MORE money than in scenario #2.

When you realise it was the SAME guy- and the only thing that changed was how he displayed his attitude, then you understand how just a few small changes influenced complete strangers. When he was confident, it made the others feel insecure in gambling all of their money. With the shy guy, they felt a bit more relaxed in being able to win over such “A loser”.


By wearing a fluorescent coat, and exhibiting confident and relaxed characteristics- you can influence people to hand you some keys and lose money! Both examples illustrate one thing, and that is: You can influence social behaviour just by displaying the right attributes and characteristics. You want to avoid displaying WEAK characteristics because people unconsciously respond to you as LOW STATUS. This means you probably won’t be listened to or respected as much as you would like. You probably find yourself being overruled the majority of the time. Your opinions are not carried by enough value.


I’ve always believed your external always reflects your internal mindset. But if you do not have a cool, calm and confident persona- then this social experiment doesn’t need it. You are doing these to test and see how people respond to you. But the typical cliché characteristics are:

* Walk slower and take your time. A cool mind is never in a rush. He can handle it 
* Slow your speech down and pause. People will listen to you no matter how long you take. 
* Stand up straight and look out to the world. You’re ready for what comes your way. 
* Spread out when you sit down. Lean back and appear relaxed. 
* Don’t lean in so much. It’s too eager. Let people enter your reality. 
* Don’t laugh as much. People will treat you as the boss- “Make him laugh to win him over” 
* Look at people when you talk. Your gaze plus confident body language is money baby.

Model people who exhibit the qualities you like. People may not know you from Adam, so they have to go on how you present yourself.

Sean Adams is a new author focused on self-improvement methods for the modern man. His first book, ‘Improvise Interactions – How to be Social and Think on your Feet’, is a social guide to overcome social anxiety and improve social skills.