Heavy-handed negotiations will only go one way. Here are three tips that can help you influence others subtly.

Softly-softly: 3 tips on subtly influencing people


Heavy-handedness will typically create more problems than it solves in the world of work. Being forceful occasionally is warranted – particularly when having to deal with any unruly employees – but the gentle approach will generally prove more fruitful.

The same is true in negotiations. While there are some character types that like to be pushed back against, showing empathy and understanding towards the other party will likely get them on side.

With that in mind, here are three tips that can help you subtly win people over:

Use colour wisely

Humans perceive each swatch of colour in a unique way. Certain tones may evoke fear while others can represent anxiety.

Whether it’s in the hues you choose for a slideshow presentation on a big screen, or even down to your own attire, choosing muted tones is the best way to keep all parties on side.

Having a grasp of this concept is a crucial component of improving subtle influencing and negotiating skills.

Consider the environment

If you are planning to meet in a place that is sterile or uninviting by nature, think again. There will be some instances when the office workspace is the only option, but it can make participants harder to deal with.

People will enter ‘business mode’ as soon as they set foot in a corporate environment. Holding meetings in more casual surroundings can help your opposite number relax, all the time making it easier to endear yourself to them.

Choose language wisely

What’s in a word? Well, if you choose the wrong one in a negotiation, you’ll soon find out. Using jargon and complex terms will only see you coming across as false.

People intrinsically sense honesty, and making sure that you use your regular cadence and style of speaking will allow you to come across as genuine.

Even if you have to deliver bad news to get what you really want, being open and upfront in language choices can make it easier to master the negotiation.

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