We all, at times, find ourselves with the need to influence somebody. We

need to motivate an employee; build a better relationship with a coworker; sell an idea to the boss; make a new friend – the list goes on. And we sometimes forget just how much influence we have over the actions and attitudes of the people around us. All it often takes is the skill to push the right buttons in the right people at the right time.

Hot buttons are things that positively alter someone’s state: words, phrases, actions or activities that create a positive change in someone’s behavior or attitude. Here, for example, are two common ones:

1. Talking About Ourselves

Most of us, when given a chance, enjoy the opportunity to talk about oursel

ves – our children, our pets, our accomplishments, etc. Give people a chance to talk about themselves, and see how well they respond.

2. Praise

There is a mountain of research about how positively most people respond to praise. Flattery, when it’s not ‘over the top’, is a very powerful way to influence someone’s attitude. Try this experiment, and see for yourself: Pick someone today – anyone – and say something nice about them (make sure that the compliment is genuine). Then sit back and watch how their mood and behavior changes.

There are, of course, as many different hot buttons as there are people out there. And the better you understand them, the better relationships you’ll be able to forge. Want to learn what someone’s hot buttons are? Observe
them. Look for things they are passionate about – the things that make them laugh, the things that fire them up, etc.

While you’re at it, see if you can’t figure out what your own hot buttons are. You never know when one might come in handy for a little self-motivation.

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