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How to gain power in group conversations: quick & easy technique

I've heard this question a few times.

And I've heard a few answers as well.
Many answers focus on participating more, asking more questions, answer in more interesting ways, etc.

All of them can be good methods.

There is another simple technique though.
And it works particularly well for those who need power the most: those who have least power.

If people with low power immediately start talking more, asking more, or acting higher power, that can easily go down badly.

So, here's a simple way to gain more power, with no downsides:

Be an eager listener

That includes:

  • Looking at the speaker
  • Asking more questions
  • "Show" you're listening with:
    • Nodding
    • Interjections ("uh-uh", "wow")
  • Quick supportive comments ("cool!", "that was weird of him")
  • Laughing at the punchline
  • Etc. etc.

Do that with 3-4 speakers, and you can easily go from powerless, to recognized, good-status member of the group.

This works because:

  • You draw the speaker's attention: Now the speaker, who's usually a good-status member of the group, is going to naturally pull you higher status-wise. And he's more willing to field your question, take them seriously, and answer them properly, further raising your status
  • You become a "judge": yep. So far, you've been positive. People start craving that. But will always be? The moment you also show your skeptical / more critical side, is also the moment you can leapfrog anyone else in the group.

Plus, it also helps that:

  • People love an attentive audience: so you increase your "likability"
  • The law of reciprocity: you get more attention as a speaker simply because you gave attention

Few people do this, which also makes you stand out.

I've seen a few women do it really well to the point where it was their mean "social superpower".
I've seen high-status men chase women's attention in groups, or even proactively have them sit next to them, just because those women were so good at rewarding with attention.

Matthew Whitewood and Stef have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodStef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I think this post goes very well with your post on bids for vibing.
Bids for Vibing: mirror back, and thread-expand (& avoid thread-cutting)

If you listen eagerly and look out for bids for vibing, you can hook the other person quite quickly.

Ivanka Trump Could Have Used This Technique at the G20 with Lagarde, May, Trudeau, and Macron

Here is the relevant thread that Lucio analysed the situation and the video:
Ivanka Trump at the G20 with Macron, Lagarde & May (Social Dynamics Analysis)

Lucio mentioned the same technique here.
Ivanka Trump could have used eager listening to ease into the group of powerful men and women.
She could enter the circle confidently and listen for a while before contributing.

I was thinking about what you said about Lagarde, May, Trudeau, and Macron making small talk rather than big international politics.
Sometimes we see a few important people chatting with one another.
We assume that they are talking about some big, big stuff.
And we feel intimidated to enter the circle.

Two People Talking

I find 2 people talking to be the trickiest to ease into.
Though if you manage to overhear a moment to vibe, you can break into the conversation.
Sometimes there's no good moment to enter and you just have to take the social risk if you want to meet the person.

I have entered incorrectly and been ignored sometimes.
I find it challenging when 2 high-status men are talking.
But it could also be because they are talking about something between them.

Social Climbers

I encountered a social climber before when using this technique.

Him: (talking about a story)

Him: Sorry for the long rant. (He did talk for a bit too long)

Me: There are 2 things I enjoy.
Ranting and making money. (The making money references something in the story)

Him: That's why I like you Matthew. (He frames himself as the judge now. Social climbing?)

Me: I'm glad that we can get along. (I thought that I should make the liking 2-way)

I guess people can always take advantage of one's warmth and friendliness.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Matthew, I gotta say:

You do have a special ability and skill to connect similar concepts together.

Indeed, Ivanka there tried waaay too hard to acquire status/reputation by taking the initiative.
Perfect example of how that can easily backfire, especially if you do it too early, or when you don't have much status yet.

Had she gotten closer to the group, looked at people a bit longer, nodded along... Chances are that some of the speakers would have started looking back at her as well, and at that point... She'd have at least become an accepted member of the group.
Then build on that, vibe on something you agree with, add a snippet of information -without taking the stage yet-... And you're now on your way upward.

THAT'S WHY I LIKE YOU

I think there is a thread somewhere with those exact words?

It's a bit of a power move, feel free to post it there for further analysis / strategizing.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on June 16, 2021, 6:10 pm

Matthew, I gotta say:

You do have a special ability and skill to connect similar concepts together.

I learn from the best :).

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

People start craving that. But will always be? The moment you also show

It seems you were going to say something more

Lucio Buffalmano and Matthew Whitewood have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoMatthew Whitewood

Thank you Stef, fixed.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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