Everything you do when interacting with others has the ability to influence their behaviour.
This can be done in both a positive or negative way. You can set the tone for the people around you by your words, actions and behaviours you exhibit every day. The behaviour of others can be influenced by long term conditioning or a simple instruction. The ability to be influenced will also be shaped by their values, drivers and attitude.
If you are in a supermarket queue with just a couple of items and are behind someone with their weekly shop, you can wait for them to ignore you, make the judgement to let you go as you will only be quick and not impact them, or you could ask if you could just nip ahead as you won’t be long, have forgotten these two items and have the family waiting for dinner! The decision will be based on how much you need to communicate and how open they are to being influenced to let you go ahead of them.
It is important to recognise, people are creatures of habit, who will sit in the same seat everyday if you let them. We often meet with people over a couple of days or different sessions and people will therefore look to repeatedly sit in the same place next to the same person. After day one we let them know that the following day they must sit in a different seat, next to a different person the following day. This simple instruction breaks that habitual cycle and influences changed behaviour.
There will however be lots of people who see no need to change and no benefit from it. Provided you understand human behaviour you realise how easily it can be influenced for a purpose, other, than their own.
From the examples outlined previously it is clear people can be influenced by your advice, words and actions. You can secure this response quickly and easily if there is a direct and meaningful benefit to them for their small change in behaviour. If you are changing process, procedures, location, anything, then outline the benefits of their actions not just for the organisation but for them.
It is important you give them clarity, perhaps even guidance on what their response needs to look like. Provide direction and help them understand the benefit that that small change of behaviour could bring.
When looking to influence behaviour it is important to focus on the response you want, not the message you want to communicate!
Try one of the above examples when you next get a similar opportunity to influence the behaviour of others.