Positively priming others means using your words and tone of voice to influence them towards a mutually beneficial goal. As long as you’re helping them, it’s positive priming.
I recently read some exciting research: a study of Harvard men showed that those with loving mothers made on average $70,000 more per year than their counterparts (25 years after Harvard). Isn’t that interesting? It used to be widely accepted that fathers were the most significant influence in men’s careers, and they probably still are important, but this study is fascinating. What researchers discovered is that if you give your children emotional support and continuous love, helping them build strengths, build confidence and achieve success, you are priming them for the rest of their lives
In my book, Energize, I talk about an Israeli army officer training situation where leaders primed the trainers by telling them which of the students were average performers, high performers, and of unknown competence. The students had been randomly placed in these categories, but the officers didn’t know that. At the end of the training, the students who had been identified as high performers ended up being the top of the class.
It’s called the chameleon effect: people adjust their behavior to fit expectations. You can prime people with your words, tone of voice, mannerisms, and actions. What you tell yourself about the people that you work with (or that you live with) affects the opportunities you give them and the way you treat them, thereby priming them either negatively or positively.
I bet you’ve had the experience where your boss came into the office with a grumpy look, and you got worried about your standing with him or her. That expression primed you. It could have just been indigestion or bad traffic, but it still affected you.
What kind of effect do you want to have on those around you?
Here is the single most effective way to make yourself better at positive priming: Before you meet with someone, think about what you like about them and that will literally change your biochemistry, as well as positively affect your interaction with him or her.
Another great tool is positive reframes. These are particularly helpful when you have to deliver a negative message or you need to motivate people. Start by thinking about what you need done, then consider what’s in it for that person, and frame it in a positive way. For example, if your kids don’t want to go to bed the temptation is to yell at them. Rarely do they look at you and say, “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll go to bed now.” A positive reframe in this situation could be saying, “Tomorrow is going to be a very exciting day and I want to make sure you’re rested, so let’s go read a book and get some good sleep.” It’s amazing what a difference it makes.
Here are a few ways to start the process of Priming Others:
- Determine who would you like to positively prime in your life and why.
- Identify what is good about this person and how can you help them be more successful in that area.
- Pick a few days this next week to positively prime them during your interactions.
I hope these ideas have been helpful or insightful. Now get out there and spread a little positivity! And I’d love to hear from you: Tell me how you positively prime others by commenting below or connecting with me on social media.