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Persuade the boss over a bowl of pasta

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Don't try to persuade your boss of a new idea while he’s feeling the power of his position. New research suggests he’s not listening to you.

“Powerful people have confidence in what they are thinking. Whether their thoughts are positive or negative toward an idea, that position is going to be hard to change,” says Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

The best way to get leaders to consider new ideas is to put them in a situation where they don’t feel as powerful, the research suggests.

For example, if you have strong arguments favoring a raise, try not to ask the boss in his office, where he is surrounded by the trappings of power.

Instead, bring up the topic in a lunch room or where there aren’t reminders of who is in charge.

“You want to sow all your arguments when the boss is not thinking of his power, and after you make a good case, then remind your boss of his power. Then he will be more confident in his own evaluation of what you say,” says Petty.

“As long as you make good arguments, he will be more likely to be persuaded.”

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