Life Hack: Ex-FBI Agent’s Top Tips For Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over

If you want to get ahead at work, or you want to increase your social profile and attract quality people to your corner, there’s a strategy you can employ for improving your likeability and getting people to want to be in your orbit:


Former FBI-Agent Jack Schafer spent 15 years profiling terrorists and detecting deception in the FBI’s National Security Division. His mission was to make friends with suspects and get them to share their secrets. Now, Schafer shares his proven methods for everyday life, demonstrating how simple, yet effective, strategies can maximize your relationships at work, home, or on a date.

In the book, “The Like Switch: Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by former FBI-Agent Jack Schafer (Touchstone; January 13, 2015), as he reveals secrets on how to get anyone to like you for a moment (or for a lifetime).


Schafer offers his expert advice on:

How to Win People Over with Non-verbal Cues

  • Utilize the “Big 3” friend signals: briefly raised eyebrows with eye contact (shows you don’t pose a threat), a head tilt (displays trust by exposing the carotid artery), and a genuine smile (it’s hard not to return a smile—and smiling releases endorphins).
  • Remove physical barriers: On a dinner date, for example, drinking glasses and centerpieces should be moved away from the middle of the table.
  • Mirror body language (such as legs or arms), lean inward during a conversation, and “accidentally” brush a hand or arm.

Employ the “Golden Rule of Friendship” in Conversation—Make People Feel Good About Themselves!

  • Call people by name. Everyone enjoys the sound of their own name—and the fact that someone has remembered it.
  • Make empathic statements that focus on the other person (“So, you look like you’re having a busy day.”), as they let people know that someone cares about their well-being.
  • Find clues to common ground (“Really? My sister is a teacher too.”).

Win People Over at Work—own the room and put your ideas into action!

  • Stand during presentations to create a “teacher/student” dynamic and be sure to move around the room. Freedom of motion demonstrates power.
  • Use a PowerPoint presentation to set the agenda and the pace of discussion. The clicker symbolizes control!
  • Carefully watch colleagues for pursed lips or lip touching, signs that an opposing statement is on the tip of one’s tongue. Before they can speak up, direct friend signals and empathic statements their way to forestall a verbal declaration that is hard to reverse once publicly stated.

Use the Law of Misattribution

  • When People Feel Good About Themselves and do not attribute it to a specific cause, they tend to associate the cause of that good feeling with the person who is physically close to them. So, for example, if you’re hoping to date someone, arrange your workout time at the gym to coincide with theirs and let the endorphins released by exercise do their work!

Use the Law of Self Disclosure

  • Individuals who disclose more personal information to other people are more likely to receive a similar level of personal information in return.

Use the Law of Humor

  • People who use humor in social encounters are perceived as more likable. Judicious use of humor can reduce anxiety and establish a relaxed mood that helps a relationship develop more rapidly.

Be a Lip Reader

  • You can learn lots of information by what a person does with her lips. For instance, self-touching of the lips with hands or fingers indicates that the person is feeling uneasy about the topic that’s being discussed