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Influence as a Communication Tool

Updated: May 18

The SPICE Method: A Recipe for Influencing as a Help Desk Manager

As a help Desk manager, your role often involves persuading others to adopt your ideas or proposals. To do this effectively, you can harness the power of the SPICE technique – a practical, easy-to-remember method that focuses on Simplicity, Perceived Self-Interest, Incongruity, Confidence, and Empathy. Below I'll summarise it briefly and signpost to some further reading.


Simplicity: One of the most crucial aspects of persuading others is presenting your ideas clearly and straightforwardly. Avoid jargon and complex language; opt for simple words and phrases your audience can easily understand. By keeping your message simple, you increase the likelihood of it being remembered and, ultimately, being acted upon—the simpler the message or the ask, the easier for someone to comply.

Perceived Self-Interest: When trying to persuade

someone, it's essential to frame your proposal to highlight the benefits for that person. Make it clear how they stand to gain from agreeing with you or adopting your idea. By appealing to their self-interest, you create a compelling argument that will likely win them over. I'm not saying this in a manipulative way, but it's much easier to look for the hook from another's perspective to sell them on an idea.

Incongruity: Consider using slightly different or unusual messages to significantly impact your audience. Incongruity grabs attention and helps your idea or proposal stand out, making it more memorable and appealing to those you're trying to persuade. Now, I don't recommend using emojis and wingdings in a business case to your line manager to grab attention, but if you want to change user behaviour, think about how you can dress your message up in such a way it grabs their attention and sticks.

Confidence: When presenting your ideas or proposals, displaying confidence in yourself and your suggestions is crucial. By exuding confidence, you encourage your audience to trust and believe in your words. Be assertive, maintain eye contact, and use a strong, clear voice to convey your message, boosting your persuasiveness. Sometimes, there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and we want the former, so be careful but confident!

Empathy: Looping back to active listening, take the time to demonstrate compassion and empathy for your audience's concerns, fears, and desires. By showing that you understand and share their emotions, you build rapport and trust, making persuading them to see things from your perspective easier. This connection helps you better tailor your arguments to your audience's needs, increasing your chances of success.


The SPICE method provides a simple and practical framework to help you become a more influential helpdesk manager. By focusing on Simplicity, Perceived Self-Interest, Incongruity, Confidence, and Empathy, you can communicate your ideas more effectively, persuade others to adopt your proposals, and ultimately achieve greater success in your role.

There's so much on this subject that you can draw from, and I highly recommend reading more in this wonderful book called 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert B. Cialdini.

an image of the book "Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini


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