Before I get into explaining these strategies, which I’m sure you’re quite excited about to read, let me just say that I’ve good and bad news for you. I like starting with the good news. The good news is that these strategies can be applied very quickly. They are straightforward, and will quickly help you understand how they can help convince other people to your way of thinking. Here is the bad news – they take a little time to practice. The more successful you want to become using these strategies, the more you will have to hardwire your brain for them. And this is the hard part. Why? Because very often, our neurosynapses are used to or ‘coded’ for behaving in a certain way. Changing that pattern will require you to consistently track and observe your own behavior.
Here is my first way…
#1 Admit that you MAY be wrong… empathetically.
I recently got back an exam. I actually did a lot better than I thought I would, but to my surprise, there was an exercise that was marked 0 out of 10 points. Since the instructions where dead simple, I really couldn’t have missed the point. This was a Spanish exam for beginners by the way (Yes, I did feel a little crap). Anyways, I went up to my tutor and asked her what had happened… after getting a rather lousy explanation for why I scored 0 out of 10 marks, I said the following…
‘I understand that this exercise was clarified in class a few weeks earlier and I’m sorry for missing that particular session. This was completely my own fault. No surprise that everyone else in this class, did the exercise correctly, but me. This will not happen again. Yet I do believe that due to my (mostly) correct use of grammar and me following the instructions like it said them in the test, I think it would be fair to not let me walk out with 0 marks. Wouldn’t you agree on this?
Guess what she said?
Exactly, that’s the point. She couldn’t say anything, as I had already covered all the things she was going to say in the little speech I gave her.
Now guess what happened? To my luck, she grabbed my paper and remarked the entire section. From the initial 0 points I was awarded I walked out with 5 out of 10 points. Fair play I thought.
You see, in order to win other people to our way of thinking, a good approach to start is to always say about yourself all the derogatory things the other person is thinking about you anyway. Say them before the other person has a chance to say them.
When we begin to condemn and criticize ourselves, there is a certain degree of satisfaction the other person starts to feel. Why that? Because the other person can’t wait to throw their opinion and their viewpoint into your face. By criticizing yourself, the only way the other person can nourish their self-esteem is to actually show mercy. And this is exactly what happened in the situation I described above. In this respect, admit your mistake fully and honestly and say what the other person is going to say anyway. Simple.
#2 Be nice!
Instead of adopting a furious and dominant approach for forcing your thoughts into the people’s mind, try and be the nice dude instead. Try and use a rather soft-spoken, calm and friendly approach. You see, whatever type of person your opposite may be. At one point, during your argument, they will want to explode and yell their point or opinion into your mind, simply because they are obsessed that theirs is the right one.
We all know that once we start raising our voice or even yell at someone, we will appear rather foolish and may even feel embarrassed. By staying calm and friendly is a great way to ‚outcompete‘ your opposite. It’s a battle of who can keep the ‘coolest’ mind for longest. Every person knows, that once they lose control over themselves, they lose. So stay calm and gentle. This shows that you can be bigger one in any situation. This is what will ultimately make you superior.
Let’s just remember what Dale Carnegie once said…
“The Sun can make you take off your coat more quickly than the wind“.
I’ve come to remember this little phrase ever since I read it. What he means is that appreciation and kindness can help you change peoples minds more quickly than all forces and blusters combined. I’ve found this to be true for all my life.
#3 Know how to sell your idea
No, you don’t have to be the ultimate sales person for this one. All you need is to be able and empathize a little with the other person. I mean, our ultimate goal is to get the person to accept and be a ‚yes sayer‘ to what we think right? So all we have to do now is to get the other person to always say ‚yes‘ to whatever we tell them. If we get a ‚no‘, we’ve, more or less, lost.
I mean, what does a ‚no‘ really mean? A solid and secure ‚no‘ response, isn’t just a normal ‚no, I don’t agree with you‘ story, but rather a reaction, where their entire physical body, muscles, and mind are alerted to guard their ego and guard against acceptance of your thinking. A ‚no‘ is the word that will automatically, put the other person into a condition of rejection.
Getting a ‚no‘ response right at the beginning of the conversation is unfortunate, and will require deploying a lot of patience to get the other person back on track. To prevent this from happening, think carefully before speaking. I still catch myself over and over again getting a ‚no‘ response straight at the beginning of the conversation. This is a technique that requires a lot of practice and some serious reps if you want to master it. 🙂
Let’s consider the worth of a ‚yes‘ response. Even with a little ‚yes‘ from the other person, what they really mean, is that they have understood and accepted your way of thinking. They will also be open to consider more of what you’re still going to say and keep an open attitude as well. This will make it a lot easier to get them to say ‚yes‘ when you make the ultimate proposal.
So how do we maintain someone being a ‚yes‘ sayer throughout the conversation? A great way I’ve found for myself is to ask blindingly obvious common-sense questions that will make the other person say yes. If you’re reading this right now, I’m assuming you’re a quite mature person and definitely know whats ‚right and wrong‘. In this respect, use common-sense questions that provide no other possibility for your opposite than to say yes.
Your ultimate goal is to achieve a smooth transition to them becoming a yes-sayer to your way of thinking. Think of the sun and wind quote, Dale Carnegie once said. 😉
Take-home message. I’ve found these strategies to work out very well in my own life. I originally read about them in one of Dale Carnegie’s best-selling books How to Win Friends & Influence People. But as we know that a lot of these self-help gurus love to make everything sound so easy to implement, I can confirm that I’ve especially these three strategies to work out very well with a little bit of practice. I’ve also seen them being applied by various other people I’ve met in my life who have achieved remarkable results with them. Just give them a try!
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