I was very impressed with this book in fact blown away.
You see I was always the kind of person that you would describe as book smart but not street smart.
For the first time I received practical strategies that I could use to influence others instead of pie in the sky positive thinking crap spewed by most authors including the ones I admire such as Tony Robbins or John Maxwell.
It was like a blind man gaining vision.
This book uses specific psychological strategies that are independent of race, gender etc. They are driven by human nature.
Get the other person to like you
The fundamental premise of this book is that you need to get the other person to like you before you can influence him.
The author lists nine strategies to achieve this.
The first is the law of association. When you are suffering from pain then whoever it is that is with you at that moment will get associated with the pain. You will not look forward to seeing this person!
If you would desire a particular person to like then be with that person while experiencing strong emotions. Strong empotions such as the ones you experience while riding the roller coaster help bond the association.
A youthful walking posture will also help raise your attractiveness level regardless of your age.
Build rapport by imitating the gestures and speaking style of the other person. Of course do not be too obvious with this tactic. Some examples are matching the gestures, the speaking pace and so on.
The author quotes a surprising statement. In order for someone to like you it is not necessary to do good things for him. What you need to do is make the other person feel good about himself. You can do this by getting the person to do a favor for you.
Become a human lie detector
One of the neat strategies he talks about is called the ‘Connundrum’ as a great lie detector test. In this strategy you make up a story and pass it off as a fact to the unsuspecting party.
Depening on the reaction you get to your story you will get a pretty good idea of whether you are being lied to or not.
As an illustration of how you can use this strategy assume you are the wife of a husband who has claimed to be at the movies and you suspect that he actually had a romantic rendezvous with a woman.
You could make up a story about how bad the traffic was at the theatre the husband had purportedly visited. If you notice even a brief hesitation before he replies then he has already played his hand. Had he really been at the movies he would not have any trouble commenting on the traffic.
How to influence others to take action
Present fewer options. People generally either freeze or keep changing their decisions when presented with multiple options.
If you want to discourage a person from taking a specific action outline the number of steps she will need to take if she were to continue on her course of action. For e.g. to develop an acute dislike for cooking you could list the effort it will take to drive the store, walk up and down the aisles to select the purchase and then wait indefinitely at the checkout counters.
Conversely you can omit steps if you want the person to take your suggested course of action.
How to handle rude people
This one is perfect for me and not because I am rude but because I am the butt of rudeness!
I was once talking to an acquaintance about a job that he took in the NY city, a long commute from where we live. I asked him innocently why he did not chose to work at the White Plains office of his employer as that would be closer home. That was when he poured out *@#$*@#@.
So rather than reacting angrily or defensively to rude b…rs you need to throw the ball right into their court by saying something like “You seem to be having a rough day” or ” You seem very upset”.
By doing this you do not become a part of his problem. You throw the problem back into his court.
How to criticize without getting burnt by it
Criticize about something long after the event took place. This helps reduce the sting.
Criticize the action and not the person.
While criticizing convey the impression that the other person may not even have been aware of his actions that have invited your criticism.
The author lists many other strategies to handle sexual abuse and rape.
But then being a person who is not interested in raping anyone or for that matter someone who can never be the victim of rape I really was not too interested in it:)
However for the benefit of my numerous female admirers that are reading my blog ( being a realist is not one of my virtues!) here are some pointers.
- Act like you are interested in a sexual intercourse with the rapist. This will disarm him enough for you to inflict physical harm on him and escape.
- Pretend that you have a incurable and infectious disease such as AIDS.
- Act crazy. A rapist thrives on his sense of control. A crazy victim will deny him that pleasure.
Recently I was listening to a conversation between Eben Pagan and his mentor Wyatt Woodsmall and gleaned a few nuggets on the age old question – what does it take to create the life you want.
Here they are:
1) Know your outcome - Most people have no clue what they want. If they do at all it is about wanting to remove something negative such as how to get rid of a person or how to get rid of smoking etc. The movie ‘The Secret’ is all about creating the right want. You need to want to create something positive.
Wyatt advises us to remain conscious and alert at all times so as to guard against negative wants and negative thinking.
2) Develop the sensory acuityto determine on the basis of evidence what is working and what is not working. Most people actually don’t do this and instead indulge in wishful thinking.
3) Flexibility - If something you do is not working the way you want then change it. Do something else. I was struck by what Wyatt said next “The world is conquered not by might but by change”. Do not work harder instead try something new.
4) ACTION – If all you do is read and listen then nothing is going to happen. Take action.
I read a recent article in the Times that quoted a Canadian study on positive thinking.
The essence of the experiment was that participants in the study were prompted at regular intervals to recite positive things about themselves. Participants actually ended up feeling worse. In the same experiment those who were commended for doing something positive such as donating money etc felt worse after being praised.
I am sure the above study was based on scientific principles. But 100 years ago the cutting edge science also approved making holes in skulls to relieve headaches.
Now I am a pretty average person myself and granted that even after many years of self help books my life has still remained pretty average. However something inside me clicked when I listened to Zig Ziglar’s program ‘Developing The Qualities of Success’.
I had never listened to a Zig Ziglar program before partly because I knew him as the father of the affirmation mantra and Anthony Robbins always disses affirmations. In fact he compares affirmations to the act of ignoring the weeds in your garden and saying I have no weeds, I have no weeds.
No wonder I was turned off by Zig Ziglar.
But then I listened to his program and tried out his affirmation ritual during my daily commutes.
And then something started happening inside me.
I became more confident, more action oriented … more of everything I affirmed.
And it has only been a week.
This is not just wishy washy subjective feel good crap either.
I started seeing positive benefits that were concrete.
On the very second day of my affirmation ritual I was in a business meeting with my clients. Against my normal submissive style I got very involved in the meeting and made several pro active suggestions that were well received. A few days later I received a commendation and another project from them.
As I write this article it is getting dark outside. Sunday is winding up. I was at the beach the whole of Saturday. Yet today, in just one day I accomplished more than the entire two days of last weekend when I happened to be home throughout the weekend.
I believe the reason why affirmations work for me is that I invest some emotion into it. I don’t normally do this and no wonder self help normally not used to work for me in the past.
So my trigger is emotional affirmations that go to my heart instead of a rational cold brain.
To think I almost missed out on Zig completely because of what I believed Anthony Robbins said about affirmations.
Heed your own counsel…try out everything…put your heart in it.
One time at work we all participated in an innovation campaign. As part of this campaign employees split up into separate teams of 12 to 13 people to come up with an innovative idea. Our mandate was to come up with a Powerpoint presentation of our idea and its applicability as well as a billboard with a catchy headline. The billboard would serve the purpose of advertising.
At the end of the campaign employees all over the company would review each presentation and vote on the best ones.
Very dutifully we came out with what we genuinely believed was a great idea. We spent the last few hours before the submission deadline prettying up the presentation by adding neat animation features, cute grahpics and sound effects!
Almost as an afterthought we spent the last few minutes as the team was breaking up discussing the need to make printouts of the billboard and put it up at key locations.
Looking back, this was a very useful exercise. We learnt a lot from it most of it after we were done with the actual work.
We observed colleagues doing some really innovative things. Some hung up their billboards from the ceilings, some on the covers of coffee cups. Some created lifelike dummies to drive home the message of their presentation. Some put up banners at key locations such as employee entrance into the campus. Many teams practiced email campaigns in which each team member sent out emails to his/her personal contact list urging them to check out their presentation and vote for it. This turned out to be particularly effective as many employees just did not take time out to reveiw the numerous presentations. So the first one that approached them ended up getting all their votes.
We had done none of the above. We fell into the very familiar trap “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your doorstep”. This story was a personal example of the need to sell even in areas you would never associate with selling.
What was galling was that I considered myself to be fairly marketing savvy!
In his book “Lets get real” Mahan Khalsa quotes “Sales is the second oldest profession in the world often confused with the oldest”.
We all know what the oldest profession is, right guys
His quote packs quite a bit of meaning. It reveals the hoary past of salesmanship and how integral it is to humanity. But it also shows that no matter how important it is, we look down on the people practicing it. I used to be one myself. I prided myself on my technical expertise and felt that sales was easy, not challening, not cerebral and certainly not fulfilling.
Once I understood the importance of sales I thought I had managed to become quite the sales savvy person. But as the story above proves we need to constantly be on alert lest we slip into our past conditioning.
I was hooked by the title. As our attention spans become shorter these strategies get more important.
He says there are three main points that impact what you say. First is that you need to have an objective. A conversation or dialogue without an objective is a waste of time. The objective can be anything such as to get the other person to take a specific action or get his reaction to a specific question and so on.
The second point is to know who can deliver your objective. For e.g. asking your colleague for a promotion will not do it for you.
The third and the most important thing is the approach. How do you go about interacting with the person to get your objective.For e.g. if you are looking for a promotion one approach could be that you are already performing at the level to which you seek a promotion to.
The author talks about using hooks to get audience interest. His opinion is that personal stories and incidents make for the best hooks.
For e.g. the title of his program was a fantastic hook to me.
He talks about many things you can do to embellish your speech. He urges us to use visual words i.e. words that convey a visual image. These raise the impact and retention of your message. He used a good example in contrasting two statements.
Statement 1 -> A large deficit will ruin the economy
Statement 2 – > A large deficit is like cancer coursing through the blood stream of the economy and ruining it.
In all he made 90 points. As you can see I did not get them all.
But I surely did get the most important ones.
I was impressed with the amount of information he conveyed in 30 second snippets throughout. I could not believe the message was just 30 seconds long.
Brian Tracy talks about using your car as a mobile university. After listening to his urgings for more than 2 years I finally started following it in bits and pieces.
It is amazing how valuable such information. Sometimes I wish for a longer commute just to absorb the message in one ride.
But then again it could be that I just want a break from my two little monsters at home as much as I love them (I am referring to my children).