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The ability to influence people is a vital skill in the real world. Remember, you cannot make others do things, unless they want to. As the saying goes, you can only bring the cow to the water, but you cannot force the cow to drink it. This article will show you how to bring the cow to the water, and hopefully, make it want to drink it as well.
- In order to influence people, you first need them to like you and respect you, through these steps:
- Be genuinely interested in others. A typical person cares more about the small cut on his finger, than a flood in China that kills thousands. Why should anyone be interested in you or what you have to say, unless you are interested in them first?
- Be kind, outgoing, and smile a lot to make a good impression.
- Remember other people's names by using them in conversations. People like to hear their names, and the use of their names makes your message more personal to them.
- Be a great conversationalist. Engage others to talk about themselves and listen attentively to what they have to say. This is the most important thing you can do to make others feel important, and they will like you and respect you for showing interest to what they have to say.
- Never talk about your own interests, but instead talk only about the other person's interests. That will make what you have to say more relevant to them, and they will listen. The key to influencing people is to cause them to desire the change for themselves, not to change so they can please you and satisfy your interests.
- Always respect others' opinions, and avoid arguments like the plague. Arguments will go nowhere. If you "win" an argument, you will cause ill feelings in others, and alienate them as a result, so you lose. And if you lose an argument, well, you lose. So do not argue.
- If you are wrong, be sure to admit it quickly and emphatically. The quick way to generate animosity is by failure to admit your mistakes when you are obviously at fault. So if you want to build credibility and respect, be sure that you are quick to admit your errors as soon as you realise them.
- Always begin in a friendly manner if you try to change others to your way of thinking. Start by asking questions that they will quickly say yes to, in order to get cooperation.
- Let others feel the idea is theirs. This is very important to influence others to your way of thinking. People can be critical of others's ideas, but if it's their idea, they will be much more in favor of it.
- Try to see things from others's point of view and sympathize with their beliefs. Ask yourself, what motivates them to do such and such things? By seeing things from others' point of view, you can influence them accordingly. Also, reciprocity works in a way, that if you respect others' beliefs, they will appreciate you and your beliefs as well. But if you cannot sympathize with their beliefs, why should they sympathize with yours?
- Appeal to noble motives. People are more likely to change their bahaviors, if the change will benefit society as a whole, rather than just you.
- Always assume good faith, and call attention to others mistakes indirectly. Begin with genuine praise and appreciation, smile, and just briefly mention something that you think they did incorrectly, not by saying that they are wrong, but rather by seeking clarification so you can understand and learn from what they did.
- Before you talk about others's mistakes, talk about yours first.
- Never give orders (even with the word please). Instead, ask questions. For example, instead of saying "please don't smoke here," say something like "Isn't it a nice day outside? Would it be nice to smoke outside instead?" (note: if they say no, do not argue. See above.)
- Let the other person save face. Try not to reprimand in public, and assume good faith, even when it seems clear that they have done wrong. Encourage them by making their faults seem very easy to correct.
- Praise is the best motivator for behavior, so be lavish with your praise and praise even the slightest improvement.
- Give others a fine reputation to live up to.
- Make others feel happy about doing your suggestions.
- Give honest appreciation and praise every good work.
- Do not argue.
- Do not condemn.
- Do not criticise.