“Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.”
All of us generally think in terms of stereotypes. We think that in order to be respected it is necessary to appear rude and authoritative. However, by being so we are disturbing not only the peace of mind of others around us but our own peace of mind as well. On the other hand, if we are being too nice to everybody, people won’t take us seriously, and we would end up becoming people pleasers. Both these tendencies are bad. They come to us naturally, and most of us follow them more or less instinctively.
The psychology behind the authoritative person and the people pleaser
Being too pleasing or too authoritative speaks a lot about our childhood. Those kids who had very difficult or sensitive parents turn out to become people pleasers. As children, they couldn’t express their opinion without offending or disturbing their parents, so they develop a habit of framing their thoughts in such a way so as not to offend the others. They carry this habit into their adulthood and treat other people the same way.
The authoritative people, on the other hand, have negligent parents or parents who were preoccupied with many other things. Therefore, they had to speak out for themselves to get the attention of their parents. They do not change this attitude as adults, and always consider their problems as important and want others to solve them.
Overriding your natural tendencies
First, you should identify to which side of the spectrum you belong. Are you somewhat on the authoritative side, or are you more of a people pleaser? Don’t worry, if you want to use communication to your advantage, you won’t have to completely give up these natural traits. They are very important. You would just have to modify them a little bit, so that they are more attuned to serving your purpose than to covering up your insecurities. Let’s take a look at some ways of achieving this.
Be sincere but not blunt
Not all of us are conmen or actors. It is natural for us to appear fake when we are hiding emotions that we feel or showing emotions that we don’t feel. Therefore, it is important that we express what we truly feel. We just have to garb the words appropriately, so that we do not create an undesirable effect on the people we meet.
Always keep a kind and gentle smile on your face, absorb the attitude that comes with it, and alter your behavior to suit that attitude. Instead of criticizing someone, take their attention towards their own faults in a roundabout way. Don’t criticize or demand an apology, however, in case if someone apologizes to you, just say that it’s okay, and never bring their attention to their mistakes repeatedly.
Don’t put the same restraint on yourself when you find that some good quality in someone. Feel free to praise others. Not only it helps you in developing the same quality within you, the other person too would feel more motivated to display the same quality in your presence. It would make their company more enjoyable for you.
In this way, you should convey everything that you feel you wish to convey. Remove the bitterness from your criticism, and the diffidence from your praise. It isn’t what you intend to convey, it is how you covey it that makes all the difference.
Combine your aims
What’s the most obvious reason why others won’t do what you want them to do? Well, they don’t think that it’d be beneficial for them to do it, or they just want to do something else and don’t want to waste their time. If you straightway give orders without finding out the interests of the other person, you are most likely to face a flat rejection. Moreover, even if they reluctantly agree, they would bear you an inner grudge, which is worse.
The best solution here would be to discover the interests of the other person. To do so, you must let them do the talking. On your part, you should only ask questions. But don’t ask any random questions. Ask the questions, which are somewhat related to what you want them to do. Moreover, make sure that they answer in the affirmative to whatever you ask them. This way, they won’t feel like you have imposed something upon them, and they would willingly do the task in front of them as if it is something in their own welfare.
Give importance to others
Contrary to the popular belief, if one person is patiently listening to another, the person doing the talking isn’t the one who is leaving a good impression. Mostly, it is the listener who does the damage. Most of us have ideas that we don’t express because we are afraid of being judged. We build a barrier in front of us letting only the trusted few know about what we really feel. Patient listeners know this fact very well. They penetrate through the barrier making others feel comfortable in their presence. They encourage them to be their true selves in their company.
Socrates: The man who taught intelligence
Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, practiced a rare art, which he called midwifery. He would listen to the other person, and only interfere and ask questions when he would feel that the other person was going off the mark. In time, he would make the other person land upon his own opinion without making him aware of it. This made everyone falsely believe that whoever kept his company suddenly became intelligent, but it was Socrates own intelligence that came out through the others.
We can learn one important lesson from Socrates. Everyone likes his or her own ideas. People appreciate their ideas hundred times more compared to the ideas of others. So, to make them follow your ideas, you must go the Socrates way. You must converse in such a way that you direct the others to your own ideas while making them feel that they themselves have discovered them. To make the deal even sweeter, you can even praise the others for discovering the idea, which is essentially yours. This would give them unprecedented motivation. They would put maximum effort for realizing your idea, which otherwise would have fallen flat on their ears.
Appeal to the emotions
Even if a person were doing something against his conscience, he would try to manipulate the facts in order to make himself believe that he is doing the right thing. All of us have some standards from which we judge ourselves. To successfully persuade someone, it is necessary that you first find out what these standards are for them. What is it that appeals to their emotions?
Once you discover that, you should never allude to it directly. If you do so, the other person would easily find out that you are trying to manipulate him. It would be better if you convey this emotion in an indirect way. Talk to them about a person, or a story, which evokes that emotion. Make them relate to it. Let them get the feeling that what they are doing is the right thing. If someone has a particular belief, by holding frank discussions about it, you can motivate them for being more productive.
Although it is estimated that in the next few years AI would take over many jobs, but as long as we are working with humans, we must respect their emotions. Unless we don’t do so, they won’t give us their hundred percent.
Make your ideas appear grand
In the age of the internet, you cannot expect others to be interested in your ideas unless they sound interesting. Most of the people nowadays fantasize themselves as being famous and successful. They compare their own lives with the lives of the so-called successful and want whatever they do to be a stepping-stone towards reaching something higher.
If you can make them feel that after associating with you they have become a part of something grand or if by constantly commending them for their progress, you can make them feel that they are growing, you won’t need any other motivation. This is the emotion that guides the most hardworking societies in the world. By just instilling this feeling in the others, you automatically pave way for the immense growth of your business.