I was very mischievous and found it easy to get into trouble as a kid.
One afternoon, I drew on the kitchen wall with crayons and ended up making quite the mess.
My parents weren’t too happy when they found out, but they didn’t know whether it was me or one of my siblings who had done it.
My Dad walked into the room with a big smile on his face and said…hey you guys…I saw a beautiful drawing on the kitchen wall and I really like it..I was wondering who did it?
Immediately, I said “It was me, Dad!”
My Dad somehow managed to get a confession out of me with little or no effort.
How did he do it?
Fast forward all these years and after reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, I can see the three techniques my Dad used. These techniques are deceptively simple but are as effective as ever.
It turns out, the greatest desire in every human being is the desire to be appreciated. We all like being complimented and hearing we’re doing a good job.
Our desire for approval and praise makes us climb the highest mountains, write novels and found multi-million dollar companies.
My Dad knowingly or unknowingly took advantage of this fact and it worked.
If he had used criticism while dealing with the situation he would have probably not gotten the results he wanted. My siblings and I would have been defensive with him.
This is a technique every person should know. Especially, if you’re someone whose job depends on how well you interact with people.
The possibility of receiving praise as a reward is a much stronger incentive than the threat of punishment for a bad job. For someone to want to do you favors, they must know you as someone who shows appreciation, not someone who is quick to criticize.
This is the first rule when dealing with people and is what Dale Carnegie talks about in the book. Never criticize someone. There is always a better way to get your point across without criticizing them.
The second technique is…always choose the bait to suit the fish.
My Dad knew that the quickest way to get a confession in this case was to praise the drawing and make it seem like he truly liked it.
The next time you go to your local coffee shop, tell the person who makes your latte that they did an amazing job with the latte art and that they should do a YouTube video about it because it’s the best latte art you have ever seen! I’m almost positive that the level of service you receive from that person the next time will be even better and you will have made a new friend.
Remember, the greatest desire in every human being is the desire to be appreciated.
It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with your kid, your spouse, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your boss, your colleague or anyone.
Seeing things through another person’s perspective and giving them the appreciation they crave for is probably the most important asset one can develop.
The third technique my Dad used which is something that is easily overlooked is the fact that he had a big smile on his face when he walked into the room.
We humans are suckers for people who smile at us. If we meet someone new and see them smile, we tend to automatically like them. The smile of a baby, for example, immediately makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside, as does seeing a dog wag his tail like crazy because he’s so happy to see us.
The next time you are having a conversation with someone, remember these three techniques.
1. The greatest desire is the desire to be appreciated.
2. Pick the bait to suit the fish.
There are some people who will find this hard to do because they are constantly thinking about the next thing they want to talk about and can’t keep quiet and just listen to what the other person is saying.
But for those who decide to put these techniques to good use, here’s a quote from the book by Dale Carnegie himself.
“Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said:
“Wouldn’t you like to have that?”
Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?