A Positive Way to Pursuade Others

July 31, 2014

If only they would see it from my point of view. Have you ever thought or said this? It’s frustrating when you are trying to get others to see your point, follow your expectations, or you are simply unable to persuade someone to take a certain course of action.

Some people do have the power of persuasion. It seems no matter who, and no matter what the circumstance, these people can persuade others easily, and they often do it without resentment. You may think…if only I can do the same!

I share this because I was recently reminded of a subtle, yet powerful way to persuade others. It originates from the days of Socrates, and it is described by Dale Carnegie in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

What’s the secret formula? It is simply the ability to get the other person to say YES! It makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, yes is the most positive word in the English language. Your job is to get the other person to say yes as many times as possible. You accomplish this by asking questions that you know will bring a yes answer.

I began practicing this idea years ago, and I can tell you that it works wonders. As a teacher, I can tell you that it works very well in the classroom.  In order to persuade my students to follow my classroom expectations I have several options…I can drill them into their heads, I can bring negative behaviors to their attention every time, or I can use this method. Instead of nagging about what they’ve done wrong, I address it in a different way. For example…” don’t you think it would be easier for you to get good grades when you remain focused in the classroom? “Do you want to stay out of the detention room?” “Do you think other students will be more respectful to you if you are nicer to them?” These are just a few examples. Which one of the methods above works the best? I think even on an 8th-grade level the answer is obvious. It’s a softer approach, yet the message gets through loud and clear. I am addressing, yet avoiding focus on the negative. And the best part is that the other person is making up their own mind instead of me telling them what’s right.

I use it in my personal relationships as well. If I am having a disagreement with my wife, I can either throw my opinion at her and claim adamantly that I am right, or I can ask questions to try to get yes answers. Even if she still doesn’t agree, I’ve kept the peace, and at least I have her thinking about my point of view instead of completely turning her off to it. The same is true when I try to teach my own daughters life lessons. Two of the three are teens, and the other one is close. I’m not going to get anywhere with them if I criticize or simply state what’s right and what’s not. If I can get them to answer yes to my questions, I am again leaving it up to them to consider the positives of my expectations or point of view. I am much more likely to persuade them this way.

I recommend this approach the next time you need to convince someone of something. I am not talking about controlling people here. I am simply sharing an effective, peaceful, and powerful way to help others see your point of view and persuade them (not force them) to a particular course of action. Perhaps you are a parent trying to persuade your child to make the right decision. Perhaps you are a leader at work trying to motivate an employee. Or maybe you are simply trying to end a debate peacefully and productively. Whatever it is, I believe this concept will help you accomplish it. This is because the other person will be more open and accepting of what you are saying, they are making up their own mind, and even if you don’t fully persuade them, you will still most likely gain their agreement and maintain their respect.

So what do you think? Is this something that would make your life better?


A Short, But Powerful Word

November 17, 2011

When you ask a question, what is usually the answer you want to hear? It is almost always, “yes”. I thought about the power of this word again today. Just the sound of the word brings an air of positivity. There are several reasons for this. One is that it symbolizes the affirmative. It also means our goals have been acheived. How did you feel when someone asked if you got the job you were seeking, and you could proudly answer yes? Or when someone looked at you and asked if you lost weight and you smiled and said yes. I think you get the picture.

I am realizing again that, to live a successful life, this yes word needs to be a regular part of our vocabulary. Assume the yes in all areas of your life. Believe that, yes, I can earn that promotion; yes I can improve that relationship; Yes, I can be more positive and energetic. Think yes only, and don’t even think about no. If for some reason God’s answer is no for something, then stop and follow for a better way. Otherwise, live with an attitude of yes, that your goals can and will be accomplished.

One can even use the yes to prove a point. In the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie says that an effective way to influence others is NOT to force your views on other people. Instead, he suggests asking a series of questions that will provide a yes response from the other person. By doing it this way, you are more likely to get the other person thinking towards your point of view instead of completely rejecting the ideas you forced on them. I use this method in teaching adolescent students, as well as working with adult customers. I can say from experience it is very effective.

I recommend that, on a regular basis, you repeat this short, powerful word to yourself often. Again I will say that, even just hearing it brings to mind thoughts of positivity, power, and accomplishment. Make this yes word a regular part of your language and attitude, and you will experience many yes moments in your life. Enjoy the blessings : )

Praise You Like I Should

August 11, 2011

There was a song that played regularly on radio in the late 1990s by an obscure artist known as Fatboy Slim. The song was called “Praise You”. It was one of those songs that I never really figured out if I liked it or not. No offense to the singer but the vocal was mediocre, the line “praise you like I should” made up about 3/4 of the songs lyrics, and the same musical riff continued throughout the song. However, that continuous riff was catchy, and the song was stuck in my head on many occasions.

I write about it now because those words still ring through my head as I think about the topic of praise. I appreciate the people and things I have in my life, yet I find that I don’t praise these people and the God that gave them to me like I should.

There are several reasons I believe it is very important to do so. In regards to people, several times in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” author Dale Carnegie stresses this theme. He says one of the greatest ways for us to be likeable and influential is to be “hearty in our aprobation and lavish in our praise”. Think about how we feel when someone expresses sincere appreciation for something we’ve done, or if someone comliments us for something, even if it is only a small thing. It can make our day, year, or even sometimes our life.

How many times is the subject of praise brought up in the Bible? it seems countless to me. What strikes my attention most is how the great characters of the Bible start their prayers by first praising God for who He is and what He’s done. Then they present their petitions before Him.

I believe we owe the people in our lives the praise they deserve. I need God’s help with this, and I now pray every day that I can praise the people in my life in voice or action (or both) on a daily basis. Sincere, honest, specific praise for something, no matter how big or small it is. The rewards are instantaneous. The smile on my kids’ faces as I compliment their manners and abilities. The sincere thank you I receive from my wife as I do something for her without her asking. The smile on my students’ faces as I compliment their work. The surprising reaction I get from the stranger on the street when I say something like, “I like that jacket”. These actions make our day, but once again, think about what it can do for someone else.

Finally, God also appreciates our praise. The Bible says it is His will that we are thankful in all circumstances. It also says “let everything that has breath praise the Lord. From my own experience, it seems like the more thankful we are, the more we receive to be thankful for. Also, a thankful heart just makes every situation, good or bad, that much better.

So I challenge myself and anyone else to live our lives with a thankful heart and “praise like we should”  God Bless : )