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Using Compliments To Control Communication

Using Compliments To Control Communication
Marionette

Over the past few years I have been reading books on personal development, relationships, communication, and the power of manipulation. I took things a step further, when I began to experiment with some of these techniques in real conversations. The thing to remember when your experiments involve other people is to have fun, treat it as a learning experience, and not be harmful or disruptive to other people as you go.

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The word manipulation is a bit of a taboo, and is often thought of as an act that is devious or scandalous in nature. By manipulation, I mean the act of subtly directing a conversation towards your goals — it doesn’t have to be evil, wrong, etc.

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Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that manipulating or controlling a conversation can provide for us by tapping into the power of compliments.

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  1. Switch focus. If you’re in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, or have somehow become the center of attention, you can use a compliment as a way out. Just pick someone and compliment them on their hair, or outfit, and watch as the focus is drawn to them. You’re off the hook!
  2. Demand attention. If you’re in a situation where you want someone to hear you out, let them know that you think they’re a great listener. Most people know listening to be a very valuable skill, and when you bring this to their attention, they will continue to refine and practice their listening skill on you.
  3. Engage networking. If you’re in a social setting, and you let someone know you think they’re a terrific connector, they will be tempted to show off more of that skill to you. They will not only introduce you around, but comment on how nice you are.
  4. Strengthen connections. When you’re speaking one-on-one to a person you recently met, it is a great compliment to tell them how you believe the two of you relate in some way. It’s flattering to learn that someone thinks you are just as good as them, and they will look at you as a friend on the same playing field.
  5. Get your way. Flattery will get you everywhere. If you compliment people on a skill that they have, they will be eager to show it off for you. (i.e. let someone know what a great singing voice they have, and they’re likely to sing you a note or two).
  6. Reveal wisdom. Complimenting a person on their intelligence or outlook on a certain subject will encourage them to mentor you, and tell you a bit more about what they know. This technique appeals to peoples inner teacher and works wonders for getting powerful and knowledgeable people to reveal tricks of the trade.

The key to being successful with compliment techniques is to be sincere. This means that when you use a compliment that is blatantly false, you will seem as though you are waging an attack on the person.

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If you aren’t sure what I mean, consider the following scenario. You are 100 lbs overweight, and someone tells you that you look exceptionally skinny. It’s a big lie, and it just points out your insecurity. You want to avoid doing that to other people.

The best way for you to see how compliments can be used to control conversations is to take these techniques into the field. Try a couple of them on a friend, or random person, and let us know the level of success that you obtain.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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