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.
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.
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.