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While manipulating people seem to be counter-intuitive for being a likable person, there are ways to manipulate others while remaining Lykeeble. There are good, and there are bad ways of manipulating people. The unlikable ways of manipulating people include instilling fear, guilt, bribery, preying on feelings, and imposing power. We want to avoid applying these when we try to manipulate people. While effective, it lessens your influence, damage your reputation, and people will avoid interacting with you in the future. It may also yield negative effects on your career, as people will hate you as a co-employee or a future boss.
Dale Carnegie said “There is only one way to get anybody to do anything, and that is by making the other person want to do it.” This is the proper – and harder way – to manipulate people. You have to be creative and think about the strategy on how you can convince the other person to do what you want. It will take time, effort, strategy, and sometimes money, to be able to manipulate a person correctly. You will also need a likable reputation in the first place. But, if done correctly, you will only need to impose your influence once, and people will gladly oblige and do what you intend for them to do, even behind your back.
“There is only one way to get anybody to do anything, and that is by making the other person want to do it.”
– Dale Carnegie
Here are 5 ways on how to properly manipulate people and still remain likable.
1.) Learn to listen intently.
Listen first to what the other person wants to say. Sympathize with the other person’s predicament. Learn to see things through the other person’s point of view. Understand the person. Do not argue or contradict what the other person is trying to say. Once you have understood and given sympathy, people will be more open to what you have to say. They will be easier to manipulate.
I remember a salesperson for a bike store dealing with a difficult customer trying to return an expensive bike he just bought. The customer discovered that the bike he purchased lacked a particular feature he wanted. The customer was furious, and it seemed like there was no convincing him.
What the salesperson did, was ask the customer what the problem was and listened intently. The salesperson agreed to the complaints the customer raised, and that he would have done the same thing as the customer is doing if he was in the same situation. After the customer calmed down, he talked about where he planned to take the bike, about the trail, and how he was excited about the ride. The salesperson continued to listen, and even told the customer that he would like to join him some time in a bike ride. The result? The customer changed his mind about returning the bike, and said he can manage the ride without the feature he was looking for.
2. Give free tastes.
Just like free food tasting in your local grocery, let people experience how they can benefit from what you want them to do. This is the reason why car dealers let you test drive their vehicles, salespeople sprays you with free eau de parfum or lets you try on an expensive pair of sunglasses. Once you enjoy or find benefit from the experience, you will be tempted to purchase the item.
As mentioned earlier, manipulating people while staying likable usually takes time, effort, money, or strategy. Say, you have a coworker who is hesitant in using a new office equipment. To convince the coworker, you can make a deal that if he gives it a try for one week, drinks are on you this coming Friday. It may take some time for the coworker to really adopt the new office equipment. He may not adopt it the following week, but sooner or later, if the new office equipment yields benefit to the coworker, he will adopt it. It takes time because people usually resist change. People usually undergo cognitive dissonance when presented with a new routine, thought, belief, or attitude.
3. Give kindness first.
Who genuinely wants to follow or obey a person with a bad attitude? No one. People may even intentionally disobey an order just to annoy the jerk who gave it, if there are no major consequences at stake.
Usually, people are forced to obey someone due to superiority of the other person, i.e., he is the boss, or because of policy. But if you show genuine kindness, once you make a request, people will gladly oblige. It has to be consistent genuine kindness. If you only show kindness at the time you want something, then people will see you as a fake person. This is why it is important to be a likable person.
Once you have exhibited your kindness, people will be easier to manipulate.
4. Be influenceable as well.
The way to be influential is for you to be influenceable yourself. For people to be open to you, you have to be open to them. It is the rule of reciprocity, i.e., “The Golden Rule.” You want people to like you? Then like them first. You want people to be genuine to you? Then be genuine to them first. You want to influence people? Then you have to be influenceable, too.
5. Know the person.
Knowing the person allows you to strategize your approach. Most people are suckers for compliments, and I do not mean that as a bad thing. In fact, I want people to give compliments more often. It is free and almost effortless on the giver’s part. It will make the world a better place. But, you have to know which compliments to give out to a specific person. Know which things is the person more sensitively proud about. Do you know that he is working out at a gym? Compliment his appearance. Did she just got her hair done? Compliment her hair.
If you know the person, you will also know what is his capacity to oblige to your request. You do not want to solicit financial help from a person who you know is facing bankruptcy, nor ask a short person to reach something from the top shelf.
Flattery is different from compliments. Give compliments, but not flattery. According to David McCasland, “the difference between a compliment and flattery is often motive. A compliment offers genuine appreciation for a quality or action seen in another person. The goal of flattery is usually self-advancement through gaining the favor of someone else. Compliments seek to encourage; flattery attempts to manipulate.”
While our motive is to manipulate, which is counter-intuitive if we give compliments instead of flattery, we also want to stay likable. Give genuine compliments consistently even if you do not intend to manipulate, so when the time comes to manipulate, the person will most likely oblige without seeing you as a manipulator.
There is no one-size-fits-all way of manipulating people. That is why you have to know the person, to know which among your arsenal you have to use.
Being manipulated does not have to be seen as a negative notion. If you are going to manipulate me, I would be glad to be manipulated, provided you do so by applying the 5 listed ways above. I would love to (1) be listened to, (2) get free stuffs, (3) genuinely accept the kindness you offer, (4) influence you as well, and (5) be known more deeply. Even if I know you are trying to manipulate me, I would still like you.
Do you have anything to add? Comment it below. I would love to hear it.