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How To Make People Like You: 6 Science-Based Conversation Hacks

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1) Encourage people to talk about themselves

2) To Give Feedback, Ask Questions

3) Ask for advice

4) The Two Question Technique

5) Repeat The Last Three Words

6) Gossip — But Positively

Playing with my headline tool :D.

Your headline tool is awesome!

Eric Barker's 6 tips are quite similar to those in Robert Cialdini's book INFLUENCE, which describes a framework for the psychology of persuasion by identifying six approaches to persuasion tasks:

1) Reciprocation -- Repay gifts.

2) Commitment and Consistency -- Follow through.

3) Social Proof -- When in doubt, follow the crowd.

4) Liking -- Believe those you like.

5) Authority -- Be part of the team; listen to experts.

6) Scarcity -- Value what is rare.

These tools, though not subtle, can be employed in ways that put the "B" in subtle.

I recently re-read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People ...

The incantations are quite useful:

Fundamental Techniques in Talking with People

  1. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Connect with Another Person

  1. Be genuinely interested in the other person.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're Wrong."
  3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

Going back to the article that started this page, I like Eric Barker's point #1:

Encourage people to talk about themselves

It gives their brain as much pleasure as food or money:

Talking about ourselves—whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter—triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money, researchers reported Monday…

“Self-disclosure is extra rewarding,” said Harvard neuroscientist Diana Tamir, who conducted the experiments with Harvard colleague Jason Mitchell. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “People were even willing to forgo money in order to talk about themselves,” Ms. Tamir said.

But enough of me, let's talk about you. What do YOU think of me?

Read more:

Also from Eric: The Two Question Technique.

Ask them about something positive in their life. Only after they reply should you ask them how they’re feeling about life in general.

Sounds silly but this method is based on research by Nobel Prize winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman.

A positive answer on the first question will lead to them feeling more positive about their life in general when you ask the second question.

Via Thinking, Fast and Slow:

The same pattern is found if a question about the students’ relations with their parents or about their finances immediately precedes the question about general happiness. In both cases, satisfaction in the particular domain dominates happiness reports. Any emotionally significant question that alters a person’s mood will have the same effect. 

More on this powerful technique here.

Read more:

This technique is surprisingly effective: Repeat The Last Three Words

I’ve posted before about the incredible power of active listening and how hostage negotiators use it to build rapport.

What’s the quick and dirty way to do active listening without training?

Social skills expert and author Leil Lowndes recommends simple repetition.

Via How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships:

…simply repeat—or parrot—the last two or three words your companion said, in a sympathetic, questioning tone. That throws the conversational ball right back in your partner’s court.

It shows you’re listening, interested, and let’s them get back to telling their story.

You’ve got to be slightly savvy about this one but it’s surprisingly effective.

Surprisingly effective?

Yes, it is.

It is?

Research shows repetition is effective in negotiations as well.

Read more:

Eric Barker previously wrote about five other conversation hacks.

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