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5 Expert Ways To Deal With Difficult People -- And Make Them Love You

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Don't do a "feedback sandwich". Instead get negative news out of the way as quickly as possible:

Nobody likes delivering bad news. Stanford’s Jeffrey Pfeffer recommends having someone else do it whenever possible.

But what about when it’s unavoidable? Don’t do the old “feedback sandwich” of positive comment, negative comment, positive comment.

Research shows it’s better to be briefly negative and then offer an extended list of positives.

More on effectively giving feedback — from the guys at Pixar – here.

How to get them on your side to avoid conflict:

Repeated studies show that flattery works.

But avoid “fixed-mindset” praise; if you tell people their success is inevitable because of innate qualities it can be devastating when things don’t work out.

People like others who they feel are “on their team” or who “do something just for them.”

When dealing with hostile or belligerent people, you can leverage this to make them feel closer to you.

More on effective influence methods from persuasion guru Robert Cialdini here.

i'm a big robert cialdini fan.  his book, INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion, is a great read and full of good info.

It is a great book, Emily, but it's dangerous in the hands of people who have flexible ethics.

It's helpful for the rest of us to be mindful of the techniques that get used against us.

I've read it twice and I feel like I would get a lot out of reading it again!

indeed, it could be dangerous in the hands of bad guys!

i have also read it twice and i'm also thinking another read might be worthwhile!  the anecdotes are great fun and the info is very pertinent to everyday life. the 6 key persuasion tactics of reciprocation, commitment & consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity are used all the time.  it's good to know what they are and have an eye out for it when they are used against us!

That's right! Eric Barker's summary serves as a good refresher:

oh that is such a good summary! we don't have to read the book again after all! :)

Heh heh. A summary is good but it misses all the anecdotes and scientific experiments.

The key is never what you said, it’s what they heard.

And if you want to make things better, ignore what they said and focus on what they meant.

More secrets to clicking with people here.

"if you want to make things better, ignore what they said and focus on what they meant."  so true!  i wish people would spend less time nit-picking each other and more time being understanding. whenever someone corrects me on a spoonerism or switched word, i just ask, "you meant what i knew, right?"

That's the right response, Emily. Lead by example.

Eric's article is also great because it teaches you how to answer difficult questions such as...

“Which dress should I wear tonight?”

“What did you think of my violin solo?”

“Does this make me look fat?”

“Do you like the present that I gave you?”

Read the answers here:

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