Social and networking events alway give us the jitters. How do we get others to like us? How do we get them to listen to what we have to offer? Similarly, if you are cracking your brains over how to get your colleagues to buy your idea, fret not! The good news is, making friends and influencing others is not rocket science! You just have to hone your social intelligence and work on your social skills. Remember, the key to making friends and influencing others is not just about your title or position. It’s about understanding social cues and knowing when is the right time to speak and listen.
Have you ever attended a meeting or a party where all the other person does is to talk about themselves? It’s annoying, isn’t it? Whether you are trying to make new friends or persuade someone, always listen first. After all, how are you going to appeal to them if you don’t know a thing or two about them or the problems they are facing? Listen without judgement and resist the urge to complain or criticise them. That’s the surefire way to get them to open up and be more receptive. The general rule of thumb is to listen 75% of the time and talk 25%.
Give What They Want
The easiest way to get others to open up and be receptive about what you are going to say is to begin with a common topic. It can be a topic that they are passionate about or something that they are knowledgeable in. They’ll be encouraged to speak and connect with you. Looking to persuade your stubborn colleagues? Begin with a middle ground where both of you can see eye to eye. Subsequently, let them know what’s in it for them. They’re more likely to be receptive if it benefits them!
Hate it when someone proves you wrong? That’s the same for everyone else! Rather than trying to win an argument, put your point across in a less aggressive manner. Even if you don’t agree with what the other person is saying, don’t scoff or immediately shut them down! Listen and acknowledge their thoughts before providing your own inputs. There’s no point winning the argument if others are not receptive towards your thoughts. You’ll only end up straining relationships instead. If you need to provide some constructive criticism, use the ‘sandwich’ technique. Begin with a compliment, then with the criticism and end off with another compliment.
If you’re shy, this is for you! Work on getting one or two friends who can help you to expand your influence and widen your circle of friends. If you are looking to widen your professional circle, bring along trusted colleagues for networking events and conferences. It’s not a popularity contest and you don’t have to be the most well-liked person. As long as you build a good rapport with your colleagues and those within the industry, they’ll be able to support you when you need it.
If all else fails, be knowledgeable and keep up to date on the latest trends and news. An easy conversation starter can be something related to the most recent news or events that are happening around us. If you are looking to appeal to your colleagues, read up and be aware of the latest industry trends. That way, you won’t even have to persuade your colleagues. They are more inclined to hear you out and respect your opinions especially when you have demonstrated industry expertise.
The next time you meet someone new, try these techniques out and watch how it makes a difference to how you make friends and influence others! Alternatively, if you are interested in learning more about making friends and influencing others, check out Dale Carnegie’s book – How To Win Friends And Influence People.