Persuasion: Shmoop Study Guide

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Is that going to make the person like us? Not to mention, nine times out of 10, arguing just results in the other person even more firmly convinced that he is right. If we lose the argument, we lose; if we win the argument, we have made the other person feel inferior, hurt his pride, and made him resent us.

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In other words, we still lose. What if, instead of arguing with someone, we admit their importance through appreciation?

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Instead, sleep on it. This comes off as a challenge. It arouses opposition and incites in the other person a desire to battle with us. Carnegie tells a story of a computer department manager who was desperately trying to recruit a PhD for his department. He finally found the perfect candidate, but the boy also had offers from much larger and better known companies. When the boy told the manager that he was choosing his company, the manager asked why.

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The boy explained: "I think it was because managers in the other companies spoke on the phone in a cold business-like manner, which made me feel like just another business transaction. Your voice sounded as if you were glad to hear from me … that you really wanted me to be part of your organization.

This one is simple: Challenge yourself to smile at someone every hour of the day for a full week. A person's name is a very powerful thing - it's an embodiment of that person's identity. It's a reference to them. So remembering and using someone's name is a great way to make that person feel important. Calling someone by their name is like paying them a very subtle compliment. Conversely, forgetting or misspelling someone's name can have the opposite effect and make it feel as though we are distant and disinterested in them.

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Remembering and using people's names is also a critical component of good leadership. The executive who can't remember his employees' names can't remember a significant part of his business, and is operating on quicksand. Yet, most people don't remember names for the simple reason that they don't put in the effort to.

We make excuses that we are too busy. We are introduced to a stranger and forget his name only a few minutes later. Next time you meet someone new, make a sincere effort to remember her name. Repeat her name several times and try to associate it in your mind with her features or expression, or something you've learned about her. If it is an uncommon name, ask her to repeat it or spell it for you.

Then write it down later so you can visualize the name too. Free Tool: Just as asking someone to repeat their name for the fifth time can be taken as frustrating, so can asking "have you seen my email yet? Carnegie explains that he once attended a dinner party where he met a botanist whom he found to be absolutely fascinating. He listened for hours with excitement as the botanist spoke of exotic plants and indoor gardens, until the party ended and everyone left.

Of course, Carnegie had hardly said anything at all. What he had done was listen intently. He listened because he was genuinely interested. Even the most ill-tempered person, the most violent critic, will often be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener. Take for example, a store clerk. If the clerk constantly interrupts and irritates customers, those customers are more likely to start arguments and bring frustrations and complaints to the store manager. But a clerk who is willing to listen could calm even a customer who storms in already angry.

Yet, most people would prefer a good listener to a good talker. Remember that the people we are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their own problems than they are in us and our problems. Next time you have a conversation, pay attention to how much of the conversation is you talking vs. How much listening are you doing?

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As you practice this, pay attention to what causes you to jump in with more talking. Are you filling awkward silences? Do you tend to get carried away when you tell stories or share ideas? Think of some ways you can encourage the other person to do more of the sharing. We now understand that people like to talk about themselves and have others be interested in them. The next best thing to talking about themselves is talking about the things that they enjoy. Whenever Theodore Roosevelt expected a visitor, he would stay up late the night before, reading up on whatever subject he knew particularly interested his guest.

And that is because Roosevelt was keenly aware of the following idea:. Carnegie describes a story from a man named Edward Chalif, who was planning to ask the president of one of the largest corporations in America to pay for his son to go on a Boy Scout trip. Before Mr. Chalif went to see him, he had heard that this man had drawn up a check for a million dollars, and that after it was canceled, he had had it framed. Upon meeting the man, he mentioned how much he admired the check and would love to see it. The man was thrilled! Chalif was there to see him.

When Mr. Chalif mentioned his request, the man agreed without any questions and even offered to fund the trip for several other boys as well. What could we say to that person to cheer them up? We could think of something about them that we honestly admire. This might sometimes be difficult with a stranger, but we should push ourselves to think of something, and mention it to them.

When Carnegie describes having this type of interactions with a stranger, he notes that many people have asked him what he was trying to get out of the person. His response:. Go out of your way to offer words of kindness to that person through a genuine compliment.

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Aim to do this at least once every day. If I am wrong, I want to know why. The latter approach becomes disarming, and often causes the other person to be much more reasonable, or even thank us for having an understanding attitude.

It also hopefully inspires our opponent to be just as fair and open-minded as we are. Without our egos threatened, we may become very open to exploring new possibilities. You might even ask the other person for permission to share your perspective on the matter, which readies the other person to listen to your ideas in a less critical mindset. Carnegie tells a story of taking his dog to the park without a muzzle or a leash, and running into a police officer who scolded him, as this was against the law.

So the next time, Carnegie let the dog run free. When he ran into that same police officer, he knew he would be in trouble. Instead of waiting for the police officer to start reprimanding him, he spoke up, saying that the officer had caught him red-handed, he was guilty and had no excuses, that the officer had already warned him.

After that, the only way the policeman could nourish his self-esteem was to take a forgiving attitude and show mercy. Next time you find yourself in the wrong, challenge yourself to be the first to point it out. If you messed up on a work project, approach your boss about it, or bring it up next time you meet with her.