Behaviour — 4 Steps To Social Success
How To Interact With People, Without Pissing Them Off
Have you found yourself getting into repeated arguments with your significant other, colleagues or your boss? Do your conversations seem to go round and round in endless circles, with no definite conclusion? Are you tired of fighting with others over seemingly trivial details?
If the above sounds like your life, you may be in need of a little technique I’ve picked up over the years — I call it the “social algorithm”. It’s a fool-proof 4-step method of getting your all-important views aired, and at the same time, having the other party completely accept your views as their own, all whilst feeling happy about doing so. This is especially important when you know that you’re correct about something, and you need the other party to listen to you.
Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? It sure is incredible. Somedays it even makes me wonder if we’re all just algorithms, like what Robert Ford mentioned in the second season of Westworld. Spooky…
Well don’t just take my word for it, use this algorithm! And let me know your results! Ready? Here…we…go…!
4 Steps To Success
I’ll give you a little mnemonic so you can recall the 4 steps better when you’re in the meeting room, home, or restaurant:
A.A.Q.S. — Athletic Aliens Quickly Swam
Step 1 — A is for Acknowledge:
Remember that everyone’s life experience is unique, and as such, everyone’s opinions of the world are in their own way, correct and complete to themselves. We need to acknowledge this fact. How do we acknowledge it?
- Repeat what they said back to them, show that you have heard them.
- Laugh and make positive comments about their experience.
- If it’s a negative experience, frame it in a positive light.
- You can tell them about a similar incident that occurred to you.
If you run out of things to say, its perfectly fine! Get the other person to talk about themselves — be curious about their life, and not yours. And most importantly, help them celebrate their life! Reframe their negative experiences as positive ones, and laugh!
Here’s an example acknowledgement:
“Yes, people can be so troublesome sometimes. Maybe God really did overestimate himself when he created human beings! What bullocks!”
Step 2 — A is for Agree:
Once you’ve acknowledged their experience as truth and fact, it is time for you to end off by agreeing with them. How do we agree with them? We can use simple ending statements such as:
- I know what you mean.
- I completely agree with you.
- I know how you feel.
- You are right.
It also helps to nod in agreement at this point, as well as to mirror their body language. This shows that you are agreeing with them on both a verbal and non-verbal level — remember that 60% of communication is non-verbal!
Here’s an example agreement:
“I completely agree with you, there must be a better way for talking with people. How can we ever make them agree with us?”
Step 3 — Q is for Question:
At this point you will be tempted to interject with your own facts, your own truths, and your own views. Resist this urge, it is imperative that you resist your natural self!
Remember, nobody cares about what you feel or think, they only care about what THEY feel and think!
So you’re probably going to ask me…how can I get my point across, when other people don’t actually care about what I think? I’ll give you the answer: “Make them feel as though your idea is theirs!”
How do you do that? Through questioning of course. Instead of forcing your ideas down other people’s throats, question their ideas! Structure your questions such that you will lead them to the same conclusions — and ideas — that you have.
Here are some questions you could ask:
- What do you feel about…?
- What do you think…?
- Have you considered…?
- What would happen if…?
- Could it be that…?
You may also begin these questions with leading phrases such as:
- You know…
- At the same time…
- A friend of mine suggested…
- I recall that there was a previous situation whereby…
Here’s an example question:
“I see what you mean…by the way, have you considered how the situation would be different, if we decided to ask them questions about their ideas, rather than forcing our ideas down their throats?”
Sounds nicer, doesn’t it? When you ask these questions, it is also helpful to use vague, colourful language, that helps to illustrate the point. Remember humans are visual creatures, we’re more visual than auditory actually…
“…forcing our ideas down their throats…”
After each question, you will be getting the listener to respond to your question, using their own mind. It is very likely that they will arrive at the same conclusions as you did — and as such, they would have planted your idea into their own minds voluntarily — amazing!
The best part is…they’re going to feel very smart for coming up with this idea “all on their own”!
Step 4 — S is for Suggest:
Now that they’ve arrived at the same ideas as you have, not through brute force, but through questioning their own ideas…it is time for you to round-out the deal through suggestion.
You will need to suggest to them that their new ideas will result, in a positive outcome for themselves — not for yourself, for themselves. Remember, nobody cares about what you think or feel.
This part is the most fun, for people with a sense of humour and imagination, you can go wild here! And it helps to be wild, make your listener excited to do what you have suggested into their minds previously! Excitement, yes!
- Wouldn’t it be nice if…?
- Can you imagine if…?
- How would it be like if…?
You can always round out the above questions with some leading phrases:
- Now that you know that…
- You know as well as I do that…
- Now that you realise that…
Here’s an example suggestion:
“Now that you know that it’s possible to subtley plant ideas into other people’s minds…can you imagine the possibilities? We could do so much good in this world…its going to be amazing! Let’s go!”