Win Friends, Influence and Persuade… A Grandmother Showed Us How It’s Done!

Sometimes we learn communication and persuasion skills when we least expect. This story reminds us of the basics.


I slumped into the coffee shop to get my caffeine fix. A woman ahead of me ordered her drink. She’s accompanied by (what appears to be) her daughter and infant grandchild. She got her drink. She began to walk away. Then, she hesitated. She turned around and said to the barista:

Hi, Kathy and Mike (she saw the name tags). This is going to sound corny. My name is Anne. I don’t even like drinking decaf coffee. I come here every afternoon because I love seeing how happy you guys are working together. “

She walked out of the store with her daughter and grandchild. Once out of sight, a guy behind the counter said he almost cried.

What kind of service will she receive the next time she walks in the store? I bet they roll out the red carpet. Do you think anyone will forget her name? Doubtful.

It proves that the best persuasion strategies start with nurturing basic human relationships.

How To Win Friends And Influence People

I don’t know if she teaches a Dale Carnegie class. She seemed like she did. Her few words hit many of those time-tested strategies.

  1. Give honest sincere appreciation
  2. Smile
  3. Make your audience feel important
  4. Do not criticize, condemn or complain
  5. Repeat the person’s name (two out of the three people)
  6. Give praise
  7. Begin in a friendly way
  8. Show genuine interest in other people. Even better, she never said she was interested. She showed it. You can conclude it from her comments.
  9. She made the barista’s feel important

Besides those rules, she did several other things well. She opened with this is going to sound corny. That phrase heightens curiosity. How could you not pay attention at that point? It prepares the listener for what comes next.

We can analyze and dissect things down to the word. Sometimes good persuasion comes down to being someone people want to be around.

A cynic might call this woman a master manipulator. I doubt that. If true, she fooled all of us.

By the way, I am a regular at this coffee spot too. The cashier at the counter, whom I’ve seen for over a year, said this to me:

“What’s your name again? Sorry, I keep forgetting”

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