I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I want fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or a grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”
Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?
Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interest in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of u are just like you: we are only interested in what we want.
So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
Every act you have ever performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something. How about the time you gave a large contribution to the Red Cross? Yes, that is no exception to the rule. You gave the Red Cross the donation because you wanted to lend a helping hand; you wanted to do a beautiful, unselfish, divine act.
If you hadn’t wanted that feeling more than you wanted your money, you would not have made the contribution. Of course, you might have made the contribution because you were ashamed to refuse or because a customer asked you to do it. But one thing is certain. You made the contribution because you wanted something.
Harry A. Overstreet in his illuminating book Influencing Human Behaviour said: “Action springs out of what we fundamentally desire … and the best piece of advice which can be given to would-be persuaders, is: First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: “How can I make this person want to do it?”
That question will stop us from rushing into a situation heedlessly, with futile chatter about our desires.
Here is one of the best bits of advice ever given about the fine art of human relationships. “If there is any one secret of success,” said Henry Ford, “it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
If out of reading this book you get just one thing—an increased tendency to think always in terms of other people’s point of view, and see things from their angle—if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the building blocks of your career.
Looking at the other persons’s point of view and arousing in him an eager want for something is not to be construed as manipulating that person so that he will do something that is only for your benefit and his detriment. Each party should gain from the negotiation.