Might your need to be more successful
at winning friends and influencing people
be met by this management training course
called Skills with People?
Yes if you agree with any of the following
- A huge part of my job is to influence people and win their agreement to go along with me.
- It's is easy so long as they don't resist, but the trouble is they frequently do.
- That's when I get into arguments, even though experience tells me that arguing isn't a very successful way to win friends and influence people.
- I just don't know any other way.
What you'll take away from this course
You'll have the understanding, skills and confidence to be more successful at winning friends and influencing people without argument. When people are resisting your persuasion how you listen to them matters more than what you tell them. We'll help you listen more effectively.
Steps you can take right now
to see if this course in how to win friends and influence people
is right for you
- First watch our short introductory video, "Who needs these communication skills?"
- Then contact us for a chat and we’ll be glad to discuss what challenges you may be experiencing, and if and how we can help you be more successful at winning friends and influencing people.
- Every participant begins this course with a free exploratory one-to-one coaching session by phone or Skype. You make no commitment to proceed beyond this until you're sure this course can help you be more successful at winning friends and influencing people.
You'll find under FAQs (in the main menu above) answers to many of your questions about the content and method of this course.
How the skills you'll practise on this course
will make you much more successful
at winning friends and influencing people
The heart of the matter - the key to persuasion
The key to opening people's minds is in how you handle their resistance. Resistance is driven by emotion - when people’s negative feelings are aroused it's hard for them to be open-minded. When presented with facts and logic it's natural and inevitable they'll argue. And they'll remain closed minded until they've let off steam. That's why reasoned argument so often fails to win friends and influence people.
Here's an outline of a conversation. Person A needs something from Person B. B is resisting. You can see what happens when A tries to persuade with reasoned argument. The two minds are drifting apart, losing connection – and A fails in his attempt to influence B:-
A: I want you to ...
B: I can't because ...
A: Yes, but ...
B: I know, but ...
A: Yes, but ...
B: (digs his heels in and remains un-persuaded)
A: (not getting anywhere, gives up)
Notice the “yes buts”. Listen in to almost any meeting or discussion where controversial issues are being discussed, and you'll hear people saying “yes but” to one-another (or similar words). It's an argument. As they argue their frustration rises and they end up in a ‘dialogue of the deaf’. This approach to persuasion rarely succeeds.
Below, in contrast, A responds to B’s resistance with empathy and assertiveness (the two skills that are crucial for making friends and influencing people without argument). These are the two basic communication skills this course will help you master:-
A: (Listens with empathy instead of saying 'yes but') I get the impression your concern is ...
B: (Spontaneously lets off steam) Exactly!
A: (Speaks assertively) What's worrying me is ...
B: (Becoming more receptive) Mmm. I see what you mean.
This is much more persuasive. And it avoids argument. Argument raises the temperature, wastes time and jeopardises the relationship. Of course there may still be work to do before B fully agrees, but A has greatly increased his likelihood of success. He has responded to B’s resistance not by arguing but by showing understanding and allowing him to let off steam and calm down. This has created a rational atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.
If you find yourself arguing, stop. You're much more likely to win friends and influence people by using empathy and assertiveness instead of argument.
Example of how not to do it
Here's Nicola, a member of the customer support team. She's trying to influence Hugo, manager of the software development department, in order to get the technical assistance her customer urgently needs:-
NICOLA: Hi, Hugo. I’ve got a customer with a software problem. We need to get it fixed as soon as possible.
HUGO: I’m afraid he’ll just have to wait.
NICOLA: But he says he can’t wait.
HUGO: I dare say. But I’ve no programmers free right now.
NICOLA: Can’t you release someone? Its urgent.
HUGO: Sorry. Every customer says his need is urgent.
NICOLA: Yes, but how am I supposed to keep the customer happy if I can’t get him the service he needs when he needs it?
HUGO: I don’t know. My people can’t be everywhere at once. They’re fully stretched.
NICOLA: Maybe, but what am I going to tell the customer? He’s not going to like it!
HUGO: You’re not the only one with pressures!
Both Nicola and Hugo are doing the best they can, and with the best of intentions. But an unresolved stalemate like this does not bode well for the business. Let's see what difference it makes when Nicola uses a combination of empathy and assertiveness:-
Example of how to do it
NICOLA (assertive with empathy): Hi, Hugo. I need to talk to you. I’m afraid I'm bringing you another headache.
HUGO (likes her frankness): So what’s new? Come in, Nicola. What can I do for you?
NICOLA (assertive): My worry is that one of our major customers has a problem with the software. And things are going to get very difficult if we delay fixing it.
HUGO (feels he, too, can be frank): Hmm. The trouble is, half my programmers are already tied up with customers, and the other half are committed to new software development.
NICOLA (empathy): I can see it’s a very difficult balance you have to strike.
HUGO (her empathy wins his trust, and he lets off steam): Too damned right.
NICOLA (more empathy): And now I’m adding to the pressure.
HUGO (now in response to her empathy he starts to soften and see things from her point of view): True, but I can see you're only trying to do your job.
NICOLA (assertive): What alarms me is that this customer carries a lot of weight in the business community. It could damage our reputation, and that would be hard for us to recover from.
HUGO (she has almost brought him round, but he still puts up token resistance): They all say it’s urgent. You don’t think he’s just trying it on?
NICOLA (firm and assertive): It’s losing him revenue as we speak. I’m worried it'll hurt us in the long run if we delay.
HUGO: Okay, you’ve got yourself a programmer.
NICOLA: I appreciate it, Hugo. I’ll keep you in the picture about the customer’s feedback when the job's done.
Guidelines on how to make friends and influence people without argument
In the guidelines below, the process of persuasion - or winning friends and influencing people without argument - is broken down into two stages, the first is working towards mutual understanding, and the second is working towards agreement. It often works better to keep them separate – delay trying to get agreement until you have achieved mutual understanding:-
Stage one – towards mutual understanding
- Begin assertively by telling the truth about what you want, e.g., “I want to persuade you to change your mind about …”.
- Pause, expecting, allowing and encouraging him to put up resistance and raise objections.
- Listen with empathy until he's satisfied you've understood his concern and are taking it seriously. Be patient, allowing him to say all he wants to say.
- Be assertive again, honestly telling the truth about your concern about the risk of not doing what you want. Use pauses so that what you say can sink in.
Stage two – towards agreement
- Finally, having achieved mutual understanding, summarise both concerns, and ask him to join you in looking for an agreement that satisfies you both.
Throughout the conversation be alert for changes in his state of mind. Be flexible. Respond to his changing state of mind by switching as needed from empathy to assertiveness and back again. Don’t be in a hurry to reach agreement. Impatience to reach agreement is one of the biggest obstacles to making friends and influencing people. Agreement is for stage two – it's unlikely to be achieved before mutual understanding.
Yet more reasons why you might benefit from this training
in how to win friends and influence people
- Your ability to influence people is crucial to your success, but you've never had any training in basic influencing skills, nor in how to increase your influence.
- People seem very attached to their ideas and familiar ways of doing things. They resist new ideas and change. You need to know how to make them more receptive to change and more open to new ideas. You need to know how to change their minds.
- The trouble is you tend to get it arguments with people, and that doesn't seem to be a very successful way of changing their minds.
- Arguments happen when people resist new ideas and change. You need to know how to win them over without getting into argument.