The Learning Leader Show – Robert Greene on 5 Strategies For Becoming a Master Persuader (Part 1)

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Key Takeaways
  • A really good leader is able to adapt to circumstance, change, take criticism, and learn from experience
  • “As a leader, it is absolutely essential that you can judge people’s character, because the greatest problem you will face, is that you hire the wrong people”
  • “People of good character are like gold, and you want to surround yourself with them”
  • “Your whole life is dependent on how you deal with people. It’s the single most important skill you can possibly develop.”
  • “The reason you’re not truly listening to other people, is because you’re absorbed in yourself, in that little interior monologue constantly going in your brain”
    • Why? – We generally find ourselves and our thoughts more interesting than other people
  • If you somehow challenge someone’s opinion of themself, with what you say or do, you will create an enemy
  • Use flattery wisely
    • “Flattery is a tool that you have in your arsenal for influencing people, but it has to be strategic. You can’t just flatter someone about what everyone else flatters them about.”
Intro
What are the commonalities among leaders who demonstrate sustained excellence?
  • The ability to learn from experience and adapt one’s ideas
    • Many people are not really open to changing their opinion about whatever it is that they’re doing
    • It’s HARD for people to criticize their own work/processes
    • In a position of power, an ego tends to develop – all the success goes to your head
    • “A really good leader is able to adapt to circumstance, change, take criticism, and learn from experience”
  • They have a vision – what Robert calls a “third eye”
    • They have to be able to see the larger picture
    • “The majority of people are trapped in their own little narrow perspective. They’re focused on the present, and their own agenda/issues. The leader sees the larger picture.”
  • The ability to work with people
    • “The people around you are not just numbers”
    • A good leader is able to focus on people as individuals, and not just assume one person is like every other person they’ve dealt with in the past
  • They set the right tone
    • They set an example
    • They have skin in the game – you’re not asking people to do things you’re not willing to do
A Leader Must Be Able to Judge Character
  • “As a leader, it is absolutely essential that you can judge people’s character, because the greatest problem you will face, is that you hire the wrong people”
    • Judge people not by their glittering resume, or how charming they are, or how nice they are to you, but by their character
    • “People of good character are like gold, and you want to surround yourself with them”
  • How can you better judge character during the hiring/interview process?
    • Stop judging people by appearances, or how sociable they are
    • Look deeper – people often wear masks
      • Many people are just trying to impress the interviewer, so they can get the job
    • The people you don’t want to hire – the narcissists – they don’t display their narcissistic qualities openly. They can be very charming people, so it’s hard to distinguish.
    • Robert’s advice – look deeper, don’t take appearance for reality
    • Examine a person’s past – talk to people who they’ve worked with before (this is so important)
      • Toxic people will inevitably have a track record 
    • Look for red flags – Like people who have a history of not being able to work with others, or people who have a history of leaving jobs very frequently
    • Looking at someone’s non verbal communication will tell you an incredible amount about them
      • Often, a person will talk highly of themselves, but display signs of nervousness, or subtle cues that indicate they’re not really confident
    • One cool thing Ryan has thought about doing:
      • Taking a interview candidate out to dinner, and orchestrating the waiter/waitress bringing them the wrong food with slow service, to see how they handle the situation
      • Robert – “People often reveal who they are in the little details”
        • How someone drives a car, shows how aggressive they are
        • How someone treats a waiter. is how they treat other people
The Laws of Human Nature
  • Through Robert’s career, he has amassed an excellent ability to judge people/character
  • Your skills can sure get you very far in life, but if you don’t know how to work with people, or you don’t have social intelligence, you’ll suffer
    • “Your whole life is dependent on how you deal with people. It’s the single most important skill you can possibly develop.”
  • Humans are not socializing as much as they used to – we’re stuck behind our smart phone
  • Robert crafted the book’s chapters around what he calls ” the 18 general patterns of human behavior”
    • An example – “The need to constantly compare ourselves to others, to what other people have, is so deeply ingrained in our nature”
      • We’re doing it thousands of times a day, consciously and unconsciously – comparing ourselves to others and what they have
5 Strategies to Become a Master Persuader
  • Transform Yourself Into Being a Deep Listener
    • Not only should the quantity of your listening improve, so should the quality
    • “The reason you’re not truly listening to other people, is because you’re absorbed in yourself, in that little interior monologue constantly going in your brain”
      • Why? – We generally find ourselves and our thoughts more interesting than other people
      • Flip this around – Instead think: “Maybe my interior monologue isn’t so interesting?”
      • Think of the other person as a treasure chest full of secrets, and be excited about finding out everything you can about the other person – “They’re more interesting than you think”
    • None of the other elements of persuasion will work, unless you can really listen to people
  • Infect People With the Proper Mood
    • It’s important to realize that humans are extremely influenced by the moods and emotions of others, not just their words
      • We easily pick up on the anxiety/angst of others
    • Realize that you maybe subconsciously be displaying insecurity/anxiety
      • Know that your subconscious communicates itself nonverbally
      • So, try to be more aware of things like your tone of voice, and body language
    • Your children pick up the subtlest signals about your mood, to a degree you’re not even aware of
      • “Your anger or hostility towards them, because you”re in a bad mood, is infecting them far more deeply than you could ever imagine”
  • Confirm Their Self-Opinion
    • All people that you deal with have a self-image, or an opinion about themselves
    • People generally think of themselves as:
      • Intelligent – Everyone likes to think they have superior knowledge about something in life
      • Autonomous – That they operate by their own will power
      • Good/Decent – That they treat others well
    • If you somehow challenge someone’s opinion of themself, with what you say/do, you will create an enemy
      • That person will “put up walls that may never come down”
      • So be careful about giving unsolicited advice
    • Instead – first validate someone’s self-opinion, and once you do this, you now have room to change some of their behaviors
      • You can’t persuade someone (or alter their behavior) if you first violate the opinion they have of themselves
    • “No one today really takes the effort to understand the problems of others, or what they’re going through. If you make that effort, and you connect empathetically, and you show that you understand the roots of their behavior, you will make a connection that is very deep, and you’ll have room later on to suggest some changes.”
  • Allay Their Insecurities
    • EVERYONE has insecurities
    • To get on someone’s good side, compliment their insecurities
      • If you know someone is self-conscious about their looks, compliment them on what they’re wearing
      • You don’t have to lie, just make them feel “not so bad” about what they’re insecure about
    • “Flattery is a tool that you have in your arsenal for influencing people, but it has to be strategic. You can’t just flatter someone about what everyone else flatters them about.”
  • Use People’s Resistance and Stubbornness
    • Understand people’s resistances, and work within that frame – that’s much more powerful that working against it
    • An example:
      • If your child hates doing homework, but loves watching TV – only allow them to watch after they do their homework
    • “Work with people’s defenses and stubbornness, and find a way to turn this into productive behavior”
Thought Provoking
  • We’re more likely to attribute our own mistakes to external circumstance, and less likely to attribute them to our own bad character
    • For others, we have a hard time seeing the external circumstances that may have led to a mistake, and thus are more apt to attribute their mistake to their own bad character

Check out the Podcast Notes for Part 2 of the interview

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