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How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less


Personal Thoughts

Whether selling, managing, negotiating, planning, collaborating, pitching, instructing-or on your knees with a marriage proposal-the secret of success is based on connecting with other people. Now that connection is infinitely easier to make through Nicholas Boothman's program of rapport by design.

Summary Notes

  • Believe it or not, the attention span of the average person is about 30 seconds!
  • You will capture attention with your likability, but you will hold on to it with the quality of rapport you establish.
  • 1) your presence, i.e., what you look like and how you move;
    2) your attitude, i.e., what you say, how you say it and how interesting you are; and
    3) how you make people feel.
  • As with the smile and the eye contact, be the first to identify yourself.
  • The formula for effective communication has three distinct parts: Know what you want. Formulate your intention in the affirmative and preferably in the present tense. For example, “I want a successful relationship, I have filled my imagination with what that relationship will look, sound, feel, smell and taste like with me in it, and I know when I will have it” is an affirmative statement, as opposed to “I don’t want to be lonely.” Find out what you’re getting. Assess what you’re doing to achieve your goal and the response it’s getting. For example, you may discover that going to bars isn’t a great way for you to meet people. Change what you do until you get what you want. Design a plan and follow through with it: “I’ll invite three friends for dinner Saturday night and ask them each to bring someone.” Do it and get more feedback. Redesign your plan if necessary, and do it again, evaluating whether it works better. Repeat the cycle—redesign–do–get feedback—until you get what you want. You can apply this cycle to any area of your life that you want to improve—finance, romance, sports, career, you name it.
  • The key to establishing rapport with strangers is to learn how to become like them. Fortunately, this is both very simple and a lot of fun to do. It allows you to look at each new encounter as a puzzle, a game, a joy.
  • When we set out to establish rapport by design, we purposely reduce the distance and differences between another person and ourselves by finding common ground.
  • Your attitude controls your mind, and your mind delivers the body language.
  • What they do wan and their attitudes reflect this. “I don’t want my boss yelling at me anymore” comes with a whole different attitude than “I want my boss’s job” or “I want to be promoted.” Similarly, “I’m sick of selling neckties all day long” sends a completely different attitude and set of signals to your imagination than does “I want to run a charter fishing boat in Honey Harbor.” Your imagination is the strongest force that you possess—stronger than willpower. Think about it. Your imagination projects sensory experiences in your mind through the language of pictures, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes. Your imagination distorts reality. It can work for you or against you. It can make you feel terrific or miserable. So the better the information you can feed into your imagination, the better it can organize your thinking and your attitudes and ultimately your life.
  • The good news is that attitudes are yours to select. And if you’re free to choose any one you please, why not choose a Really Useful Attitude? Let’s say you just flew into Miami International Airport and you missed your connection for Omaha. You simply have to get on the next flight at all costs, so you go up to the airline desk and shout at the representative. This is a Really Useless Attitude. If what you want is to get the attendant’s maximum help, the best thing you can do is to find a Really Useful Attitude that will create rapport and get his cooperation. I’ll probably regret saying this, but I’ve talked my way out of dozens of automobile-related tickets (I’ve also failed a few times) and not just for parking infractions. I’m absolutely convinced that if I’d started by telling the officer his radar was off or by losing my temper and getting angry and telling him I’m the mayor’s cousin and I’ll never visit this town again, I’d be doomed from the start. If I want the officer to like me, to be understanding and not give me a ticket, then I have to assume a Really Useful Attitude like “I’m sorry” or “Fair enough” or “My, what a fool I am” or “Oh wow, yes, thanks!”
  • In face-to-face situations, your attitude precedes you. It is the central force in your life—it controls the quality and appearance of everything you do.
  • It doesn’t take much imagination to dream up some Really Useless Attitudes—anger, impatience, conceit, boredom, cynicism—so why not take a moment to contemplate and feel a Really Useful Attitude? When you meet someone for the first time, you can be curious, enthusiastic, inquiring, helpful or engaging. Or my favorite—warm. There’s something intoxicating about warm human contact; in fact, scientists have discovered that it can generate the release of opiates in the brain—how about that for a Really Useful Attitude? Needless to say, any of these are more useful than revenge and disrespect. Ask yourself, “What do I want, right now, at this moment? And which attitude will serve me best?” Remember, there are only two types of attitudes to consider when we are dealing with fellow humans: useful and useless.
  • Your body doesn’t know how to lie. Unconsciously, with no directions from you, it transmits your thoughts and feelings in a language of its own to the bodies of other people, and these bodies understand the language perfectly. Any contradictions in the language can interrupt the development of rapport.
  • Make sure that your words, your tonality, and your gestures are all saying the same thing. Be on the lookout for incongruity in others. Notice how it makes you feel.
  • Congruity, then, has one unshakable rule and it is this: if your gestures, tone, and words do not say the same thing, people will believe the gestures.
  • Don’t try too hard! In a study conducted at Princeton University, students of both sexes were questioned about their methods of sizing up people they met for the first time. Overeagerness was one of the most reported turnoffs. Don’t smile too hard, don’t try to be too witty, don’t be overpolite and avoid the temptation to be patronizing.
  • People hire people like themselves. People buy from people like themselves. People date people like themselves. People lend money to people like themselves. And so on—ad infinitum.
  • The idea is to get the other person talking, then find out what matters to him or her and synchronize yourself accordingly. This is the realm of small talk, the hunting ground for rapport. It is here that you will search for common interests and other stepping-stones to rapport. While big talk is serious stuff like nuclear disarmament and politics, small talk is everything else: your personal Website, renovating the bathroom, a speeding ticket or the color of your cousin Marisa’s new sports car.
  • In all of these situations, give the other person about three chances to interact. If after three questions or comments, he or she is clearly not responding enthusiastically, don’t make a pest of yourself. Disentangle graciously by saying something simple like “Have a nice day,” “Enjoy the show,” “Enjoy the rest of your flight/trip/holiday,” or whatever else is appropriate.

How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less

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