Covert persuasion might just be the technique you're looking for. Who doesn't need advice on how to deal with difficult people? Difficult people are everywhere and our society encourages demanding, rude behavior so many of them don't even think they are doing anything unusual.
Some people see it as being strong and confident but when you are on the receiving end of angry or rude behavior you do not see that person as strong and confident. In fact it is often the opposite. Dr Alan Zimmerman guest writer at Changing Minds.org (covert persuasion) shares some of his best advice on dealing with difficult people. See if you can recognize the covert persuasion techniques used in the story below.
Covert Persuasion Techniques for Dealing with Difficult People
When I look at the history of mankind, I'm amazed at how far we've come in technology. It's awesome. Figuratively speaking, we've come millions of miles. When it comes to the history of human relations, however, we've hardly taken a step. The same problems that plagued people in ancient times are still with us today. People are still rude, selfish, insensitive, and difficult -- some of the time.
In fact, one University of North Carolina survey found that 78% of the respondents think incivility has increased in the last decade. And every one of the respondents could cite examples of co-workers who had treated them disrespectfully. To some extent, the media likes to glamorize examples of poor human relations. Read bumper strips. You'll find lots of rude comments made by difficult people. I read one that said, "I like you because you remind me of when I was young and stupid!"
And watch the sitcoms. I remember one scene where an answering machine said, "I'm probably here. I'm just avoiding someone I don't like. Leave your name and number. If I don't call you back, it's you." Now I'll have to admit there have been times I would have liked to use such a message. I'm sure the same is true for you. The problem is it doesn't do any good. It doesn't work.
As today's Tip suggests, when you throw dirt, all you do is lose ground...Unfortunately, we're forced to work with difficult people. That's life. Even though we may not like certain people or the situation they put us in, there are some things we can do...
I've focused on this particular covert persuasion technique because it has been very useful to me...
FIND A POINT OF ENTRY. It's like the young minister who was assigned to a New England church. A bossy woman lived next to the church, a woman who acted as though she owned the place. In fact, whenever the minister wanted to get in the church, he had to ask her for the key.
The first time he met her, he introduced himself as the new minister. She became indignant and said, "Oh no you're not!"
In fact, she went around telling everyone that this new guy was too young and inexperienced. He didn't even look as if he had enough sense to come in from the rain. And his first sermon in that church, she told everyone, wasn't worth much.
The young man decided to look for his point of entry, to look for a way to win her over. So he went over to her house as she was busy baking cookies. He couldn't help but say how good they smelled.
"So you like the smell," she said rudely. With reluctance she gave him one. After he finished it, he commented, "That's wonderful!" So at his request she gave him another one.
"You don't mind asking for what you want, do you?" she asked. But then she pushed the whole plate of cookies within his reach.
"I hear you lost your boy when he was my age," the young man said. "You must have been lonely all these years."
The woman nodded. "I still make these cookies because he liked them." He said, "I like them, too." And then he was silent.
That started them off on a new relationship. The young minister said she became a cherished, lifelong friend. She would bring him into her kitchen, give him some advice, and feed him. Indeed, she showed him how to win over all the other folks in the congregation.
It's so easy to react to the behavior of difficult people. After all, it's difficult. It does hurt. We can judge people's methods, but we need to be very careful about judging their motives.
The way the priest waited for just the right opportunity to reach out to the woman and recognized that her difficult nature was a result of her painful emotions is one of many covert persuasion techniques for dealing with difficult people that you should definitely try to work on. The covert persuasion technique used by the priest was so subtle you may not have realized it when you first read the story. Imagine all that you could accomplish if you were to adopt covert persuasion techniques like those in your everyday life. How would you use your new found powers of covert persuasion now?