You need to understand one basic trait of human beings and it is this:
Humans are not logical creatures.
People don’t usually base their actions and decisions on logic. We humans are more influenced by emotion than reason or good judgment. Our emotions are what drive us. We are emotional beings much more so than logical beings.
Being emotional beings, we want our emotions fed. It is amazing what people will do to satisfy their emotional needs with little regard to logic. When you see people doing things that looks incredibly stupid, they are generally doing it to fill an emotional need. When you watch the evening news or pick up the newspaper you will come across story after story of people doing what appear to be strange and illogical things such as bank robberies, car chases, drug use, embezzlement and every other kind of crazy thing. All of these people are doing these things to fulfill unmet emotional needs.
How Can This Help?
How does knowing this help you? Let’s think about it. If you are trying to influence someone and the only tool you are using is logic, in nearly every case you will fail. However, when you have an emotional connection with that person, even the weakest of logical arguments can succeed. If you can connect with someone emotionally then your power to influence them is vastly improved.
Making Emotional Connections
So how do you make emotional connections with people? There are a number of ways. Let’s talk about one powerful one. The more you know about someone, the more you will be able to connect with them emotionally and therefore you are able to influence them.
By taking the time to learn about another person you gain two things. First it helps you understand that person; where they are coming from and what makes them tick. Secondly, it lets them know that you care about them and are interested in them.
For example, imagine a person you only casually know who comes up to you and calls you by name and asks about the details of your life that aren’t generally known. You can’t help but be impressed and flattered. When they ask you about your job or your family or your hobbies and interests, it’s obvious they have taken an interest in you. You look at that person in a different light. You feel a connection with that person.
My Challenge to You
This is my challenge to you. Think about the people you must deal with and those you need to influence. This could be your boss at work, your spouse, your children, your neighbor or your banker. What I want you to do is play the role of private investigator and begin to learn all you can about that person – details that the average person wouldn’t know. Write them down. Create a file on them if you have to. Do they play tennis? Do they have children? What are their names? What does this person do in his or her leisure time? Where did they attend high school or college?
Then the next time you are with them you can use this information to build that emotional connection. Ask about their children by name. “How is Jennifer enjoying being a cheerleader?” or “How is Jonny doing with Little League baseball?” You will be amazed how they will light up when you talk about their interests.
What it does is build up an emotional connection between you and them. Then when it comes time that you need their assistance or you need to influence them in some way, you will have a much easier time of it.
We All Have the Need
We all have an incredible need to be validated emotionally. We want to fit in, to belong, to be liked. When someone fills those needs we are much more willing to accept their ideas. We are more willing to trust them and want to please them, and yes, even be influenced by them.