Art of Persuasion

Everyone has little tactics for getting what he or she wants. Some use seduction, others beg, while there are those who use plain-old intimidation. But you don't have to resort to unseemly methods to get your way. According to Michael Lee, author of How to Be an Expert Persuader in 20 Days or Less, "The power of persuasion rests on getting people to do what you want willingly, resulting in a win-win scenario for everyone involved." Can't get your employees to meet deadlines or your husband to walk the dog? Then these 10 secrets are for you.

1. Start things off on their behalf. "People are more likely to be persuaded to complete a task if it's already been started for them," says Steve Martin, coauthor of the bestselling book Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. Next time the dishes need to get done, try cleaning the silverware, then asking if your partner wouldn't mind finishing the job.

Use a different approach to stop the same old fights from happening.

2. Use the magic word “imagine.” I know it'll be a late night, but can you imagine how relieved we'll be if we get the job done before going home? This tactic paints a vivid picture in the person's mind of the pleasure if she/he does—or the pain if she/he doesn't—do what you asked, says Lee.

3. Stress their losses. Can't pry your hubby away from Sunday sports for a trip to the beach? No problem. Rather than guilting him into it with complaints about needing more "quality time" together, remind him that he's passing on one of the last days of summer. "We’re more persuaded by the thought of losing something than the thought of gaining," says Martin.

4. Be the first to give. People are psychologically conditioned to return a favor, says Martin. And, instinctually, we've known this one all along—i.e., if you buy the first round of drinks, they'll buy the second. So think of doing the initial good deed as an investment, explains Lee. "In turn, people will feel compelled to do things for you."

5. Ask for more than you need. "People feel a sense of guilt when they refuse a request," Lee says. "If the second request (a.k.a. the real request) is something they can afford to comply with, then they'll grab the opportunity," says Lee. This is a tactic kids know well: Can we go to Six Flags? No? OK, so how about the pool? "The second request gives freedom of choice, like an escape route," Lee says. They'll feel relieved, and you get what you want.

6. Make them laugh. "If you want to be more persuasive, work on your sense of humor," says Lee. And so does British comedian John Cleese of Monty Python fame, who once said: "If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And, if I can persuade you to laugh at a particular point that I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge it as true." Classic comedian mentality, but he's also right: People generally laugh at things when, for one reason or another, they identify with them, explains Lee.

7. Drop the “I” for “we.” "Studies have shown that the reassurance of 'we' is more productive in persuading people to compromise than other approaches," says Martin, including the threatening approach (If you don’t do this, I will) and the rational approach (You should do this for the following reasons). The use of "we" immediately conveys a sense of belonging, commonality and support: We've worked through this before; we can work through it again.

8. Rely on the majority. Energy reduction studies show that households are more likely to reduce their energy consumption if they see their more energy-efficient neighbors’ utility bills. "When persuading, point to evidence of what others like the person you are trying to persuade are doing," Martin says. After all, when making decisions on our own, he explains, we likely survey the scene for reassurance anyway.

9. Use the positive labeling technique. “You did a fantastic job with this—I’m sure you'll do even better next time.” One of the most powerful principles of persuasion rests on a person's need to remain consistent with his past actions, Lee explains. "People are more likely to be persuaded to behave in certain ways if they have acted that way before—and it has been noticed," adds Martin.
10. Time your request. "Sometimes, it’s not what you ask for but when you ask for it," says Martin. People are most persuadable immediately after thanking someone, and at their most persuasive after being thanked, so it's the perfect time to ask for a favor: My pleasure. In fact, I was hoping you might be able to help me out with something, too.

SOURCE: Mastering the Art of Persuasion


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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Dreams

Everyone dreams—every single night—and yet we tend to know so little about our dreams. Where do they come from? What do they mean? Can we control them and should we try to interpret them? We spoke to the dream experts to bring you nine surprising facts about dreams. Read before snoozing.

1. Dreaming can help you learn.

If you’re studying for a test or trying to learn a new task, you might consider taking a nap or heading to bed early rather than hovering over a textbook an hour longer. Here’s why: When the brain dreams, it helps you learn and solve problems, say researchers at Harvard Medical School. In a study that appeared in a recent issue of Current Biology, researchers report that dreams are the brain’s way of processing, integrating and understanding new information. To improve the quality of your sleep—and your brain’s ability to learn—avoid noise in the bedroom, such as the TV, which may negatively impact the length and quality of dreams.

2. The most common dream? Your spouse is cheating.

If you’ve ever woken up in a cold sweat after dreaming about your husband’s extramarital escapade with your best friend, you’re not alone, says Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, a dream expert, author and media personality. “The most commonly reported dream is the one where your mate is cheating,” she says. Loewenberg conducted a survey of more than 5,000 people, and found that the infidelity dream is the nightmare that haunts most people—sometimes on a recurring basis. It rarely has anything to do with an actual affair, she explains, but rather the common and universal fear of being wronged or left alone.

3. You can have several—even a dozen—dreams in one night.

It’s not just one dream per night, but rather dozens of them, say experts—you just may not remember them all. “We dream every 90 minutes throughout the night, with each cycle of dreaming being longer than the previous,” explains Loewenberg. “The first dream of the night is about 5 minutes long and the last dream you have before awakening can be 45 minutes to an hour long.” It is estimated that most people have more than 100,000 dreams in a lifetime.

4. You can linger in a dream after waking.

Have you ever woken up from such a beautiful, perfect dream that you wished you could go back to sleep to soak it all up (you know, the dream about George Clooney?)? You can! Just lie still—don’t move a muscle—and you can remain in a semi-dreamlike state for a few minutes. “The best way to remember your dreams is to simply stay put when you wake up,” says Loewenberg. “Remain in the position you woke up in, because that is the position you were dreaming in. When you move your body, you disconnect yourself from the dream you were just in seconds ago.”

5. Even bizarre dreams can be interpreted.

While it can be hard to believe that an oddball dream about your mother, a circus and a snowstorm can have any bearing on real life, there may be symbolism and potential meaning to be mined in every dream—you just have to look for it, says Harvard-trained psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber. "The meaning of our dreams oftentimes relates to things we are needing to understand about ourselves and the world around us,” he says. Instead of shrugging off strange dreams, think about how they make you feel. “We tend to dismiss these dreams due to the strange components, yet it is the feeling we have in these dreams that matters most,” he explains. “Sometimes the circus and the snowstorm are just fillers that allow us to process the range of emotions we feel about our mother and give us the necessary distraction so we can actually experience that spectrum of emotion.”

6. Recurring dreams may be your mind’s way of telling you something.

Do you have the same nightmare over and over again? Loewenberg suggests looking for underlying messages in recurring dreams so that you can rid yourself of them. For example, a common recurring nightmare people have involves losing or cracking their teeth. For this dream, she recommends that people think about what your teeth and your mouth represent. “To the dreaming mind, your teeth, as well as any part of your mouth, are symbolic of your words,” she says. “Paying attention to your teeth dreams helps you to monitor and improve the way you communicate.”

7. You can control your dreams.

The premise of the new movie Inception is that people can take the reins of their dreams and make them what they want them to be. But it may not just be a Hollywood fantasy. According to the results of a new survey of 3,000 people, dream control, or “lucid dreaming” may be a real thing. In fact, 64.9 percent of participants reported being aware they were dreaming within a dream, and 34 percent said they can sometimes control what happens in their dreams. Taking charge of the content of your dreams isn’t a skill everyone has, but it can be developed, says Kelly Bulkeley, PhD, a dream researcher and visiting scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California. The technique is particularly useful for people who suffer from recurring nightmares, he says. Dr. Bulkeley suggests giving yourself a pep talk of sorts before you go to sleep by saying: “If I have that dream again, I’m going to try to remember that’s it’s only a dream, and be aware of that.” When you learn to be aware that you are dreaming—within a dream—you not only have the power to steer yourself away from the monster and into the arms of Brad Pitt, for instance, but you train your mind to avoid nightmares in the first place. “Lucid dreaming enhances your ability to learn from the dream state,” says Dr. Bulkeley.

8. You don’t have to be asleep to dream.

Turns out, you can dream at your desk at work, in the car, even at your kid’s soccer game. Wakeful dreaming—not to be confused with daydreaming—is real and somewhat easy to do, says Dr. Bulkeley; it just involves tapping into your active imagination. The first step is to think about a recent dream you had (preferably a good one!). “Find a quiet contemplative place and bring a dream that you remember back into your waking awareness and let it unfold,” he says. “Let the dream re-energize.” Wakeful dreaming can be used as a relaxation tool, but Dr. Bulkeley says it can also help your mind process a puzzling dream. “It creates a more fluid interaction between unconscious parts of the mind and wakeful parts of the mind,” he says.

SOURCE: Yahoo! Health - 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Dreams


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