Win the sympathy of a person
Writer James Altucher is an active user of the Quora Q & A service. Recently, in response to the question “How to win a person over in five seconds?”, Altusher told a whole story about one of his experiments, which he then shared in his blog on Medium. Here is a translation of his story.
I met more than 100 prostitutes and tried to win their sympathy in five seconds or faster. It wasn’t that I wanted to sleep with each of them, it was just my job.
For about 2.5 years, I went to work, which I created for myself. At three o’clock in the morning from Wednesday to Thursday, I talked to people on the street and tried to get to know them.
If someone appears on the street at three in the morning from Wednesday to Thursday, there is usually a very definite reason for this. Most often, this is not a very pleasant reason.
Why three o’clock in the morning? Because once at this time, my girlfriend kicked me out of the house with the words: “There is no one worse than you!”. I left. And as I walked down the street, I was surprised to see how excitingly beautiful everything was at this time of night. I wanted to know what was going on at that time. I wanted to talk to all the interesting people I could see.
But I was too shy. I wouldn’t dare do that. I could only just watch. So I made it my job.
I worked as a programmer for HBO. I turned to my superiors: “We make original programs for television, but we should also make original content for the Internet.” I suggested launching a web show called “Three Nights” (III: am), which would tell about what happens at three in the morning.
Probably, over these three years, more than 1,500 people have become my interlocutors. Every week, I chose the four most interesting interviews and published them online.
One thing was always the same: no one wanted to talk to a stranger like me at three in the morning. And every time I was afraid and embarrassed to do it. Here’s what I did to make it easier for myself:
People are overwhelmed with facts.
They will be happy to be free of these facts. Ask: “Why are you crying?” or (from a drug dealer) “What is more bought today?”
Be individual. No one wants to hear questions like: “How do you like the weather?”. But anyone will be happy to throw out their facts if you ask the right question.
He was smiling.
When I meet someone, the first thing I need to know is not whether I like them or not, but whether they like me. A smile is the best way to let someone know you like them. But try to be sincere. Fake smiles look creepy.
If someone says to you, ” There was a time when I didn’t smoke crack. But now I’m just looking for a place to live, ” ask the person why they started taking drugs. Why does he like it? Is he going to quit? Where does he usually spend the night and why can’t he go back to his old home?
Every time someone says something, he opens the veil behind which the secrets are hidden. Dig until you find out these secrets, because that’s where all the gold is.
He controlled his brain.
Your brain doesn’t want to talk to strangers. He needs comfort. He needs you to be safe. We have the same genes as our ancestors 40 thousand years ago. Communication with someone not from your tribe can result in your death.
Therefore, if you want to talk to someone you don’t know, your brain will start screaming, interfering with you, and causing real physical pain. Curiosity allows you to bypass this lock. So, for example, if I see two people arguing, I focus on my interest, not on the pain that runs through me as soon as I take the first step toward them.
He dressed decently.
Sometimes I lie on the sidewalk and beg from passers-by. I don’t want my children to know about this. 99% of people ignore me and pass me by. I do this to train my ability to communicate in uncomfortable conditions.
I shouldn’t be doing this. Lying on the sidewalk is dirty, it is soiled and littered. But if you stand up straight, be well-dressed, and smile, people will at least stop. They will wonder if you represent a new opportunity for them. Try to keep it that way.
I understood that this is not easy for everyone.
I remember watching one interview . The famous TV presenter talked to people on the street. Sometimes she would look at the camera and make a face because she didn’t like the people she was talking to. I thought her behavior was disgusting.
Our whole life is a continuous battle, from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Respect other people’s battles. Understand that this is not easy for everyone, and maybe even more difficult than for you. Don’t try to feign sympathy or sincerity. People feel it.
I learned to empathize.
I once talked to a transvestite prostitute. Her parents were put in prison when she was still a child. After that, she was subjected to violence in every juvenile detention center she went to. This continued until she became so confused about her own sexuality that she no longer knew whether she was a man or a woman. So left somewhere in the middle, she was afraid to go out during the day and catch the eyes of people.
I didn’t know how to put myself in her shoes. My life seemed stupid. But I think I often felt like a person from another world. So I asked her opinion about it. She spoke for a long time, without stopping. Finally, she had a worthy listener.
I interrupted you!
I’m hosting a podcast. I’ve interviewed hundreds of different people. And each time I know that I will not be able to communicate with each person more than the hour that is given to me for one issue. People often come with prepared answers, so it’s impossible not to interrupt. I tell them in advance: “Excuse me, but is it okay if I interrupt you if I hear something particularly interesting?”
People always agree. When Tony Robbins says, ” And then Bill Clinton calls me and…”
“Wait! Why did Bill Clinton call you?” I won’t have a chance to ask this question again. So I interrupt and ask if I can’t contain my curiosity.
People write to me: “Let the guests finish!”. No! I have to interrupt. I’m too stupid, and if I don’t understand it NOW, I’ll never understand it again.
Made people laugh.
I often say something in public. I want my audience to like me. Even before that, I often went on dates, and I wanted girls to like me. Or, if I sell something, I want to please a potential customer. All of the above and much more can be combined under the name “selling yourself to the client”.
Here’s what I do: every time I do it, I watch a stand-up comedy show for a few hours. It may sound silly, but it works. We all have mirror neurons. This means that we can learn by simply observing.
If I didn’t know how to use a ladder, but watched someone climb with it, I would have learned too. If I watch stand-up, I won’t become a comedian, but I will be able to speak a little better, joke a little funnier, control my voice and facial expressions a little better, and behave a little more freely.
Every time it works and every time it helps a lot.
I was once told: “But that’s not how mirror neurons work.” I told him to mind his own business.
He was himself.
Sounds like a cliche. Not because it’s so easy – rather, it’s so easy to say and so difficult to do.
How can I be myself? Don’t know. I don’t know myself that well. Every time I imagine that I’m the stupidest person around. For some reason, it makes it easier for me to be myself.