6 Ways To Win Friends And Influence People According to An FBI Expert

Or six simple ways to get people to like you.

How to negotiate like a boss.
How to negotiate like a boss.

Everyone wants to be liked, whether they care to admit it or not, and first impressions can play a big part in that.

Maybe it’s your first day in a new job or maybe you are on a first date but whatever the case you want to win people over and highlight your winning personality. It doesn’t always work out that way of course. Things can and often do go wrong, so the question is: how do you stop that from happening?

Listening to Robin Dreeke might be a good start. He’s the former head of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Program and is a man with well over 27 years’ experience in building relationships with people. Speaking in an interview with Time, Dreeke offered up six simple ways to get people to like you and you are going to want to read this.


Don’t Judge

Want to impress someone you’ve just met? Try to avoid making the same instant judgements they are making about you. By not judging them, you can actively take an interest in them and their lives, which can help build understanding and develop a circle of trust.

“The number one strategy I constantly keep in the forefront of my mind with everyone I talk to is non-judgmental validation,” Dreeke says. “Seek someone else’s thoughts and opinions without judging them.”

“People do not want to be judged in any thought or opinion that they have or in any action that they take. It doesn’t mean you agree with someone. Validation is taking the time to understand what their needs, wants, dreams and aspirations are.”


Lose the ego

The old adage that “nobody likes a smartarse” still rings true – showcasing your supreme intelligence in a particular field isn’t going to win you any friends. In fact, it’s more likely to make you come across as arrogant and confrontational.

“Ego suspension is putting your own needs, wants and opinions aside,” Dreeke told Time. “Consciously ignore your desire to be correct and to correct someone else … It’s not allowing yourself to get emotionally hijacked by a situation where you might not agree with someone’s thoughts, opinions or actions.”


Just Listen

Being a good listener is one of the most valuable qualities any individual can have. By listening to others rather than dominating a conversation with your own viewpoint, it becomes far easier to shape your response to their thoughts and viewpoints.

“Listening isn’t shutting up. Listening is having nothing to say. There’s a difference there,” Dreeke says. “If you just shut up, it means you’re still thinking about what you wanted to say. You’re just not saying it. The second that I think about my response, I’m half listening to what you’re saying because I’m really waiting for the opportunity to tell you my story.

“What you do is this: as soon as you have that story or thought that you want to share, toss it. Consciously tell yourself, ‘I am not going to say it.’ All you should be doing is asking yourself, ‘What idea or thought that they mentioned do I find fascinating and want to explore?'”


Challenge Them

This might sound like the exact opposite of something you should do with someone you’ve only just met, but Dreeke swears by it as a positive model to live by.

Rather than coming across as invasive but the reality is that big questions can often prompt big answers from people that reveal a lot about them as people.


Play A Trick

A handy trick to make people feel at ease, according to Dreeke, is to tell them you only have a minute to chat because you are just about to leave.

“When people think you’re leaving soon, they relax. If you sit down next to someone at a bar and say, ‘Hey, can I buy you a drink?’ their shields go way up. It’s ‘Who are you, what do you want, and when are you leaving?’ That ‘when are you leaving’ is what you’ve got to answer in the first couple of seconds.”


Body Language

Any and all body language needs to match your words in being free of any ego or judgement. Dreeke recommends the following:

  • “The number one thing is you’ve gotta smile.”
  • “Keep that chin angle down so it doesn’t appear like you’re looking down your nose at anyone. 
  • “You don’t want to give a full frontal, full body display. That could be very offensive to someone.”
  • “Keep your palms up as you’re talking, as opposed to palms down. That says, ‘I’m hearing what you’re saying.'” 
  • “Basically, anything going up and elevating is very open and comforting. Anything that is compressing: lip compression, eyebrow compression, where you’re squishing down, that’s conveying stress.”
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