What is the one thing that universally interests us humans more than anything else in the world?
It sounds selfish and depressing, but it’s true! Think about the things you did today. Brushed your teeth, ate breakfast, maybe worked out? You didn’t do that for anyone else, you did it for you! Now, you might be able to come up with a few things that seem selfless, but truly everything we do is for our own benefit. “But what about giving to charity?” Yes, even charitable acts are for you. The action is for other people, but the benefit is personal. You feel good helping people don’t you? If helping people gave you a terrible feeling in your stomach, would you still do it? NO! My point in all of this would-be negativity is that we as humans live our own life, not someone else’s. So naturally, everything we think about is for ourselves.
Let’s take a moment to think about using this from a professional standpoint. If everyone else is looking out for number 1, how can we use this to our advantage? Answer: Form your conversations so that you provide value to the recipient, while also meeting your own goals. Get what you want, and make sure whoever is listening receives the same.
Here is an example from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Barbara Anderson, who worked in a bank in New York, desired to move to Phoenix, Arizona. She wrote this letter to 12 banks:
my 10 years of experience should be of interest to a rapidly growing bank like yours. In various capacities in bank operations with the Bankers Trust company in New York, leading my present assignment as branch manager, I have acquired skills in all phases of banking including depositor relations, Credits, loans, and administration. I'll be relocating to Phoenix in May and I'm sure I can contribute to your growth and profit. I will be in Phoenix the week of April 3rd and would appreciate the opportunity to show you how I can help your bank meet its goals.
Let’s break down why Barbara’s approach works:
- She led with how she can benefit the bank, not what she wanted personally.
- She explains how her skills will contribute to growth and profit
- Her only request is to be allowed to help the bank meet its goals.
Notice how she never explicitly asks for any personal gain, and simply provides sound reasons why hiring her would be the obvious positive decision for this bank. As a result, Barbara was invited to interview with ALL 12 BANKS, and choose the best location for herself. True story!
So next time you have a big interview, need to close a sale, or just want to meet with someone for coffee, ask yourself how you can appeal to their needs. We are all just trying to make the right decisions for ourselves. Make it easier for yourself and others by demonstrating that your objective is the best decision. Give people what they want, and get yours too.
Things to think about: Everyone is looking for a way to better themselves. Give people what they want, while also satisfying your own needs. Everyone wants to say yes to you. Give them a solid reason to do so, and everyone wins!