The Secret of Socrates in Communication

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

(Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People)

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Membaca itu menulis dan menulis itu membacakan sesuatu.

Tulisan ini adalah summary dari salah satu bagian yang paling aku favoritkan dalam buku “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, karangan Dale Carnegie. Sebuah teori yang membahas tentang bagaimana Socrates, The Gadfly of Athens, berkomunikasi, make friends, and influence people around him.

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“Bacalah dengan (menyebut) nama Tuhanmu Yang menciptakan”

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Enjoy! (:

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In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing – and keep on emphasizing – the things on which you agree. Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.

Get the other person saying “Yes, yes” at the outset. Keep your opponent, if possible, from saying “No.” A “No” response, according to Professor Overstreet, (*) is a most difficult handicap to overcome. When you have said “No,” all your pride of personality demands that you remain consistent with yourself. You may later feel that the “No” was ill-advised; nevertheless, there is your precious pride to consider! Once having said a thing, you feel you must stick to it. Hence it is of the very greatest importance that a person be started in the affirmative direction.

[*] Harry A. Overstreet, lnfluencing Humun Behavior (New York: Norton, 1925).

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The skillful speaker gets, at the outset, a number of “Yes” responses. This sets the psychological process of the listeners moving in the affirmative direction. It is like the movement of a billiard ball. Propel in one direction, and it takes some force to deflect it; far more force to send it back in the opposite direction.

The psychological patterns here are quite clear. When a person says “No” and really means it, he or she is doing far more than saying a word of two letters. The entire organism – glandular, nervous, muscular -gathers itself together into a condition of rejection. There is, usually in minute but sometimes in observable degree, a physical withdrawal or readiness for withdrawal. The whole euromuscular system, in short, sets itself on guard against acceptance. When, to the contrary, a person says “Yes,” none of the withdrawal activities takes place. The organism is in a forward – moving, accepting, open attitude. Hence the more “Yeses” we can, at the very outset, induce, the more likely we are to succeed in capturing the attention for our ultimate proposal.

It is a very simple technique – this yes response. And yet, how much it is neglected! It often seems as if people get a sense of their own importance by antagonizing others at the outset.

Get a student to say “No” at the beginning, or a customer, child, husband, or wife, and it takes the wisdom and the patience of angels to transform that bristling negative into an affirmative.

Socrates, “the gadfly of Athens,” was one of the greatest philosophers the world has ever known. He did something that only a handful of men in all history have been able to do: he sharply changed the whole course of human thought; and now, twenty-four centuries after his death, he is honored as one of the wisest persuaders who ever influenced this wrangling world.

His method? Did he tell people they were wrong? Oh, no, not Socrates. He was far too adroit for that. His whole technique, now called the “Socratic method,” was based upon getting a “yes, yes” response. He asked questions with which his opponent would have to agree. He kept on winning one admission after another until he had an armful of yeses. He kept on asking questions until finally, almost without realizing it, his opponents found themselves embracing a conclusion they would have bitterly denied a few minutes previously.

The next time we are tempted to tell someone he or she is wrong, let’s remember old Socrates and ask a gentle question – a question that will get the “yes, yes” response.

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“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

(Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People)

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