6 Things NOT to Do to Build Relationships

If there's anything I've learned (the hard way), it's that trying to be the authority on all things is tough work! I used to think if you're going to know it all, you don't have much need for others' opinions. I worked hard and learned (the hard way) there are a few key things you need to do to be right all the time:

1. Use your outdoor voice indoors. Nothing says “I’m right” like a powerful voice that can disrupt all the other conversations at a party or restaurant. Let it ring out like a church bell: be loud, be proud!

2. Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. You’re the expert and you’re doing them a favor right? So why put up with their constant interruptions? Remember, they can’t put in their two cents if you don’t give them any airtime. Just keep making your points and don’t yield the floor!

3. Use Facts and Figures. We all know the old prejudice about statistics, but don’t let that stop you from quoting percentages and numbers to back yourself up. It helps to state with authority and defiance “That’s a fact!” a lot too.

4. Remember that Character counts. Theirs, that is, not yours. Cast your aspersions widely to make them and their opinions morally suspect. Question their faith, honesty or integrity if they oppose you, and  be sure to point out that you speak for the silent majority.

5. Set the Tone: The right emphasis on the right word at the right moment does wonders for setting the right tone: Instead of saying “That’s a good idea” when you agree, say “That’s a good idea” when you disagree (variations: “Yeah, that will work,” “Oh, right, let’s try that”). The key is to be dismissive and sardonic.

6. Let your body talk, too. Scowls, sneers, eye-rolls, condescending smirks and heavy, shoulder-rolling sighs make excellent counterpoints to your opponent’s arguments. Make it clear that you are only tolerating their opinions to be nice, not because you think they have any merit.

This is a lot easier than you might think: low self-worth, arrogance, and a need for acceptance will get you started, but along the way you can pick up disregard for others and an overbearing manner. In no time at all, you will learn (the hard way) as I did that to be The Smartest Person In The Room all you have to do is chase everyone else out!

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