Techniques

This page features techniques and tactics you can use to help you secure or increase your power. Each technique, taken from The 48 Laws of Power, is broken into three parts: Name of the Technique, Objective for Using Technique, and a Description of the Technique.

The Modest Pupil Technique

Objective

To avoid stirring envy with your superior

Description

When in the presence of a superior (a boss, a board of directors, an important client), avoid trying to sound clever or brilliant. Instead, play the modest pupil: pretend that your superior has more intelligence, more taste, more wit than you. Occasionally make mistakes and request your superior’s help in some matters.

The Echoing Technique

Objective

To persuade your superior to accept your idea

Description

Whenever you have an idea that you want to present to your superior, try to present your idea as an echo of his. Allow him to take some credit for your idea. In addition, as you are working on the idea, allow your superior to add his two cents and incorporate his advice.

The Seamless Blend

Objective

To trick people into thinking you are part of their group

Description

Whenever you need to ingratiate yourself with a new group of people, study this group and try to adopt its values, its tastes, its customs. Try to blend in as much as possible so that the group quickly accepts you.

Sterling Quality Technique

Objective

To get people to associate you with one good quality

Description

When trying to build a reputation for yourself, focus on one outstanding quality for others to know you by. Pick one positive characteristic – honesty, generosity, cleverness – that you want others to say about you and take actions that reinforce this characteristic.

Hole Poking

Objective

To cast doubt onto someone else’s reputation

Description

If you are dealing with a rival or competitor who is more powerful than you, don’t attack them directly. Instead, find ways to stir doubt in his or her reputation. Analyze what your rival is known for, and develop rumors that draw his or her reputation into question.

The Trojan Horse Technique

Objective

To get people to lower their defenses around you

Description

To get others to like and trust you quickly, find some way to give them a gift or display an act of kindness. Don’t make the gift too grandiose; any simple gift will do.

The Disraeli Technique

Objective

To get others to talk about themselves, revealing important facts

Description

People are often self-absorbed, interested only in their own interests. To get others to open up to you, to reveal information to you, get them to talk about themselves, their interests, their tastes. Don’t impose your personality in conversation; instead, ask them questions, show that you are interested in them. They will soon reveal all types of juicy information about themselves and their feelings.

The Pistol Shooting Technique

Objective

To get others to reveal their hidden intentions or feelings

Description

Blurt out a calculated lie – something you’ve made up – and observe your listener’s reactions.

The First Confession Technique

Objective

To get others to reveal their thoughts, intentions

Description

To get others to open up to you, you can first open up to them, confessing a harmless secret. Such an act of honesty will often lower people’s defenses and get them revealing their own secrets.

The Surrender Tactic

Objective

To buy yourself time in the face of a stronger opponent

Description

In the face of a stronger person, it is sometimes good to appear to yield. Don’t resist them, but instead buy yourself time to analyze their weaknesses and build up your strength.

The Scapegoat Tactic

Objective

To get others to blame someone else for your mistakes or wrongdoings

Description

Instead of apologizing for a mistake, find a convenience scapegoat that you can shift attention and blame to. This will occupy people’s time, distracting them from the mistakes you have made.

The Cat’s Paw Tactic

Objective

To get unpleasant or difficult work done without doing it yourself

Description

If unpleasant or difficult work has to be done, then it is much better for you to get someone else to do it. You can pay someone or strategically get someone to volunteer. Occasionally, to put yourself in a superior’s favor, you may want to play the cat’s paw yourself – doing dirty work for him. He will come to rely on you and appreciate your efforts.

Coloring the Choices Technique

Objective

To get others to choose the option you’ve created without them knowing you created it

Description

Whenever presenting an idea to a superior or a group, trying proposing a few choices of action. Then present each choice in such a way that the one you prefer is clearly the best option.

Forcing the Resister Techique

Objective

To get others to choose the option you’ve created without them knowing you created it

Description

If you are confronted with someone who resists everything you say, then advocating for the opposite of what you want. This may get him to do the opposite of what you are advocating for – which is precisely what you want.

The Mirror Technique

Objective

To bring down someone’s defenses

Description

To seduce a person or a group of people, mirror their tastes, their values, their interests. Pretend you are like them. Talk in terms of their interests. Agree with their statements. They will fall under your spell because you are appealing to their vanity.

Harmless Vice Technique

Objective

To avoid stirring envy from others

Description

To avoid stirring envy in others, trying displaying a weakness, a fault or vice that you have. Make it seem like your success – a promotion, winning new business, an award – was the result of luck. Downplay your success and positive characteristics. Be modest and humble.

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