Will Smith in Focus

Having worked in the field of communication and linguistics since I was a teenager, I can tell you that the single most popular techniques I teach are my "magic phrases".

( These magic phrases are referred to as "language patterns" in the NLP community )

In this article, I'll be sharing four of the easiest to learn and most universally applicable of these.

The reason these phrases work like magic (and like clockwork) is very simple: We human beings come off the assembly line with certain universal needs. These needs are hard-wired into us at birth and cannot be changed or removed.

These magic phrases work by addressing one or more of these hard-wired needs, so people have neither the urge nor the desire to resist them.

The need to feel appreciated? Check. The need to feel valuable? Check. The need to feel like our lives matter to the people around us? Check, check and check.

Ready to make some magic? Here we go ...

Magic Phrase #1 - 'How did that make you feel?'

Why it works:  It's been said that therapists are professional listeners, and the fact is that people in therapy get as much - if not more - of a therapeutic effect from the fact that someone is actually allowing them to freely express themselves than they do from anything else.

You'll remember from my previous articles that one of the most charismatic qualities you can possess is the willingness to accept others without judgement.

That also entails making a committed effort to listen at least 70-80% more than you speak, never offering advice (unless you're directly asked to do so) and never interrupting the other person.

The lost art of listening is perhaps the most essential of all people skills because it's almost impossible to find in this modern age of "me, me, me" .

When you pair this magic phrase with a genuine desire to listen to and empathize with others, you'll be well on your way to becoming a charismatic master.

Magic Phrase #2 - 'I had no idea that was the case. Tell me more.' 

Why it works: People love to feel like they know enough about life to teach us a thing or two. This magic phrase not only makes the recipient feel intelligent and wise, it also gives them a sense of having contributed a piece of knowledge to your life that you wouldn't have had otherwise. 

The other need that this phrase hits on big time is the need to feel admired by others, and I challenge you to find me a person with a pulse who doesn't adore the idea of that ...

Magic Phrase #3 - 'Thank you. You've been very helpful.'

Why it works: Joint research from Harvard and the Wharton Business School found that individuals who receive thanks after completing a task feel higher levels of self-worth than those that don't.

Since we all enjoy being around people that make us feel better about ourselves, showing someone sincere gratitude is just about the easiest way in the world to stand out from the crowd. The second human need that this magic phrase addresses is a big one: The need we all have to feel appreciated.

I say this phrase to every waiter, bartender, Uber driver and restroom attendant I encounter ... and you know what? They always give me some level of special treatment the next time I see them.

Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, once said “Appreciate everything your associates do. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

BONUS Magic Phrase (For friends, relatives or co-workers): 

Magic Phrase #4 - 'One thing I've always admired about you is ...'

Why it worksWhen psychologist Cameron Anderson of the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley explored the relationship between different types of status and well-being, he concluded that sociometric status (i.e. respect and admiration) within your social network makes a substantial difference in your overall happiness.

"Having high standing in your local ladder leads to receiving more respect, having more influence, and being more integrated into the group's social fabric. We've found that when someone's standing in their social circle went up or down, so did their happiness, even over the course of 9 months," said Anderson. [1]

Few things in life will make a person light up more than knowing that they're respected and admired (especially by the people they value most). And few things will empower you more than knowing just how much of an effect your sincere appreciation can have on another person's happiness.

One word of warning: It's important that anyone who uses these magic phrases do so with absolute sincerity. If you're the type who's looking for a quick and easy way to manipulate others to do your bidding, you'll eventually learn that such anti-charismatic behavior is sure to backfire.

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