Colonel Edward M. House wielded an enormous influence in national and international affairs while Woodrow Wilson occupied the White House. Wilson leaned upon Colonel House for secret counsel and advice more than he did upon even members of his own cabinet.
What method did the colonel use in influencing the President? Fortunately, we know, for House himself revealed it to Arthur D. Howden Smith, and Smith quoted House in an article in The Saturday Evening Post.
“ ‘After I got to know the President,’ House said, ‘I learned the best way to convert him to an idea was to plant it in his mind casually, but so as to interest him in it—so as to get him thinking about it on his own account. The first time this worked it was an accident. I had been visiting him at the White House and urged a policy on him that he appeared to disapprove. But several days later, at the dinner table, I was amazed to hear him trot out my suggestion as his own.’ “
Did House interrupt him and say, “That’s not your idea. That’s mine!” No…he was too adroit for that. He didn’t care about credit. He wanted results. So he let Wilson continue to feel that the idea was his. House did even more than that. He gave Wilson public credit for these ideas.
Remember that everyone we come in contact with is just as human as Woodrow Wilson. So use Colonel House’s technique, and you’ll soon find yourself winning people to your way of thinking.
Here’s an example of this important principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey:
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