Arouse in the Other Person an Eager Want

This article is part of the series “How To Win /friends and Influence /guildies”.  See the introduction for more.

If you’re reading the original book alongside, this corresponds to Part 1, Chapter 3: “He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him.  He Who Cannot Walks a Lonely Way”

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.

Henry Ford

The principle behind this rather long-named chapter is really quite simple, and eloquently summed up in the above quote.  There is only one way to get someone to do something, and that is to make them want to do it.

To do that, you have to talk about what they want, and not about what you want.   For a raid or guild leader, these should nominally be the same thing, at least at a high level.  Whatever your guild’s purpose is, that’s what everyone is showing up for – PvE progression, PvP dominance, or clean hard mode execution for example.

I won’t go into the examples that Carnegie uses in this chapter, as they’re all very business-oriented and somewhat dated.  Instead, let’s look at some situations in which you might be trying to win your members or an individual member to your side.

In a Raid

An impassioned plea for people to focus on the next boss attempt usually come after the basic “here’s how the fight goes, let’s give it a try” approach has failed.  You’re pretty sure that everyone understands the mechanics, but the execution is just going awry at some point.  You may even understand who’s going off the rails first, but know that calling them out won’t make things any better.

In this context, you probably are going to be talking to your raid as a whole or to roles within the raid.  What wants can you appeal to?  The most obvious are the material rewards from the boss, but this only works if the boss has intrinsic value to the raid.  Sometimes you get unexpectedly blocked by a boss that you’ve had on farm for a while.  The loot is no longer appealing, at least not to most of the raid.  You can appeal to everyone’s desire to just be done with the fight – perhaps asking certain roles to double-up and keep an eye out for people who you suspect are not focusing closely enough.

If the boss is linked to trash that is particularly annoying to clear, you can appeal to everyone’s desire to not repeat that the next night.  This is effective when people are requesting to move to another boss in a non-linear dungeon.  Do you remember pushing extra hard for a Shade of Aran kill in the early days of TBC just because of how painful it was to clear the trash after Curator?

If none of these seem appropriate or are having effect, you can drop one level lower and appeal to people’s desire for loot in the future (assuming you have a loot system that can offer bonuses).  It may seem cheap or compromising to have to offer bonus DKP or EP to get people to do what they should have been doing all through the raid.  Ideally, this is a last resort offered to encourage people to stay beyond a posted raid end or to go all-out on consumables in order to push progression.  Offering strictly material bonuses regularly dilutes their value.

I know we’re all fed up of this boss, especially since he went down so easily the last few weeks.  It’s late, and we all want to wrap up.  But I’m sure nobody wants to spend an extra 20 minutes slogging through that trash again tomorrow night.

I know we can do this, and I’m sure you all do too.  Let’s take five minutes to clear our heads, then come back and take him down.  1000 bonus EP if we do it without anyone dying in phase 2.

One-on-One

This technique of speaking about what someone wants is most useful when dealing with a problem, or an underperforming player.  The problem is clearly defined, and you aren’t trying to find something that everyone in the raid wants – just what one person wants.  How effectively you can do this depends on how well you know the other person and what drives them – or at least your ability to make reasonable assumptions.

In the book, Carnegie describes mainly business exchanges – situations in which the person trying to arouse a want is equal with or at a disadvantage to the person they are dealing with.  While these techniques can certainly be applied by a guild member who wants to convince the guild to do something that they want, I’m not going to explore that in detail.  I assume that you’re either a guild leader or possibly someone involved in mentoring (and thus in a position of authority over the person you’re dealing with).

Here’s how you might deal with someone who isn’t pulling the DPS they should be:

I want you to be a part of our raid team, and I know you want to be there for our progression fights too.  I have a responsibility to the guild to bring people to our progression raids who play at the level of their potential.

I’ve noticed that there’s a gap between the DPS we know you can put out and the average DPS you’ve been putting out the last few raids.  Our DPS lead would like to help you close that gap – is it OK for me to get him to work with you over the next few weeks?

A bit wordy perhaps, but much more effective than “your DPS is too low, and I have to drop you from the raid if you don’t improve in the next two weeks”.  You’re acknowledging their (assumed) desire to play well, stating that you know they’re capable of doing better, and providing a clear path to improve that doesn’t require them to justify their current lower performance.

There is a hint of what will happen if they don’t improve (your responsibility to the guild will prevent you from bringing them along), but it’s subtle and not phrased as an ultimatum.

On Your Forums

I think it’s important for guild leaders to regularly give a “state of the guild” to the members.  Forums are the obvious place for this.   When writing long posts (especially if you don’t do it often), it’s easy to stray from your core message and start rambling, often about your personal feelings rather than about the guild and what the members want to get out of their association with it.

Thankfully, you have a chance to write, review, have someone else proofread and offer comment, then revise some more before you post.  Do not give up this flexibility and just post the first screed that comes into your head – this goes for any post that is directed at the members in general, but even more so to these report-style posts.  For better or for worse, many of your members do not find keeping up with forum posts enjoyable, and of those who can be made to visit regularly only a subset will read a long post that doesn’t immediately pique their attention.

It’s not my place to provide general writing advice here.  Keep the principle of this chapter in mind when writing to your members.  Arouse in them the desire to keep reading right off the bat, then build in them the desire to improve in the rest of your post.  I’ll give a short and contrived example for a guild that has experienced a large amount of turnover recently, and finds themselves stuck behind their old progression high water mark because the replacements they have recruited aren’t as well geared or familiar with the fights.

I’d like to make sure everyone is up-to-date on the state of the guild.  I know information hasn’t been flowing as freely as it should have in the last couple of months.  Every member of the guild deserves to know what our plans are to get out of this rut.  I will correct that mistake and provide some details on how we’re going to focus on progression and increase the rewards that regular raiders earn.

First, I’d like to thank our new recruits for stepping up and taking on content that in some cases you lack the gear and experience for.  I know it hasn’t been easy, but you’ve put forth the effort and I know you’ll continue to do us proud as you gear up and become more familiar with the fights.

Much thanks is also due to our veteran members.  I know it hasn’t been easy going backwards in progression, and I know you long to be doing the harder content we were tackling two months ago.  Your continued support both of the guild and of the new members is what makes our raids possible.

First, let me set some expectations.  Today, we’re stuck on Deathbringer Saurfang.  Two months ago, we were making regular attempts on Professor Putricide.  I’m setting a goal of being back on the Professor within three weeks, and into the Frostwing Halls within six.

That’s going to take dedication from each of you – and yes, we do need to re-visit older content to augment the gear of some of our new members.  I know this may be frustrating or even boring at times for some of our veterans, but if you stick with the guild through this, you can take pride in our re-formed raid team and be greatly rewarded in the process.

I am announcing several EP bonus rewards today: the first is a bonus of 25000 EP for being back onto Professor Putricide within three weeks.  The second is a bonus of 50000 EP for being on Valithria Dreamwalker within six weeks.  These rewards are available to everyone who holds raider rank or higher as of today and maintains a 75% raid attendance through each of these targets.

Second: to help gear up some of our new members, we will be adding a Saturday afternoon TotGC raid.  The goal of this raid is to replace some crafting patterns we no longer have in the guild and gear up our newer members.  This raid will reward 1.5 times the normal EP rewards for all members who attend.

Lastly, we are inviting our veteran members to become mentors for our new members.  You are our star performers, and we want you to turn our new players into stars as well.  A 10000 EP reward is up for grabs for anyone who who can spend a few weeks bringing a new player up to your level of skill.

For the $FACTION!

This type of communication isn’t purely based on this principle – it uses things we’ve talked about in the previous articles in the series.  Hopefully you see the technique I’m using though – keeping people interested, making them feel important, and encouraging them to improve without criticism.

Though the rewards I propose may seem large, they are rewarded to everyone who stays with the guild through this period, and won’t affect EP/GP priority that much.  In other loot systems you will have to find numbers that work for you, but the idea is the same.

What Do Your Raiders Want?

Remember that not all of your raiders raid for the same reasons.  Unless you know otherwise from discussion with your raiders, you will probably have to assume certain superficial wants in your members.  In an article on the reasons that people raid, I proposed several categories of raiders that I think are still accurate:

  • the investment raider
  • the loot acquisition raider
  • the PvP raider
  • the perfectionist raider
  • the social raider

For each of these categories, you can figure out what your members want to get out of raiding.  From that, you can come up with things to talk about that will arouse that eager want.  Of course, very few raiders fall strictly into one of the above categories.  Hopefully your guild is clustered around one category, or at least divided among complementary categories like investment and perfectionist.

What Do You Want?

Do you fall squarely into one of these categories?  If not, are your motivations to raid aligned with the guild?  A raid or guild leader who is a perfectionist may find it hard to get loot acquisition raiders to keep plugging away at content that drops nothing of interest to them.

Being part of guild leadership is a service you render to your members.  That means that sometimes you have to put your own wants and desires aside and use your organizational or leadership skills to do what the members want.  Obviously if you find these to be in conflict regularly, you may not be in the right guild.  One thing is certain though: trying to force your wants onto your raiders isn’t going to achieve anything quickly.

Learn to speak to the wants, needs and desires of your raiders and you will get better results for less effort.  You’ll be guiding more than leading, and if you do it well, nobody will feel as though they were forced to do anything.  Conversely, do it poorly and you can come across as a patronizing manipulator.  Don’t try to put all of this into practice overnight.

If you want to experiment with arousing an eager want, look for people who have the greatest room for improvement.  As an alternative (or supplement) to mentoring, figure out what they want out of raiding and then speak to them privately.  See if you can lock onto their motivation and see if it brings results.  If it does, great!  You can start applying the ideas to more members before trying to influence the entire raid team at once.  If it backfires on you, then it was nothing more than an attempt to work with an underperforming member that didn’t go as well as you would have hoped.  No damage done.

You’re not going to be able to put yourself in another person’s shoes every time.  You may find that it’s just not your strength.  If so, find someone who has more finesse in dealing with people, and have them work as your proxy.  Some leaders are excellent tacticians.  Others are organizers.  Still others are charismatic.  Know when to delegate if you can’t apply this advice yourself.  Even then, make a sincere effort to not talk about what you want out of raids, lest you undermine the work your proxy is trying to do.

Next thursday, we’ll start a new section, “Six Ways to Make People Like You”, and look at the first chapter: “Do this and You’ll be Welcome Anywhere”.

This article is part of the series “How To Win /friends and Influence /guildies”.  See the introduction for more.

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