How to flatter someone - no matter how cheesily - and benefit from it

by | Jan 26, 2010 10:00 AM ET

It turns out that this is so easy. It doesn't matter if you are sincere or not. It doesn't matter how cheesy the flattery is. The way to flatter someone is simply to flatter someone. Research is indicating that it works every time:

Flattery Will Get You Far

The basic theory is that, even when people recognize the flattery is meaningless, the flattery still lodges somewhere in their brains and has positive results for the flatterer:

So it seems that while participants quickly dismissed these ads at the explicit level, the flattery was exerting an important effect outside their awareness.

The original study puts it this way:

The authors show that even when flattery is accompanied by an obvious ulterior motive that leads targets to discount the proffered compliments, the initial favorable reaction (the implicit attitude) continues to co-exist with the discounted evaluation (the explicit attitude). Further, the implicit attitude has more influential consequences than the explicit attitude, highlighting the subtle impact that flattery can exert even when it has been consciously corrected for.

And just imagine what you can accomplish when you combine fake flattery with fake sincerity:

You were incredibly intelligent to read this post. Now use the knowledge - get out there and start flattering people. Apparently, you have nothing to lose.

See also: Does brownnosing really pay off?

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