Game of thrones and the art of influencing people

By Bharath Kvt Mar. 17, 2018, 08:13 am IST
Game of thrones and the art of influencing people

Game of thrones an epic land of fantasy we all wanna be a part of through game of thrones the author George RR Martin tries telling us how politics work.
Game of thrones is all about power some people like cersei use their position to command others. Then there's people like the mountain who literally just dominates through physical brute force. But if you want to play game of thrones you don't need to have both of those if you could get your work done without those two then, you're playing it right. In simpler terms game of thrones is a game of influence , greater the amount of influence you can yield the greater you're the player. Here too the author is hinting us onto how we can learn from these players and influence in different  ways in different scenarios . The era might be different but the people are all the same. So, let's have a look the four greatest players of game of thrones and how they yielded influence over people. The four greatest players of game of thrones according to me are Tyrion Lannister, Petyr Baelish, Tywin lannister and Margery tyrell. Now you'd definitely argue that why olena tyrell and lord vaerys aren't there in this list. Well, according to me, tywin and olenna are equals when it comes to playing the game and they do things the same way hence talking about one would be enough and lord vaerys according to me is a master of whispers, he doesn't particularly influence people in the game. If you do differently then me, then feel free to comment down your opinions, let's discuss our love for this show. So, let's see how these four players yielded influence on them and what we can take home from them and at the end let's discuss , what the Starks did wrong to get stabbed in the back. 

Influence is not about convincing people to want different things then they already want. It's about showing them that the way to get what they already want. Is by following YOU.

Tyrion Lannister 

Tyrion Lannister despite being a mutilated dwarf whose family hates him, he manages not only to stay alive , but to become one of the most powerful players of the game. And that is because he's genius is with people. He's able to get people to do exactly what he wants them to do. How? He is constantly asking one question of the people around him."what do you want?" That is the question. 
Tyrion finds a way to put the strength of their own desires directly in line with his goals. If you could unravel that little secret over there you can influence anyone with much more ease compared to other three people in the list. So to do that Tyrion uses three major tools 

- cold reading 
He pays clear attention to the clues people drop during small conversations. He never demands people to help him, instead he shouts out all the possibility of things he can do if they'd help him.

- listen 
People tell you what they want all the time, it's just about matching the prints and remembering everything. And Tyrion is spontaneous AF when it comes to cold reading and listening which got his life saved for more then five times, it's more like twice every season.

- ask about people's stories 
One of the major character trait that Tyrion hones is empathy, So if you've read the books you would know this that Tyrion doesn't look the way he's described in the books in which he looked more like a monster believe me he's way more cuter in the show. So with monstrous physique everybody would seek a chance to finish him off , hence he started asking people their stories and empathise with their experiences.

But Tyrion power doesnt come from knowing what people want it comes from how he uses it.
1) Tyrion speaks the language of the person he talking to. 
2) he cycles to different possibilities very quickly. Like gold, land personal pride and then to friendship. He explores every possibility.

So if you want an ideal guy to follow I'd suggest Tyrion because he can influence anyone from the king to the guard to a common man and of course he's known for his chivalry.

Petyr baelish

Little finger is probably the single best player in game of thrones. He's indirectly led to the downfall of atleast three major houses and has advanced his own station at every opportunity. No one in more subtle than Petyr at using power . He's the ultimate player in the game because he gets other people do exactly what he wants without them even knowing he had influenced them. 
First off Petyr is able to hide his influence because he doesn't try to convince anyone of anything 
- he very quickly drops the discussion after making his point 
- he makes a point of not being pushy when persuading someone. 
So why does Littlefinger do this wouldn't it be faster to tell people what to do ? Now it might seem that way but when people agree to what you want out of pressure , they don't own the decision. When people feel like they've made a decision on their own they're much more likely to stick with it. So everything he does is intended to make others feel like their decisions are their own while the reality he's pulling the strings behind the scenes. Littlefinger piques into curiosity and then walks away exemplifying his words. 

The main advantage of influencing subtly is people don't know what you want, 
"A man with no motive is a man no one suspects" - Littlefinger. 

The second thing is that Littlefinger doesn't let his ego get in the way of his goals. People insult him, talk down to him, and underestimate him all the time but he doesn't rise to these taunts he knows that it would end up creating enemies. So instead he shows no animosity. 

Petyr baelish doesn't have a problem letting other people take credit for his hard work cause it'll make them look greater and eventually the whip of influence over them would be in Littlefinger's hands. 

What makes Littlefinger great is that when everyone else is pursuing trappings of power  - like respect , titles, praise the ability to mouth off and not worry about the consequences, Petyr only wants the big wins.

- he has a complete lack of sentimentality like he has no issue lying. He also doesn't feel the need to keep people once they're purpose is served

Tywin lannister 

Tywin lannister is a beast he effectively served as hand for many years under aerys and wielded massive influence over Robert and joffrey. He would've continued to be the power behind the throne had he not been so horrible on Tyrion and that's majorly his only weak end. Today we'll explore how tywin was able to command such respect.

But to start, let's note where tywin's power does not come from.
" Any man who must say I'm the king is no true king." - tywin lannister 
This is the most important sentence that tywin ever says. According to tywin, power does not come from telling other people that they have it, it comes from showing them. 
Tywin does that in many ways and Charles dance should given a lot of credit for that. There are many things we can learn from him. 

how to enter crowded conversations 
- tywin always enter with a boom,tywin startles people by going from silent to booming in an instant. That grabs attention immediately. Once he has attention he quiets right back down. This makes his quiet mode of interaction just as frightening as his booming tone because you never know when he's going to switch.
- tywin. Is very comfortable with silence he likes to use silence after people have said something to provoke him. It gives him the extra edge over others. 
The first person to look away or flinches loses
- he doesn't ask people what to do or make threats by saying " if you do this I'm going to respond this way."he tells people what they're going to do using the word " "will" 
- tywin doesn't care if people are happy to help. His strategy is to create fear. 
-he often makes people wait before he speaks to them. 
- tywin uses body language as a weapon he invades the other person's personal space and clutches respect. 
-he makes sure that his is the last word he does this either by commanding people to leave one's he's made point or he does it by leaving the room as soon as he's made his point he leaves no time or space for arguement .
-tywins character is not just about brute force or physical bullying. He's about strategic shows of force to keep people in line. And if you look back on the big events in the books, you'll know that things like red wedding were brutal but it left the entire realm of what tywin would do next if anyone crossed him.

Margery tyrell

It's a shame that Margery might be the most underrated player of game of thrones and it's a Shame that she meets her end so early, atleast in the show because more then anyone character that we've discussed about she has the most to teach you about how to behave in real world beginning with Margery first incredible talent.
1) Her ability to build rapport with anyone , maybe except cersei. She has a number of incredibly effective strategies and the first and fastest  is by physically putting herself on your side with her body language. She does the quite opposite of what tywin , he stands directly in front and hovers over people in order to intimidate them, instead Margery prefers to stand next to someone because it allows her to get much closer without making other person feel that she's invading her personal space. 

2) Margery is also an expert at getting people to talk about the things they care about. With joffrey in particular , this was the strategy that won him over, once Margery has people talking , she doesn't just pepper them with interview style questions non stop. she indicates that the she cares about their opinion and comes off as an active listener and it's huge for building rapport.

3) the best way to invite a reluctant person to share something vulnerable is by doing it yourself first it's almost like " I'll show you my scar now you show me yours"

4) Margery wants to knows what makes people tick 
At the end she gets the keys to manipulate especially with joffrey and sansa so when she gets them to this point she moves to the second phase 

which is heartfelt understanding - she empathizes with your feelings, here empathy doesn't mean you agree with another person  it simply means you can see the world through their eyes for one moment which is exactly Margery was able to do with joffrey as twisted as he is. Which probably is the most powerful technique because not even Tyrion nor tywin were able to control they were of course good at influencing him.

-like mirroring back how they must've felt after they've told a story.

- sharing that you've experienced a similar embarrassing situation to the one that they've just found out themselves in .

She steps into their shoes so that she can most out of them to do for her

I know it's a long process and you can't do that with everyone but by doing so you would be owning them.

- giving someone a reputation that they'd like to live upto can be very powerful 

- praise small gestures 

So when it comes to makes first impression she is the best example of how to behave in the real world .

The stark Men

The stark men have a grim history of betrayal first it was Ned stark by Littlefinger, then there was rob by Roose Bolton and walder Frey and finally jon snow by the brothers at the nights watch. This isn't by accident, in fact I blame Ned because all of the stark men share some of his flaws, which makes them doomed as leaders . They try to be good men. They try to do what's right, but in the end, they fail. So let's see what we can learn from them. First off good old eddard. His problem can be summed up in his one dialogue in the dungeon " I don't know what you want and I've given up trying to guess " Ned doesn't know what people want which is the exact opposite of Tyrion's character which keeps him alive. One thing all Starks have in common is all of them are very poor judge of motives they trust people very easily. Ned tells his plans to cersei and expects her to behave the same way as he'd do in that situation instead it gets him killed which shows complete lack of empathy. Let's move on to the next to be betrayed Robb. Robb makes similar mistake to his dad but his number one flaw is that he doesn't align his people's interests with his own. Let me give you three instances here denying Frey's queenship, denying catelyn to leave his side leading to Jamie's escape and denying Ricard karstark his revenge. 
Let's get to jon here in my opinion , Jon's mistake is very simple.
 - No communication we all know jon has seen a lot but when he takes back the wildlings and his brothers ask him why , he doesn't say why , he just expects his people to just follow him always remember this a good leader doesn't just say the mission once. He needs to repeat it to make sure people understand it why things have to be done. Give them what they care about.

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