If You Only Knew The Power Of The Dark Side: Spotting the Taker in Giver’s Clothing

By Michael Roderick  -  On 03 Jul, 2014 -  0 comments

If you’ve read Adam Grant’s phenomenal book Give and Take then you have no doubt been exposed to the idea of Givers, Takers, and Matchers. Adam also points out a very interesting sub-section which he refers to as Fakers. These are Takers who pose as Givers and tend to fool people into giving to them. Like the characters from some of my favorite films, they have turned to the dark side.

For those of you who are worried about getting taken, here are a few ways to spot a faker.

  1. Bragging – Methinks the “Connector” doth protest too much. In my personal experience, whenever someone has bragged in a meeting about what a good connector they are or what a good networker they are, they are usually not very good at all. Pros know pros and real professionals never brag. You may also notice some name dropping in these scenarios as well. If you see this, chances are you are having a conversation with someone who really does not know these people at all.
  2. Scripts - If you’ve ever read Robert Cialdini’s Influence you know that there is specific language people can use that will convince you to do things, even if you really do not want to do them. You’ll notice that many Takers have a tendency to use this language to the letter. You may also find that they are using your words and twisting them around to get the things that they want. Take a moment to check in with yourself during the conversation. If it feels forced and uncomfortable, you are likely dealing with someone who is going off of a script. They may sound like they are all about helping you, but you will notice a very intense agenda in every question and offer.
  3. Over-Complimenting – This one can be really tricky to spot because we all love to be complimented. The main danger is that this excessive praise wears your guard down and can make it so that you say yes to something you normally wouldn’t. One of the best ways to combat this is to ask the person to get specific with their praise. If they are just flattering for flattering’s sake, they will stumble.  For example:  “I love your writing.”  “Really? Which blog post has resonated with you the most?”  “umm…”

These are three things to pay attention to when in the presence of a Taker. There are many more red flags to look for but these are a good place to start.

The most important question to ask when meeting with someone who may be taking you for a ride is, “How do I feel when talking to this person?” You’d be amazed at what your intuition can do if you listen to it.

So, keep your ears open in your next meeting and you may catch a glimpse of the dark side of the force.

And now hopefully you’ll be able to defend yourself.