When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains—then attack. You hold the cards.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, the foreign minister to Napoleon can attest to this caveat. Talleyrand was a mastermind manipulator who was behind the dramatic escape of Napoleon after his exile to the island of Elba. Talleyrand knew that Napoleon’s arrogance was his weakness and he played to that weakness like a strategic poker player. Not showing his true feelings toward the emperor, Talleyrand bided his time, made the right connections, which helped create the most elaborate scheme to dethrone one of the world’s most infamous people, Napolean Bonaparte.
Strategies to Remember
Reacting rather than directing
Keep others reacting to your moves, keep them on the defensive. Play to their ineffectiveness to stay calm.
Aggression versus effective action
Don’t waste a lot of energy trying to make your point, bide your time like Talleyrand. Make the other person come to you, set the bait.
Control the situation
Know your opponents weakness. He who has control has the power.
Master your emotions
Never be influenced through your anger. Aggressive people are never in control.
Case and point: During the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905, Japan was able to plant false information that made the Russian fleet go 6000 miles out of the way and forced the Russians into hostile territory. The Russian seamen were weak and exhausted by the journey and although Japan had the weaker naval militia, they planted the bait which gave them the upper-hand on the Russians and needless to say the Japanese crushed the Russians because of their reaction to the rumor.
5 Benefits to making your opponents come to you
1. It is a wise thing to lure your opponent on hostile ground; it is a subtle way to put him on the defensive.
2. Your opponent will be nervous which will cause him to rush his actions and make mistakes.
3. You want to create the illusion that your opponent is in control of the situation.
4. Oftentimes, your opponent’s greed, desires and emotions will be their great motivator which means that they can be easily led around and/or defeated.
5. Getting people to dig their own graves forces their hand and makes you appear powerful and demand respect.
Is there ever a good time to go to your opponent, you ask? Yes, of course there is an exception to the rule when you should go to your opponent. Depending on the situation, bait and wait is a wise choice but taking the lead to attack your opponent can be advantageous as well. The element of surprise does not give the opponent time to think of a counter attack. They are left at your mercy and must respond to your terms.
Your biggest issue is to know what tactic to use and the right time to use it. To bait and wait or to strike with force, that is the dilemma. You can be like the bear hunter who lays the honey bait trap. He doesn’t exhaust himself and risk his life to find the bear he lays a trap and waits patiently for the bear to come to him. Or if time is not on your side, strike quickly to intimidate and control. Choose your approach wisely.