Tag Archives: Influence

Peanut Butter Burger

Why Giving Advice Sucks

One time I was supposed to meet a couple of friends in Scotland.

I had arrived a couple day earlier. It was for a three week backpacking trip.

However, I had arrived late at night, and I wasn’t sure where I was going to stay.

This was before smartphones, so I couldn’t look anything up easily.

As I was standing there, jet lagged (after flying for twelve hours and taking a train for another three), dazed and confused, an old guy came up.

“Son, you look lost,” he said. He sounded a lot like Sean Connery, but with a mouthful of marbles.

He showed me where a bunch of cheap hotels, for which I was grateful.

Most of the time, though, when some stranger comes out of nowhere to offer advice, it’s rarely taken with a hundred percent gratitude.

Especially if the advice has some kind of ulterior motive behind it.

Most people have heard that giving unasked for advice rarely works.

Why is this?

Consider the presuppositions.

Imagine you’re at the grocery store, looking at the different flavors of peanut butter. You’re going to go home and make a sandwich.

Then some goof comes out of nowhere and acts like he’s the holder of supreme peanut butter knowledge.

What does this presuppose?

It presupposes that before he even introduces himself, he looks at you and KNOWS that HE knows MORE about peanut butter than you do.

Which is kind of insulting.

AND it robs us of the pleasure of peanut butter discovery.

This is why it rarely feels good if somebody we don’t know gives us unasked for advice.

It presupposes they know more about the situation than we do.

Even when people we know give us advice, it still doesn’t feel right.

Because it has the same presupposition of “superiority.”

Unfortunately, for most of us, this ALL WE KNOW when it comes to influencing others.

Sure, we find out a little bit about what they want, but that’s usually just the tip of the iceberg.

Then we proceed to tell them (or suggest to them) why they should do what WE want based on the little information they’ve given us.

It still is kind of insulting.

We’re basically telling them that with only that LITTLE BIT of information, we know MORE about the situation than they do.

This is why any kind of sales always has both low conversation rates and high stress.

You’re GIVING ADIVCE to people hoping they’ll buy something.

Luckily, there is another way.

Not just in sales, but any time you want to influence others.

And it doesn’t rely on YOU at all.

All them. All their ideas. All you’ve got to do is turn off your brain and ask a few questions.

Click Here To Learn How

Are You Committed?

Dumpster Diving

Once there were these two crows. They were just hanging out, minding their own business, waiting for some free food. They had recently noticed that a new set of vending machines had opened up next to the entrance to a mall, and next to the vending machines was a set of trashcans. The crows had noticed that this was a potential good source of free food, as the trashcans next to the vending machines aren’t emptied nearly as often as other trashcans.

Of course, the crows had no idea of the trash-emptying schedule, they just knew that those colorful boxes sometimes were a good place to hang out and find some decent scraps of food. So when they saw a couple of these new shiny boxes, they figured they’d better hang out and get some good stuff. Usually when crows find a source of food, the first crow to get there generally has dibs. He or she can lose their place in line, should another crow come in and challenge their dominance. If the food is plentiful, like a giant cornfield, they usually don’t worry about things like that.

But when it’s a couple of vending machines in the middle of an otherwise barren (from a crows persepctive) parking lot, then it’s important to get there and establish yourself.

Of course, this strategy can backfire. Once a couple of crows thought they were being clever, and stuck out a claim next do a single vending machine next to a bowling ally, only to discover (after about a weeks worth of closely guarding their new source) that it was only a drinking vending machine, and didn’t produce anything to eat whatsoever. So there’s a fine line between waiting to see if there really is going to be some food, and showing up too late only to find somebody has already made a claim.

Commitment is an interesting thing, even from a human perspective. Everybody wants to get the best they can, but when you make a commitment to anything, a job, a person, a route to work, you are effectively cutting of all other options. If you choose too hastily, you will probably won’t make the best choice. If you take too long to decide, then you might miss out on a lot of good choices.

If you’ve ever played any kind of contact, or semi contact sport, like hockey, basketball, football, a great skill to have is to be able to fake out your opponent, getting them to commit to a particular course of action, and then change course yourself, effectively evading them. On the flip side, being able to read your pursuer, and not be taken in by their sleights a great skill to have as well.

Much has been written from a military strategy standpoint, all the way back to Sun Tzu’s “The Art Of War” detailing many strategies of how to get your enemy to commit to a particular course of action, (chosen of course by you) so you can more easily strike and destroy them.

A classic example is the Allied invasion of Normandy. Several “fake” landing craft were sent out, in order to fool the Nazis into thinking the invasion was happening someplace, else, so they would incorrectly commit their resources, effectively leaving them open to where the actual invasion was going to take place. It was a successful plot that was instrumental (not the only one by a long shot) in the defeat of the Nazis.

Committing to a decision can sometimes have unintended effects, especially when making personal choices about how we choose to live our lives. Many times, people commit to something, thinking they will get a certain result, but when the results don’t show up, people can tend to “change” their original intent, so as not to “waste” their efforts. Even when it is obvious that aren’t going to succeed in a particular endeavor (according to your original intention) many of us plod along anyways, not willing to admit that we’ve wasted all that time and effort.

In “The Peter Principle,” Laurence J. Peter asks why people continue to put effort into something that is obviously unsuccessful. Most people will give the argument “I’ve been doing this for ten years, I’m not about to quit now.” Peter asks “why continue to do something when you have ample evidence that it doesn’t work?”

Of course, this is tough to do. As pointed out by Cialdini in “Influence, Science and Practice,” commitment and consistency is a powerful motivating force in human decision-making. We tend to do things the way we’ve always done them, so long as they haven’t killed us. This tendency has been shown time and time again in various social experiments and studies. It can be extremely tough to change course after doing the same thing day in and day out year after year.

One alternative is to take a step up on the logical ladder. You can still stay committed to the underlying intent without being committed to the actions that you initially thought you would get you to that underlying intent.

Somebody may choose to change diets, if one particular diet isn’t working out, provided that they are still committed and focused on losing weight. In NLP, it’s taught that it’s usually a good idea to have less investment in any particular method, while having a solid understanding of your underlying goals. More flexibility is always preferred when deciding how you want to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. If whatever you thought was going to get you there isn’t working out, you can always change strategies midway, while keeping your focus on your original goals. That way you’ll never fall into the “I’ve been doing this for X years, I’m not about to change now,” trap.

So the crows decided that they’d wait three days, and if they didn’t see any good food being thrown in the garbage, they’d go someplace else. They had enlisted the help of a couple buddies, so there were six of them in all. They figured two of them would stand guard at any given time, to establish their claim. The other two would go to other food sources in the meantime.

What the crows discovered was a virtual food goldmine, although it was completely unexpected. The vending machines happened to be set up just around the corner from the big dumpsters that all the restaurants in the mall were supposed to throw their food out into. When the crows noticed how much food was being thrown out, their small group swelled in numbers immediately, and they never went hungry again.

Leverage Criteria For Ultimate Power

One of the most powerful ways to easily persuade somebody to your way of thinking is elicit and leverage criteria. Everyone you will ever meet is a walking talking collection of unmet wants and needs. And for most people, most of these unmet wants and needs are sufficiently vague so that you can easily leverage them to your benefit.

Be careful though, you can easily misuse this power to trick them into doing something or buying a product that is against their interests. If you do this, then woe be unto you.

So how do you elicit criteria? Simple. Once you establish rapport, and generate a sufficient level of comfort, just ask them what’s important about something. Be sure to ask respectfully, and with genuine interest. Most people are a little bit shy about talking about their deep desires and criteria, and will quickly close themselves off to you if they smell any amount of incongruity.

For example, let’s say you are on a first date with a girl. Or maybe not even a first date. Maybe you are just talking to her at a party or a bar. You look around, comment on all the single people. Say something about how hard it is to find the right person for a relationship. If she agrees, then that’s good. It’s usually good to go first, and reveal a little bit about yourself first.

So you mention something about your relationship (make sure not to say anything bad about anybody) mention some of the good things, and mention something more that you were looking for. For example, you could say that your last boyfriend or girlfriend was a good friend, and a good conversationalist, but they really didn’t like to travel. They were a great guy/gal, but they weren’t as adventurous. So you needed to move on. Being adventurous is important to you.

Then you ask the person you are talking to about what is important to them in a relationship. It’s key to make sure to agree that whatever they say is important.

Then ask what is important about that? For example, if they said they want to meet somebody with a good sense of humor, casually ask what they find important about that. They may say that they want somebody that can laugh at themselves. Somebody that doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

One of the great things about this is that just by talking to somebody about what is important to them, they will subconsciously start to think of you in those terms, provided you have enough rapport. If you do this several different times, they will really start to develop deep feelings for you.

Another example.

Let’s say you are selling long distance plans. You get somebody on the line, get them talking, and ask them what long distance they are currently using. Instead of jumping right into switching them, like most people do, ask them what they like about their current plan. Ask them what is important about those things that they like. Be sure to agree with whatever they say.

Lets say they mention they like that it is part of their current bill. And you ask them what is important about that (make sure not to sound like you are going to convince them that it shouldn’t be important, agree with whatever they say). They will say something like they don’t have to worry about two separate bills. It’s easier that way. They don’t have to worry.

Then simply convince them that with your new plan, it is totally simple, and they won’t have to worry. Just let them know that it will fulfill their existing criteria, and will save them money.

This can take some time to get down, so that you can use it conversationally, but when you do you will realize how powerful this is. You will notice a significant increase in your sales and your ability to conversationally persuade and influence others.

The Power Of Influence – Tool Or Weapon?

Do You Know When Your Strings Are Being Pulled?

There are two laws of influence that can be used in a particularly powerful combination. These two laws have been identified by Robert Cialdini in his bestselling book, “Influence, Science And Practice.” If you are interested in influence at all, and would like to either become better at it, or just to understand how pretty much everybody around you is using these techniques, you should read this book.

There is a vague belief that persuasion is kind of an “art,” and that people that are good at it are like musicians or painters who are born with some natural talent. But Dr. Cialdini has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that persuasion is indeed a science, rather than an art. A science that can be learned and applied either to benefit an individual, a company, or the leader of a nation.

There are several examples of how these principles of influence have been used without much concern for ethical considerations, but they still work nevertheless.

There is one fantastic example that comes to mind, which I’d like to share with you today. This was illustrated in “Influence.”

The first principle this involves is one of “commitment and consistency.” This is the idea that people are much more willing to do something if they have already publicly stated they will something, or have done something before that is similar.

A great Internet example is “click through.” If you visit a website of somebody trying to sell you something, you’ll likely have to click through several different pages to actually get to the point where you type in your credit card number. The reasoning behind this is people are much more likely to take the next step if they’ve already taken several previous steps.

If you land on some web page, and read some advertising text, and there is a button at the bottom that says “Buy Now!” The percentage of people that click on it is fairly low. But instead, if you shorten your sales page, and on the bottom is a button that says, “Click to Read More!” You’ll get much more people clicking through. Once you get visitors to click through three or four pages, they’ll be much more likely to click on a “Buy Now” button.

Another example is in jury trials. When they finish a trial, and the jury convenes they will often conduct a “straw vote” meaning that just give their first impression, guilty or not guilty, before the jury starts to discuss the case. Here’s the interesting part.

In jury deliberations where each juror publicly states, out loud, whether they feel the defendant is guilty or not guilty, the deliberations last more than twice as long as those where they jurors submit their initial guilty or innocent vote via anonymous slips of paper.

When people state their opinions out loud, they are much less likely to later change them. But when they submit their opinions in private, on an anonymous slip of paper, they later change their minds rather easily.

Another principle is one called scarcity. I’m sure you are well aware of this. Limited supply. Sale only lasts for two days. Only the first one hundred customers.

Study after study shows that people will give something a much higher value when they think it is scarce. A group of researchers did an experiment where they had people sample a cookie. In one case, they convinced the samplers that there were plenty of cookies, and the test would be going for quite a while, etc etc.

Then they told a different group of testers that the cookies were a limited batch, and it was a recipe that was only being tried out for a short period of time, and the testers were lucky to be in on the experiment. Keep in mind the testers or samplers were never sold anything, so there was no buying pressure.

The results? The samplers who were told there were many more cookies of the same kind gave it an average rating. The testers who were told that it was a small group of cookies, and they were a select group of testers gave it an excellent rating.

But they were the same exact cookie. Simply by telling people it was scarce, it made the cookie taste better.

Now for the powerful, Christmas time combination. I have no idea if this still happens today, but this story was illustrated in “Influence,” the book I mentioned previous.

There was a toy manufacturer. They made a toy, and put all kinds of TV commercials on, directed at little kids. They used all kinds of marketing tricks, mainly scarcity. Only a limited number of dolls made. Get yours today. Everybody wants this doll for Christmas.

Only when the parents went to the store to get the doll, they were all sold out. So they had to get a substitute gift for their kid. Then, a couple months after Christmas, they somehow found a hidden warehouse filled with these dolls. Of course, the kids saw this, told their parents, and their parents were pretty much obligated to buy the toy, as they had promised to buy it at Christmas but couldn’t find it.

Here’s how it works. Kid sees toy, bugs parent. Parents promises kid to buy them that particular toy. When buying time comes, toy isn’t available. Parent buys replacement gift. Two months later, toy reappears. Kid says, “But Daddy, you promised!” Daddy now has to go and buy gift.

Simply by manipulating the supply of the toys (scarcity) to increase demand, and depending on commitment and consistency (Daddy, you promised!) the toy company was able to double it’s Christmas sales. They sold a slew of replacement gifts (jacked up in price because of daddy’s guilt for not finding the promised toy) and then again a couple months later, when the original gift magically appeared, they had an increase in sales when all their competitor were suffering from a post Christmas slump

The beauty (or evilness, depending on how you look at it) of a plan like this is that this is almost impossible to defend against. What parent is going to tell their child they can’t have what the TV has said every other kid is getting? What parent is going to break a promise to their kid?

Everywhere you look, there are advertisements developed by companies who know and apply these principles on a daily basis. It helps to understand these principles so that you can use them yourself (in an ethical, win win scenario, of course) and to defend against them when they are used against you.

The Paradox Of Choice

Which Do You Choose?

Which would you rather have, a big juicy hamburger, or a cracker with some peanut butter slapped on top? How about a nice two-week relaxing vacation on the beaches of Hawaii versus a free coupon worth on rental from your local video store? Or how about a date with Megan Fox compared to that homeless woman you saw the other day?

These may seem like obviously easy choices. But what about these:

You are standing next to the train tracks. There is a split right where you are standing. There is a train coming. As it stands, the strain is going to veer left. You have access to a switch that can make the train veer right if you flip the switch.
You notice there is a stranded bus filled with school kids on the tracks to the left. If the train continues on its course, it will hit the bus and kill the kids. But to the right, there is one fat guy working on the tracks. If you throw the switch to change tracks, the train will avoid the kids, but it will kill he fat guy.

What do you do?

If you do nothing, a busload of kids will die. If you throw the switch, you will save the kids, but you will be directly responsible for killing some fat guy.

Or how about this:

There is a boatload of kids drifting down a river, about to plunge off a waterfall. You are standing on a bridge. There is the same fat guy walking across the bridge. If you run up and push the fat guy off the bridge, he will hit the boat and diverge it from the waterfall, and save the kids.

What do you do?

Many people polled in various studies would pull the switch in the first scenario, as they see it as an act of saving the kids. But few people would actually run up and push the fat guy off the bridge.

Why?

They (those they people again) did a study where they took some students and had them stick their hands in a bucket of water, and then guess the temperature. Then they had the same students stick their same hands in the same water, but at the same time, they had them stick their other hands in another bucket of water, that was either really hot or really cold. When the other bucket was really hot, they underestimated the temperature of the test bucket. When the water was really cold, they overestimated the temperature of the test bucket.

Or how about this. It is not uncommon for real estate agents to show a potential client a really crappy house in a really crappy neighborhood that is within their stated price range. Then they show them another much better house, in a much better neighborhood that is priced slightly higher than their stated price range.

They’ve found that this works really well to convince them to increase their price limits. By showing them the first house (which is owned and maintained by the real estate company) they effectively make the second house look like a bargain.

Restaurants have also found this trick works really well when selling wine. If they have a bottle (or several bottles) they are trying to unload at, say, fifty dollars a bottle, the wine won’t sell very well if it is the most expensive bottle they have. But they’ve found by adding another bottle, priced at seventy five to a hundred dollars, they increase sales of the fifty dollar bottle significantly. It looks better in comparison.

Our brains don’t’ like to choose in a vacuum. We need to have something to compare our choices to. If the choice is only to buy a bottle of wine or not, we usually will choose not. But if it’s an expensive bottle or a cheaper bottle, we’ll choose the cheaper bottle.

This is a known psychological trick that has been used in sales for many years. We like to feel like we have a choice, like we are smart enough to evaluate those choices and make the best decision that we can. But our short hand thinking process can easily be hijacked by marketers who want to sell us something that we really don’t need.

There is one simple rule to avoid being duped. Simply know going in, before being presented with choices, what is important to you, what price you are willing to spend, and what options you want. And compare everything you see only to your list of options and your acceptable price.

Of course, if you are a marketer, and you are trying to sell something, say online, it would help dramatically to include something similar that is priced significantly higher. That way people will think the real item you have for sale is a bargain and they will be much more likely to buy it.

For example, if you run a product review page, and you are selling item “X” for fifty bucks, try and find a similar item, with only slightly better features, for two hundred bucks. Item “X” will seem like steal in comparison.

Another trick that has been proven very useful in this regard is to include only a little bit of information about the first, more expensive item, and then very detailed information about item “X.” That way, item “X” will not only seem cheaper by comparison, but your potential buyers will feel much more informed, and feel they are making a wise buying decision.

Happy marketing, and don’t push any fat guys off any bridges.

Are Guys Really Afraid Of Commitment?

What Are You Committed To?

If you ask most girls, you’ll find that most guys are afraid of commitment. If you ask most guys, you’ll find that we are a misunderstood bunch, and that commitment to us means something entirely different than it does to girls. We are committed to our careers, our friends, our dreams and our goals. Maybe when girls get together and complain about their guy’s failure to commit, perhaps they need to reexamine what they are expecting their guy to commit to.

They did a study a while back. When I say “they,” I’m referring to a group of social psychologists. They went up and down neighborhood streets, and asked if people would mind putting a small sign either in their front window, or on their lawn. The sign was a fairly generic sign, like “be careful of children,” or “please don’t litter in neighborhood,” or something along those lines. They did this to random households, not to every household. That is, one each street, they only choose a small percentage of houses to make the request.

They found that about 30-40 percent accepted the small sign. Keep in mind they asked houses at random. Then about three weeks later, they came through the same neighborhoods again. Now they asked to put up bigger, more controversial signs. Based on earlier data, 30 or 40 percent would agree to a small, generic sign. They suspected a smaller percentage would accept a bigger, more controversial sign, like “vote for Joe Blow,” or whatever.

What they found was interesting. In households that weren’t asked to put up the small signs, there were only a tiny percentage of people that agreed to put up big sign. Something around three percent. But on the houses that had already agreed to put a small sign, over 70 percent agreed to put up a bigger sign.

It appeared that once they got people to commit to a small amount, asking for a much larger amount was much easier than they suspected. This same phenomenon has been shown again and again in various different areas.
For example, studies show that during jury trials, often they will conduct a quick “straw vote” before beginning deliberations. Sometimes everybody says guilty or not guilty out loud, that is publicly committing to one position or another. Other times they anonymously write “G” or “NG” on a slip of paper.

On average, the trials where people publicly commit to one position or the other last over twice as long. It seems that once people make a public commitment, it is much harder to change their minds.

It is also a well-taught fact about setting goals, specifically quitting a bad habit like smoking, or losing weight, you’ll have much more success if you tell somebody, or make your position public.

Some psychologists feel this is one of many “shortcuts” the brain has evolved over time to save computing time. If we choose something, we tend to stick with it. Our brain doesn’t to reinvent the wheel with every decision.

What about you? What brand of shoe do you wear? Have you always worn that brand, or do you switch every time? What about cars? What make of car do you drive? Do you buy a different model every time?

How about when you go on vacations? Do you always stay in the same hotels, or do you change it up every now and then?

While it can be helpful, and time saving to make the same choices again and again, it can also cause problems. Have you ever gotten into an argument, and argued much longer than you should have, simply because you didn’t want to budge from your position, rather than changing your mind based on new information?

The whole “in for a penny, in for a pound” mindset shows up in many different areas of life. It served us well when we were hunter/gatherers, foraging for food. It helped keep us safe and out of harms way. But is it so unreasonable to reevaluate your position every now and then? Is it wrong to change your mind halfway through a project or discussion in light of new information?

It can help to realize what is important, and why. If you are arguing with somebody simply for the sake of arguing, maybe it could help to step back and take an objective look at things. And maybe wonder why it’s so important to be right all the time. But if you are truly seeking information, it can help to try and see the other person’s point of view.

At any rate, it helps to be aware of our minds tendency to use shorthand thinking. Many times it does help us, and make life easier, but it often times it doesn’t

The trick is to know the difference.

Two Powerful But Little Known Secets Of Persuasion That You Can Use Today

There are two powerful and almost irresistible elements of persuasion that when used correctly, can have a profound effect on the target of your influence. Without these two items, you will have to put a gun to somebody’s head, or implicitly promise some kind of sexual or monetary reward in order to move their thinking towards what you want them to do.

The fact that many advertisements you see today blatantly (and some very covertly) use sex in any way possible to promote products and services shows that even huge marketing and advertising companies are unaware of the power of these two elements.

Because you’ve come across this blog today, you are about to learn them. When you finish reading this, you’ll have a firm understanding of how and why they work, and some sneaky tricks that will allow you to use them starting today to get other people to do what you want.

So what are they?

Social Proof, and Authority.

Humans are hard wired to make decisions quickly. Back in the old days, before agriculture, people lived in small groups of around 200 people. If you made a wrong decision, you usually didn’t last long. Because the environment and living conditions were extremely dangerous, you couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.

Imagine going out chasing a woolly mammoth, and you always had the fear that if you twisted your ankle, or tripped over a rock, or got an infection from a small cut on branch, you were done. Game over. You’d likely be left behind, and probably wouldn’t last long. That’s hard to imagine today when almost any kind of medical ailment is easily treatable.

So humans developed a few shortcuts in decision making. One was social proof. Social proof is a powerful influential factor that causes people to get rid of logic and rational thinking and simply follow the crowd.

This worked beautifully on a woolly mammoth hunt. It kept everybody together and safe from predators. It worked terribly in Nazi Germany when everybody agreed it was ok to murder Jews. It is still working everywhere you look today, from fashion trends, to car styles, to popular restaurants. People don’t like to admit it, but at our core, humans are pack animals.

The second “shortcut” in thinking is authority. Whoever is recognized as the authority in the group will usually be obeyed without question. This goes hand in hand with social proof. The more people follow a leader, the more authority he will have, which of course gives him or her more social proof as a leader.

If you were walking down the street and some homeless guy that reeked of alcohol asked you for your drivers license, you’d laugh. But if a well built police officer with two smaller officers following obediently behind him asked for your drivers license, you probably couldn’t get it out quick enough.

If the man that collects your garbage told you that eating three raw onions a day is the secret to a hundred and fifty years of good health, you’d think he was a nut case. But if you heard a famous doctor, who has written several best selling, and well regarded books on health, say the same thing, you’d likely head straight over to the onion shop. And if you saw many others buying onions by the cartload, that would cement your decision even further to eat three raw onions a day.

The same message from two different sources can have a widely different effect, based only on the source. Shortcuts in thinking.

So how do you apply this to your own persuasion? Simply suggest that some kind of authority agrees with whatever you are saying. And suggest or imply that many people have already done what you are suggesting your target (or mark) do.

For example, if you are selling cars, which do you think is more persuasive:

This is a great car. It gets great gas mileage and will fit nicely in your garage. It’s got many safety features that will keep you and your family safe. It’s red, and red is a good color. I think you should buy this car. Whatta ya say?

Or

Car and Driver is just one of many leading consumer magazines that has given this car a five star rating, based on many factors. When this model first came out it won three awards at the International Car Show in Italy. And of all the thousands of people that have bought this car already, two of the reasons they like it is the great gas mileage, and the incredible safety features. Of course it’s red, which is a very popular color. Many people have found that when they drive a red car, for some crazy reason they feel a boost in self-confidence. Leading Psychological experts have shown that driving a red car boosts your sex appeal as well. Of course, because this model is so popular, you’ll have to make a decision pretty quickly. I have three more appointments today that want to take a look at this car.

Which do you think is more persuasive?

Many experts in the science of persuasion have shown time and time again that the leading sales people who use these two powerful techniques of social proof and authority have quickly become the leaders in their field. Not only that but they get a lot more money and sex. And when you begin to use these powerful techniques in your daily conversation, you’ll be amazed how effective you will be.

Have fun.

How to Use Language to Persuade Others

I remember when I was a kid, I was in boy scouts. Our troop went to a beach for a weekend campout. The campgrounds were up on a bluff overlooking the beach, with fire rings and places to set up tents.

One thing I remember the most was that there was this new kid. And the poor kid seemed to be desperate to make friends. He would ask one of the other kids to do something, and would always promise things like “I’ll be your best friend,” or “I’ll buy you a soda,” and other stuff. At the time, most of the kids didn’t want anything to do with him, because it seemed creepy to have a kid promising us all kinds of stuff just to hang around him. Looking back, I feel kind of sorry for the kid. It can be tough being a new kid in a group when friendships and relationships have already been formed.

If you can imagine how difficult it can be to make friends as an adult, you can perhaps also sympathize with him. Being an adult, you have more confidence in yourself (hopefully!) so you can relax and be yourself, and be sure that friendships will develop gradually over time, like they should.

But what if you are in a situation, and you need to quicken the process? What if you need to make a good first impression on a boss, or a potential business partner? What then? Does it still work to promise to “be someone’s best friend?” Probably not.

If you are a salesperson, and you’ve ever tried to sell something to somebody, you now difficult it can be to get past resistance. If you give them a compliment, they can easily see it for what it is if it is not one hundred percent genuine.

So what do you do? One powerful way is to use linguistic presuppositions. Linguistic presuppositions are carefully constructed sentences that presuppose something to be true in order for the sentence to be understood.

An example is the following sentence:

One of the reasons that so many people have bought his product is that it’s lifetime warranty makes it much more valuable than the competition.

Take a look at what is being presupposed in the sentence:

– Many people have bought this product
– This product has a lifetime warranty
– It is much more valuable than the competition
– There are other reasons people have bought it

Even if you blatantly disagree with any of the above statements, you are tacitly accepting the others as truth.

So how do you use this technique to get someone’s good favor? Simple. Use sentences that presuppose good things about the other person. Even if you have never met them before, and don’t know anything about their history, you can still do this. Just think of something that is generally true of everybody.

For example, everybody has made decisions in their lives. Some good, some bad. Everybody has done good things in their life. Everybody has achieved accomplishments in their life.

So you can say,

“Well Mr. Customer, obviously, because you’ve made several good decisions before that have invariably led to substantial accomplishments, you can appreciate the fact that choices always present an opportunity for further achievement.”

That is a simple sentence, which doesn’t really say anything specific, but it presupposes something about the person that they can feel good about.

Another example:

“I’m sure that you’ve avoided temptation in the past due to your willpower and dedication to personal achievement, which is exactly why you are somebody that can really benefit from this product.”

Again, a fairly vague sentence, but it presupposes something good about the person, and uses that presupposition to convince them to consider your product or service.

These are but a few of the many ways that you can use linguistic presuppositions to promote yourself or your product. There are several resources to learn these. They were originally described in the book “The Structure of Magic,” by Bandler and Grinder. You can get it from Amazon.

Although these patterns can take some time to learn, they can be very powerful in promoting yourself, and making others feel really fantastic. You do like to make people feel fantastic, right?

How To Ace a Job Interview Even if There is Tough Competition

If you’ve ever had a job interview, you know now incredibly nerve wracking it can be. Suddenly you are sitting there, feeling completely under the microscope, as the interviewer looks over your resume with a passive look on his or her face. You have no idea what he or she is thinking, but you can’t help but wonder.

The good news is that interviewing is a skill, and like any other skill you can improve with practice. Of course, some people are fortunate enough not to have to go on many interviews, but many others have to go through several to land an even mediocre job.

So what is the secret? A mixture of self-confidence and criteria.

You need to be confident enough to give an honest assessment of your skills and how you can help the company’s bottom line. You do yourself no service whatsoever by being shy or reserved. If you have skills you need to make sure the interviewer knows about them, and believes you. If you don’t have skills, don’t say you do, otherwise you might find yourself in a difficult situation.

I was once in an interview for a technical position that was over my head. The interviewer asked me a question that required a specific knowledge of statistics to answer correctly. He asked the question, and without hesitation, I confidently said “fifteen.”

He paused, looked at me and asked: “Is that based on your knowledge and experience, or did you just make that up?”

Busted.

You’d be surprised how many people go into an interview with a “please hire me I’ll do anything for you” mentality. Employers don’t like this. They are in business to make money, and they need skills, not somebody looking for an opportunity.

That is where criteria come in. This is an almost magical technique that you can apply in areas much wider than job seeking. And the less technical the position, and the more “people skill” oriented it is, the easier you can leverage criteria, even if you don’t have any particular experience in the field.

Here’s how it works. Once you establish some rapport in the interview, and you get past the “tell me about yourself” part. You’ll likely come to a part where the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Most people ask things like “when are the holidays,” or “what are the health benefits,” or “do you have dental,” or other things.

What most people don’t realize is that this part of the interview is a near perfect opportunity to leverage the employers criteria to almost guarantee you the position.

When it’s your turn to ask questions, as the employer to describe exactly what they are looking for in an employee. Make sure to really listen, and pay attention to words and phrases that he or she puts extra emphasis on. Especially vague phrases like “people skills,” or “dedication,” or “focused on the final product.”

Then simply ask follow up questions about those particular words or phrases that they “lean on,” so to speak. The more they talk about their ideal employ, with you sitting there in front of them, they will start to subconsciously imagine you as the ideal employee. Especially when almost every other prospective employee is asking what’s in it for them.

The longer you can draw out that part of the conversation, the better. And any time you feel an opportunity to work in a person story or anecdote about yourself, try and use some of those phrases mentioned above. It will go along way to putting you at the to of the list.

Tap Egyptian Power of Success

I was sitting in a bowling alley recently, waiting for my turn, and this guy sitting next to me started talking about the Egyptian Pyramids. He was explaining all the historical and political significance of them, which I had never really thought of before. When most people think of the pyramids, they naturally think of these giant structures that were built out in the middle of the desert, many thousands of years ago by a culture that we can’t begin to understand. Some even believe they had influence from alien life forms, as some of the structural mathematics matches up keenly with certain elements of our solar system and out galaxy.

This guy was telling me how it was a brilliant political maneuver by the government at the time. They were very dependent on the Nile for almost all of their food, and when the Nile didn’t provide sufficient water, many people suffered. Every year the Nile would flood, submerging many peoples houses and farms, so they were not only dependent on the Nile, but they had to live and move according to its behavior.

Having a whole people who felt they were at the mercy of the gods was not an easy people to govern. Any edict the Pharaoh would proclaim would always be conspired in light of the heavens and the forces of nature, and would consequently take a back seat.

Enter the pyramids.

Deciding to build the pyramids was a stroke of genius. It gave virtually every Egyptian a feeling of being in control of something, for the first time in their lives. They knew they were building a very large structure, and they could even imagine a point up in the sky that they were aiming for, and that they would one day reach. To go even further, the engineers designed the pyramids so that when they were finished, they would point to a certain and prominent star in the sky, so even at night the people could connect their daily activity towards a specific goal to a far of distant point of light in the mysterious night sky.

If you’ve ever taken the time to look at your goals, it’s important to have them defined in two different ways. One way so that you can determine exactly when you have accomplished them, and giving you a specific time and place to focus your attention. Keep your eyes and mind on the finish line at all time, so to speak. This way your brain knows exactly what behaviors to do and not to do in order to get you to your goal. Many people set goals and fail, not because they don’t want them, but because they are not set with enough clarity and specificity.

The other important factor is to set a goal in a direction that you want to go in. Once you achieve your goal, you are going to have to come up with another one. Resting on your laurels has long been known as a killer of motivation and success. When you choose a far of direction, like the horizon, or a star in the sky, you will keep on going in the right direction, and can keep your motivation when you stumble along the way.

When you set both of these with enough clarity and specificity, you will almost get to your goal automatically. Just like the pyramids, once they set the plans, gave everybody a clear idea of where the were going, the pyramids went up almost automatically. And anything you want to create in life will go up just as quickly and as smoothly.

One thing that did go very smoothly, was my bowling. It seemed that every time I released it, it would roll very smoothly straight to the gutter, and my friends very quickly erupted in laughter and told me what an entertaining bowler I am to watch.