Tag Archives: Manipulation

How to Persuade Others to Give You What You Want

There has been much debate over the last several years as to why the human brain became so large. Compared to our body weight, it is much larger than our nearest relatives, the other apes. Some of the leading theories are that we need large amount of brainpower for spatial processing. It has been argued, notably in Howard Bloom’s “The Lucifer Principle,” that the need to hunt via action at a distance (e.g. throwing a spear and hitting moving target) required quite a bit of mental development.

Others have argued that our brains developed such large size due to our need to communicate. But why so large? Scientists have known for years that other mammals communicate through verbal interaction. Dolphins, whales, wolves. This is certainly not related to humans. But why did human’s language become so much more complex than others?

It might be easier to understand when you change your paradigm of the purpose of language. Most assume that the purpose of language is merely to exchange information. Researchers are beginning to wonder if this is a foregone conclusion. Some argue that the entire purpose, the entire driving force of language is not to communicate information, but to persuade. Even when a simple communication of information is the apparent goal, the underlying intent, even if it’s subconscious, is to persuade. Persuasion with statistics is but one of the many ways to convince others of your way of thinking.

If you could remember back to when you made your first sound, you would probably recall being under a great deal of stress. You had just come out from the safety and protection of your mothers womb, and were thrust, painfully so, into a harsh and unfamiliar environment. You had to breath for the first time. It was cold. You couldn’t feel the familiar thump-thump-thump of your mother’s heart. Naturally, your first response wasn’t to shout for joy to the skies, or voice your appreciation for your new discovery, but more likely to curse the gods for your predicament.

Then a funny thing happened. The more you cried, the more attention you got. Attention that brought you back to what you were missing. Comfort, attention, protection. The more you cried, the more you learned that you were cause, and the new world in which you lived was effect.

As you grew up, that repeated over and over again, thousands of times. You had a feeling; you expressed that feeling through your voice and actions, in attempt to manipulate your environment. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it doesn’t. Many people go through their whole lives frustrated because it is not as simple as it was when you were a baby. When we all reach the age of two or so, suddenly a simple cry doesn’t bring with it the immediate and comforting response we expect. And that is both frustration and worrisome. Does that mean that our world doesn’t care that much about us any more? Or does that simply mean we need to change our strategy? To formulate a new way of expressing our desires with a greater probability to getting them realized by others?

Luckily, there has been a whole lot of study in that area. There are specific ways to structure your communication to persuade others to give you what you want. Good ways and bad ways. Ways that will leave a good taste in the mouth of those that help you, and those that leave them with a funny feeling that they’ve been had. Ways to help you out in the short term, and ways to ensure your long-term success.

Just as surely as you expected your mother to pick you up when you cried, you can be sure of others actions based on your communication. It’s not that the world doesn’t care any more, it’s just that you need to be more specific with your requests, and frame them in such a way that the person fulfilling your requests will be happy for doing so. There are numerous strategies and methods I will share with you over the next several weeks that will give you incredible power over others, so much so that they will enjoy doing that.

Stay tuned.

How Other People’s Criteria Can Get You Everything You Want

I was sitting in a bookshop the other day, like I like to do, as those of you that read this blog on a daily basis have noticed. And I saw some guy walking around the shop giving out his business cards. He was very bold. He would just walk up to somebody, introduce himself, and give a quick introduction, and then before his mark knew it, they were holding one of his business cards. I wasn’t near enough to listen to what he was saying to people, because I was sitting in the coffee shop section of the bookshop.

I was reading this interesting book on metaphor. The book was talking about how all word are really metaphors for things that, with our limited capacities of understanding, can only approximate through our language. The best we can do as communicators is share our metaphors with each other, and hope that our underlying understanding of what it is that we are talking about overlaps enough so that we can communicate our ideas and feelings to each other. Sometimes though, when people communicate, there are several different meanings on several different levels, and you can never be quite sure what it is that this person is saying, even if you can lip read and have a clear view of their mouth.

But as this guy kept handing out his business cards, and judging by the expressions on the faces of the people that were on the receiving end, I got the sinking suspicion he was trying to sells something. I don’t think he was giving out free information like how to keep your car in tip top shape or how to make sure that when you bake your thanksgiving turkey it comes out with a moist juicy inside, and a crunchy delicious outside. I got the sinking suspicion he was a network marketer of some sort.

And judging by his approach, he seemed to be going for the shotgun marketing technique, or what is sometimes called the spaghetti marketing technique. This, as you are well aware, is when you throw your pitch to as many people as possible, and inevitably you will get a few that buy into your ideas. If you do this enough, you will likely be successful, so long as you follow the old ABC rule of sales: Always Be Closing.

“That works, but it takes a lot of energy. And the thing is, for every sale you get; you are going to have a few people that are angry that you approached them. Which is fine, you have a thick skin. But some people starting out, that’s not the best way to go.”

I heard a voice from behind me say. I looked, and I guess it was obvious that I was watching this guy.

“Oh?” I said.
“What do you recommend?”

“Well, the best way is to have a business card with a website on it. Then just give out the business card to as many people as possible, but without asking for a sale. Just tell them to visit the website if they are interested in the general kind of products you are offering. The on the website you have information about your product, and an email form to fill out if you are interested in more information. The people that fill in the information are called warm leads. These are much easier to convert to sales than cold leads, like that poor fellow is trying to do.”

“Hmm, sound interesting.” I said.

“What do you do when they say they want more information?”

“It’s all about criteria. All you need to do, is to find out what’s important to them. Once they tell you what’s important to them, all you have to do is show them how they will satisfy that need in buying your product.”

“Interesting. You are in sales, I take it?” I asked him.

“Oh, no,” he said.
“I’m an architect. I just like studying human behavior as a hobby.”

“So where did you learn this?” I asked him.

“I took a seminar from a guy a few years back, and he said that selling things to people, ideas, products, new behaviors is all really part of the same structure. People are a walking set of unmet needs. And these needs go very deep. He said that when you can elicit just one or two of these needs, and show them how it can be satisfied by one of your products or ideas, or new behaviors, they will not only eagerly accept it, but they will thank you afterwards.”

Hmm, interesting, I thought, turning back to my book on metaphors. In case you’re interested, the book is “Metaphors We Live By,” by George Lakoff. It’s fascinating, and I highly recommend it.

The Power of Pacing and Leading

I love to cook. Even more than loving to cook I love to eat. And when I like to cook, I like to use many gadgets to help me in those endeavors. One of my weaknesses in life is buying stuff that I really don’t need. I don’t know what it is, maybe I have a weak resistance to an effective sales pitch. Maybe I like to imagine all the wonderful ways I can use that gizmo that looks so incredibly cool here in the store or on TV. Most of the time, when I buy something, I really enjoy it for a while until it loses it’s luster. Then I go and buy something else. Rarely do I ever regret making a purchase. Once I bought a kitchen gadget from an infomercial, used it frequently, and then saw the commercial again. It was such a persuasive commercial, I was tempted to buy another one.

If you can turn off your automatic impulse buying response for a moment, you can learn a lot about persuasion from those infomercials. They grab your attention, lead you through a fantastically engineered sales presentation, and then make you think that you can’t afford not to buy what they are selling. Two of the techniques that they use fairly well are the principles of pacing and leading.

If you’ve read my article on rapport, then you know what I mean when I say pacing. Pacing is when you match the other persons reality as much as possible. You do and say things that they will agree with. You do this enough times that they slowly begin to turn off that “critical factor” that we all have in our brains that tell us be careful of things that we are not sure of. Once this “critical factor” is shut off, we will follow anybody,  anywhere. If you can pace somebody to the state where they have shut this off, you will be in a good position to begin to lead them.

When leading somebody, it is important to take them in small baby steps first. If you ask them to take a big step too soon, it will jar them back behind the protective guidance of their critical factor. If you’ve ever bought something from an infomercial, you’ve realized that the whole system is seamlessly set up to increase the amount of money you’ll spend. You start to watch the show. They are talking about how you hate to cook (uh huh). You have a long day at work, and when you come home you don’t want to slave away in the kitchen (uh huh). You wish there were a better way (uh huh). You’d like to spend only  few minutes to create a delicious meal for the whole family (uh huh).

Wouldn’t you know it? Here we have a brand new tool that can help you! (ok!) You can use this tool to slice (ok!), dice, (ok!) and puree (ok!)! And it’s not three hundred dollars, not even two hundred dollars, not even one hundred dollars. You can buy now (ok!) for the low low price of 39.95 (ok!).

Think about the actual product you are getting for your money. If you were sitting at home, and some guy knocked on your door, with the exact same product with the exact same price, you’d likely tell him no thanks. But watch a twenty minute infomercial, complete with studio audience and genius level engineered persuasion tactics, and you are rushing for your phone with your credit card in hand.

Same product and price, but two completely different methods of information delivery. Do you think it pays to be able to harness the power of persuasion? Do you think you owe it to yourself to learn this powerful technology?

Who would you rather be, the poor guy going door to door and getting rejected over and over, or the multi millionaire selling the same product on TV? Stay tuned for more articles on how to become a powerful persuader. Bookmark this page so you can come back and read articles under the “persuasion” category any time.


Sneaky ways to Persuade

If you’ve ever tried to convince somebody to come over to your side of thinking, you know how difficult it can be. No matter how hard you try, some people just seem to be set in their ways, their opinions, their beliefs. Imagine that you have a great idea that you want to tell your boss. One that you are completely sure that if your boss would take this idea, he could quickly and easily use this idea to make money, become more successful, and attract more customers.

And try as you might, you just can’t get the other person to see things this way. No amount of arguing, convincing, masterly designed powerpoint presentations can sway them. You may as well be banging your head against a brick wall, for all the good you are doing.

But what happens when you stop, now, and consider that there may be a whole new level of communication that you are forgetting about? What if you could realize that there is a layer of communication that supersedes mere logic and cause effect language? When you realize that exists another set of language skills at a completely different plane of thought, you can begin to leverage that to your advantage. When you do this, you will naturally begin to persuade people at will.

What I’m talking about is the language of structure. Language structure is very difficult to wrap your mind around because it is designed to take place outside of conscious awareness. Linguists have known for years, thanks to Noam Chomsky, that there is a ‘deep structure’ to language that children pick up automatically, without any conscious thought whatsoever. In other words, children consciously how to say words like ‘horse,’ television,’ ‘hot,’ ‘cold,’ and so on. But when they begin to string words together, the grammar rules of how to do this is completely unknown. Many scientists agree that we have some kind of ‘grammar structure’ organ in our brain, that is preprogrammed to learn grammar at a completely unconscious level.

Because people learn and use the structure of language at a deeply unconscious level, you can use this to your advantage. For example, it has become widely known, due to the work of Richard Bandler and John Grinder, that people take in, and express information through three main channels. Eyes, ears, and touch. Or to use the technical terms, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. We also use words that are based on these senses in our speech and our writing.

Some people rely heavily on visual words: See what I mean? I can’t get a clear picture of what you are talking about. That idea is not clear to me.

Others are use more auditory words: Nice to hear from you again. I hear what you’re saying. Mexican food? Sounds great! Have you heard the latest news?

Still others use mainly kinesthetic words: I haven’t been feeling myself lately. I feel you, I really do. I feel uncomfortable with that idea.

Most people use a combination of all three. The trick is to listen to the person you are trying to convince, and pay attention to which category they rely on most. Then just simply use words from that same category when you are convincing them how great your idea is. You’ll be amazed not only how well this works, but how incredibly sneaky it is, because nobody will have any clue that you are doing it.


Manipulating Minds can lead to Creating Happiness

So if you’ve read the previous article about manipulation, and you’ve decided, like most people, that you’d like to be a really good manipulator of people, or if you prefer, a persuader of people, how do you go about doing it? There are several methods. Some of which I’ll discuss here, others which I’ll discuss in other articles for your reading pleasure.

First, lets review. What we are after here is win/win manipulation (or persuasion or influence.) Which means that you want to convince somebody to do or feel something and have them be happy that you did. Before we go further, lets find an experience where somebody did this to you. Think of something you bought at least three years ago, that you still use and enjoy. There was a time in your life where you didn’t know that thing existed, or that particular model or brand. And you were in a state of mind where you were thinking about buying this, maybe not.

But then you walked in, and saw this sitting there. And you interacted with somebody that was involved in selling you this item. And you paid for it, either by check or credit card or cash or payment plan. And then you came into possession of this thing. With me so far? The salesman that persuaded you to buy this, at least in respects was happy. You are happy, because here it is, so many years later, and you still are using and enjoying thing. Aren’t you glad that they persuaded you to do something? What do you think of now, when you think of the person that you interacted with. Were they friendly? Helpful? Wasn’t it odd that you’d never met them before, yet you had such a positive interaction with this person that you can still remember them fondly so many years later?

This is the natural result of a successful outcome of a win/win manipulation. Everybody is happy. So lets explore the different methods of doing this.

Brute Force

This is the simplest, the oldest, and the most common. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical force. It can be peer pressure, social pressure, or other pressure where you are in a situation where you feel you experience emotional discomfort if you didn’t do what was asked of you. Surprisingly enough, many of these appear as win/win, at least in the short term, because the relief due to relieving the stress of even an imagined negative outcome can feel like a win. Once you give in to the pressure, the pain goes away. Unfortunately, the win can be deceptive, and short term.

Covertly Harnessed Natural Desires

This where most advertising gets its juice. Everybody wants safety, sex, money, love, affection. And to be free from pain. Advertisers usually use these in a unique way to get you to buy their product. They ingeniously hook their advertisement into your base human desires, making you feel as if you just have to have what it is that they are selling. Politicians use this method when they convince you that by voting for them, you will be safer, richer, have more opportunity, and freer from debt. Usually the best politicians are the ones that do the best job of doing this. 

CriteriaWhen someone you use this in a skillful and respectful manner, everybody gets a good long term win. This is when you find out what is important to a person, and craft your message so that it fits to what they think is important. This requires a personal, one on one approach, and only the most skilled and advanced salespeople and persuaders know how to do this. When done on a large scale, it is difficult to match each individuals criteria other than in a vague sense, and is almost impossible to follow through. 


So now you know three basic ways to influence people. Remember, when you sincerely have a desire to find out what is important to somebody, and you find these things out in a respectful way, you are more than halfway there to having them happily do whatever it is that you want.


Manipulation: Give First – Receive Later

Manipulation. What do you think when you hear that word? Evil, bad, wrong, secret, selfish. Do any of these come to mind? If you so you are not alone. People that use other people to get only what they want are considered to be manipulative, and should be avoided. Suppose you met a friend, and thought they were an ok, person. You ask around to see what other people say about them. What would you think if they only said that they were ‘manipulative?” Would that impress you? Would that want you to stay away from them? What if you were at a party, and some people came up to you and asked to speak to you alone. It was really important, they said. It was about your reputation, they said. They take you aside, and tell you that other people have been talking. They have been saying that you are a manipulative person. How would you make that feel? Proud? Happy? Sticky?

The truth is, humans learn to be manipulative since the day we learn to cry. We cry, not because there are any rational thoughts in our brain, only because we know that when we make certain contractions in our throats and force air out, it makes a loud sound. We don’t know emotions, or feelings, or thoughts, we are still at the very early stages of the discovery period of our lives. We scream, and then something cool  happens. Those big people come and pick us up. Wow. Then they put us down, and leave. We take in a deep breath (although we don’t know yet what breath is) and do it again, and they return. Wow. We have discovered a new power within us. We can control parts of our bodies, and other people will respond. When we grow older and begin to learn to use words and phrases, we also discover how certain words, phrased certain ways, can get people to do what we want.

Evolutionary Biologists are starting to wonder if the purpose of language itself is for persuasion rather than simple data transfer. Think of the things you’ve said to people recently. Although they may have been factually based messages, wasn’t there underlying purpose to persuade somebody to think a certain thought or to feel a certain emotion? Isn’t a pure transfer of data anyway a persuasive effort to get somebody else to think the same thoughts that you are thinking? When you call your husband or wife to say you are running late, aren’t you using your language to persuade her to remain calm? When you write the correct answers on an exam, aren’t you using a specific form of persuasion to get the professor to give you a good grade? Isn’t television, radio and the recent explosion of the internet merely other means of grabbing your attention in an attempt to persuade you to buy the advertised products?

One of the forgotten elements of persuasion and manipulation is the win/win concept. Everyone persuades, everyone manipulates, all the time. The only times that it sticks out is when somebody selfishly disregards the win/win model and reverts to the win/lose, or the more popular win/i don’t care.  And when you think about it, the different kinds of manipulation are not good or bad, they are just effective and ineffective. Suppose you were to realize that the most effective form of persuasion and manipulation model is the win/win model? And suppose you took it a step further, and discovered that the easiest, friendliest way to manipulate and persuade somebody was figure out a way to let them win first, and then by winning, they would in turn feel compelled to help you get what you want, since you’ve already helped them get what they want? Imagine if you could let go of any expectation long enough to help somebody get what they wanted, with the full knowledge that the laws of karma would reciprocate, somehow, someway? What would happen if everybody lived according to this model? What kind of world would it be?