June, 2010

Choosing Your Own Way

By Framing 4 Comments

Dear Persuader,

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances – to choose one’s own way.”   – Victor Frankl

Every time I hear someone talk about “thinking outside the box” I chuckle.  Like any cliché or catchphrase, thinking outside the box has been so overused as to become downright irritating.

From business coaches and management consultants to the realms of education, sports, sales and self help… think about how many times you’ve heard someone say in order to succeed or break through to higher levels of achievement, we have to step outside of the boxes that society has dictated we exist in.

Well, what is this box and why is it such a hindrance? And isn’t this just another way to say we need to be creative with the frames that we use to view the world?

I agree in theory with this concept in that persuasion requires a fluid creativity and flexibility that is not easily contained by restrictions and limitations. Business has been reduced to a rigid constant in many respects.  Trying to distill something as broad as business, and something as complex as sales, into easily digestible bites has been something old fashioned sales and marketing trainers have long tried to do.

Every situation is particular, each client or prospect has a very specific key or trigger which our creative sleuthing requires us to uncover. Remaining static is not an option in this quest. We have to have agile, almost yogic minds, able to bend the way our prospect bends, and twist the way our clients twist.

We’re not all cookie cutters. Unfortunately old-fashioned sales training has attempted to turn people into just that. It’s the same thing over and over. Instead, and through the process of learning persuasion, we don’t have boxes to begin with. We have frames, which like a pair of glasses can be changed according to what we’re wearing or whether it’s sunny out. The frames we use are far more powerful in determining our prospect or client’s needs and desires as we work with them.

When we choose how we view the world instead of allowing outside forces to choose for us, we have a magnificent capacity to influence and sell like never before.

Our capacity to frame improves with practice (similar to all things from learning a language, to learning an instrument, to learning yoga or starting an exercise regime). We absolutely do improve the more we try something. There’s no getting around that. The key is to do it. And do it again.

Writing out exercises and repeating language patterns within our given fields, coming up with lists of objections that we commonly get and then reframing the objections before they even come up in conversations with our prospects and clients, studying the thirty six Chinese stratagems as a way to further our internal understanding of what it means to be persuasive. . . these are easy steps to really installing in yourself the ability to persuade powerfully.


To Be (Sneaky) or Not to Be (Sneaky)

By Persuasion Fundamentals 6 Comments

Dear Persuader,

A student of mine once posted a comment about my use of the relationship between teacher and student in an example of presupposition. They suggested, with a wink and a smiley face, that maybe I was being a little sneaky in using the example in a persuasive way.

It’s kind of interesting in life how when people know that I’m an expert in persuasion; they assume I’m using my persuasions skills on them all the time. That’s been something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. People actually say, ‘Well, I don’t know if I can really trust him, because, after all, he’s one of the top persuasion experts.’

This always kind of upset me until finally I just kind of got used to it.  I just realized, people are going to think whatever they’re going to think.

I really am just genuinely myself. And I’ve had to struggle to remain un-jaded. Not always having ulterior motives is part of operating with a lot of integrity.

But what is an ulterior motive? An ulterior motive lies beyond what is evident, revealed, or avowed.  That could be a negative thing, especially if the motive is being concealed intentionally so as to deceive. But there can be ulterior motives that aren’t sneaky.

When an ulterior motive is supportive, I have no problem with that. An ulterior motive, in a sense, is behind the scenes. If I were to use skills to help people to stay involved with me, provided that I’m really giving them value, I find no problem with that whatsoever.

For my suspicious student, I would suggest that people find I’m providing value regardless of me attempting to install it or not. And you’ll find the same is true for you.

It is kind of a humorous topic so I thought I would show you a little bit about the inside workings of my mind, how I’ve dealt with some of those kind of things and how it affects me.

Early in my career, I too would find myself asking those who I was studying with, if they were using persuasion on me because I wanted to see where their minds would really go.

It doesn’t mean I’m actively attempting to do it, though I know full well that my intention is to not only provide information but entertainment. Not only information and entertainment, but longevity for my clients and me to be work together.

That’s going to come out. These are my intentions. And my intention is to help and help and help some more. As long as that is recognized then I feel really satisfied and I think this is something you might want to examine in your own life because it will be something that comes up from time to time and it’s nice to have thought it through so that you know where you stand on it.

Be sure and post your thoughts and comments on the blog.


Trying on Someone Else’s Skin

By Building Rapport 8 Comments

Dear Persuader,

You’ve heard the saying; you can’t know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. This is a technique on how to gain rapport by jumping into another person, stepping in, sliding in, moving in, being in that person, figuratively walking a mile in their shoes.   Harper Lee wrote in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

We are going to learn to climb into the skin of our prospects, experience them, their decision making mechanisms, their emotional states—so that we can better give them what they need and get what we need.

Our unconscious mind is a goal-seeking mechanism, and it’s a pattern recognition device that is incredibly brilliant and it can immediately pick up characteristics of others so that when we step into them, it already has formulated what we’re going to be experiencing.

How are we going to do this?  The way I do it is I just look at you and jump in.  I imagine in my mind that I am now you looking at me. It’s that simple.  When I look at you, my unconscious, knowing that I’m going to step inside you, can very quickly build a pattern of who and what you are, such that when I step inside you, it already has constructed what’s going to happen.  Once I’m inside you, I’m modeling you, or mirroring you so completely and so powerfully that the results can be startling both for you and for the person that this is being done with.

Is it real?  I don’t know.  I don’t really care.  It’s a mental construct.  I am making it up in my mind.  I’m making up that I’m now in your body looking through your eyes.

Another option, one that I’ve had students tell me about, is building a picture the person you’re ‘becoming’, then you turn around so you’re facing the same way I am and just step in.  This can be thought of as mirroring and this is one of the fastest ways of gaining rapport I have ever seen or used.

What if you work with people on the phone and you have no idea what they look like? Could you do the same thing anyway? Sure. What is it that you know about that person when you’re talking to them? They’ve got a phone to their ear, and they’ve got a voice, and their voice has characteristics, and those characteristics have conditions that your unconscious mind has seen before.

If we assume that there is a finite number of patterns that exist, and if we chunk up a little bit, go to a bigger level, we can say, for example, there are twelve astrological signs.  There are seven major personality types, depending on the system that you’re working with.  There are all sorts of different classification systems that will seek to limit the number of possible combinations.

Of course, humans are infinite.  However, wouldn’t it be interesting to know that your unconscious, in its vast experience of dealing with all the people it has dealt with, has come across most all of the major patterns and major characteristics of the people that you’re dealing with?  It knows what that other person can be like. Could you build an image of that person?  Sure you can, you absolutely can, and you can step right in, even if you’re just on the phone.

This is a construct. We are constructing an image. Will it be accurate?  Not exactly, but that’s okay, because if we’re in front of them, and we’re hearing them and we’re seeing them, and if they’re moving, we keep changing our construct until it’s identical to what they are, so for every minute, every second that goes by, ours gets better, and more complete and more powerful, and we’re locking right in to that person.

When you step in, you want to leave yourself behind and see through their eyes.  When you do this, it establishes rapport at a very, very profound and deep level.  Once you’re in them, you’ve really moved along the process of rapport, and you’ve moved it along because you’re so completely identifying with all of their behaviors, and all of who they are.

You can make this more powerful in a couple of ways.  First, marvel at what it feels like and what their clothes feel like.  If the person is of the opposite sex, you might feel what it feels like to be a woman or a man, whatever the case may be, and actually take on those characteristics.

What are their physical characteristics? How does it feel to have those characteristics? Notice when you step into the other person, where you feel the connection to them.  Do you feel the connection in your stomach, in your feet, in your hands, in your chest, in your head?  Where do you feel the connection?  By asking yourself these questions you’ll deepen the rapport.

Before trying this, here’s something to keep in mind: if the person’s sick, if they have something considerably wrong with them, if you know that they’re not a particularly good person or they are someone you just don’t like, you might not choose to use this level of rapport, because you may not be able to shake it all the way off.

This is incredibly powerful. Even if you’re not particularly in touch with your energy, you can still use this effectively.

All the best!


PS… Don’t forget to post your comments on the blog.

Assigning Blame: Use With Caution

By Advanced Persuasion, Language Patterns 1 Comment

Dear Persuader,

In a previous article I talked about using the term ‘everything happens for a reason’ to utilize the trust that many people have in this concept. I also wrote about superstition and the concept that ‘there are no accidents’ which happens to be a very powerful persuasion tool, and if you’ve read those two articles and attempted to implement the learning into your life, you already know what I mean about power.

Well, assigning blame is the other side of the ‘everything happens for a reason’/’there are no accidents’ coin. Wherein both of these concepts use our prospect’s belief in an ordered, equitable universe, assigning blame uses a common enemy as a means to persuade.

Better hang on here if you are religiously oriented because I’m going to shake the tree just a little bit here. (Disclaimer: My intention is never to intrude on anyone’s beliefs or practices because I vehemently believe in Freedom of Religion and to me, this extends to spiritual practice of all kind. But, like it or not, religion and spirituality are intertwined with everything in life and I use the examples below to teach persuasion, not to push my beliefs or dissuade yours.)

In group theory, there’s a lot of discussion about enemies, common enemies. One of the greatest ways you can ever use to bond a group is for them to have a common enemy.

Let’s start with Christianity as an example. What’s the common enemy of Christianity? Well, you probably know right off the top of your head, it’s the devil. How is this installed in Christians from an early age?  Well, we start saying things like, ‘We as humans are born into a world of sin and the mere act of being born causes us to not be able to get into the life hereafter until and unless we accept Jesus as our savior.’

That’s pretty intense. Let’s look at the enemy. The enemy is, just being born, because we’re born into sin. Who’s responsible for that? The devil.

This is a great tool. I heard someone say many years ago, ‘The devil is the best friend the Christian ever had because without him, there would be no need for a savior.’ Think about the word ‘savior’. Savior implies someone needs saving. And if you’re born into sin, you in fact do need saving.

Again, I’m not debating any of this. In fact, I’m kind of being the devil’s advocate here, so to speak, because I’m literally standing back and removing my own beliefs just to point out to you what’s going on so you can see this.

Now does it mean, by the way, having a common enemy is a bad thing? No, I think common enemies are great things. But one has to be careful and responsible. Is it responsible of a Christian to say that the devil’s a common enemy? Absolutely.

Also note the advantage of pointing at a common enemy that you can’t see, you can’t hear, and in fact, even humanities basic drives and desires can be attributed to the influence of this being? It’s pretty amazing. (From my previous article ‘Very Superstitious’, can see how this might fit into the definition of ‘superstition’?)

We have an inherent need to assign blame. In fact, it’s so fundamental to the core of who we are that everybody does this.

How about a political example? How about the ‘War on Terror’ or the ‘War on Poverty’? It’s virtually impossible to argue that anyone is for ‘terror’ or ‘poverty’.  These are cultural common enemies. Terror and poverty, however, are concepts, not actual, tangible physical groups against which a war can be won, but notice how insanely powerful as enemies.  If winning a ‘war’ against a concept were possible, I’d sign up and fight.

So I’m contrasting ‘things happen for a reason’ with ‘blame.’ So at our core, we look to assign fault.

A word of warning: I wouldn’t dwell in the land of negativity, it’s like a double-edged sword. It cuts going and coming. Be very careful.


PS… Be sure and post your comments to the blog.

Magnetism: Not Just For Animals

By Abundance, Self Persuasion No Comments

A very spiritual woman I know shared the following with me: she said, ‘I used to have unfortunate beliefs about myself and I received back from external influences unfortunate results. When I decided to take control and raise my resonance, to be the change I wanted to become, to allow abundance and love come flow through me, absolutely everything fell into place. I am now living a life of leisure with a beautiful husband and I can draw what I want into my universe at will.’

What does it take to be a love magnet, or a money magnet, or a health magnet?

It takes a shift in perception and really, that’s all it takes.

We choose what to focus on. We choose to be really bummed out when it rains, or we choose to appreciate the downpour as a great opportunity to take care of indoor activities, or even better, to leave the umbrella at home and go for a walk. One person’s inconvenience is another’s puddle splashing fun.

When we focus on good, good comes to us. When we focus on grief, we grieve. This is not to say there’s no place for grief in life, it’s just to say, we need to be mindful that we’re not suffering over our own suffering. We do not need to be grief magnets.

I overheard a girl in a café the other day telling her friend, ‘I’m a freak magnet. I can’t leave my apartment without running into someone either clinically insane or whacked out on drugs or fanatical about some weirdness who wants to have extensive interaction with me.’

The friend responded, ‘That’s so strange. You live in a really nice place, in a really nice neighborhood. You wouldn’t think there’d be that many weirdoes around.’

‘They’re everywhere I am. It’s like they’re out there waiting for me to leave my house just so they can shout in my face or try to get me to join their cult.’

I thought to myself how awful it was for this girl to have this belief about herself, that no matter where she goes, no matter what she’s doing, she’s going to draw the lowest common denominator to her.

This is really how attraction works. What you think about yourself, you are. What you believe about the world, is your reality. What you speak, is your truth.

I almost wanted to say to her, ‘You know, you could just as easily not be a ‘freak magnet’ by simply telling yourself that you’re another kind of magnet.’ Then I realized that, sadly, my intrusion would only further confirm her self-diagnosis and she’d misinterpret my advice as more freakery, as in, ‘Yeah, this guy came up to me in the café and told me to be another kind of magnet. He looked pretty normal, but what a freak!’

So whatever your beliefs are about the world, I implore you, take this freak’s advice and adjust it to bring you all that you ever wanted and not the lowest common denominator.


PS… Be sure to post your comments and thoughts on the blog.

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