Rescue or Bailout?

By Framing, Persuasion in Politics 6 Comments

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after.” — Dr. Robert Anthony

Hi Persuader,

Seven hundred billion (plus) dollars. How did they end up selling it? Well, there was fear. There was scarcity. There was impending doom. And it lead to panic and more fear and more doom. They said if it didn’t happen, surely we’d be ruined. They called it a bailout and when the public outcry was so strong that the house refused to pass it, they switched it to a rescue plan.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto told journalists who had been using the term (as were we all) “bailout” to describe the $700 billion package. “It’s really unfortunate shorthand for a very complicated issue.” The White House prefers the word “rescue.”

Those in charge believed that they would be in a better situation if this were known as a “rescue” rather than a “bailout.” Bailout sounds terrible. Rescue is safe. It gives you a warm feeling — like coming to while on the operating table.

And then Senator McCain got on the framing bandwagon and said, “Well I think what happened is we didn’t convince enough Republicans and Democrats…that this was a rescue package and not a bailout.” Convincing and persuasion was in order because face value wasn’t good enough.

I watched a bit of the CSPAN, the CNN, the FOX and the MSNBC while this was going down, as much as I could handle, and mainly from the perspective of, who’s being more persuasive in this deal. (CSPAN wins because they have no pundits at all.)

Problem is, this is so complicated that you have to be an economist or financial advisor or banking expert to understand it. It’s enough to make the common man’s eyes gloss over except for the fact that the taxpayer wasn’t having it because it was coming out of their pocket.

And now that there’s been a “rescue” (not that we the people have been rescued, but that big banks and such have been rescued), it seems like it’s not gotten any easier to understand.

The frame stuck, however, that this had to happen. The frame was that if it didn’t happen, the world would crumble starting with “Main Street”. The frame was that there was no way for the market to correct itself. The frame was that socializing the banks (in my opinion this is a form of socialism), was the only way for us not to head into a tailspin.

The real problem isn’t in the framing of this. The real problem isn’t the persuasiveness or lack thereof of the parties involved. The problem with this plan is not that it has been improperly spun. The real problem is that it won’t fix the crisis.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Framing the Question

By Building Rapport, Eliciting Criteria, Framing 1 Comment

Hi Persuader,

Try this: I’m sure you’ll get it real quick but because you’re all such good folks out there, I want you to spell the word ‘folk’ three times. Do it right now in your mind. Spell the word ‘folk’ three times as fast as you can.

Now what do you call the white part of an egg?

Did you say yolk? Really?

Are you asking your prospects the right questions to get to their deepest values and criteria? When we elicit criteria, if we’re doing it right, our prospects don’t understand what they are really giving us.

So how can we make the most of each question we ask? An extremely important thing to remember is that the questions cause the answer. What does that mean? It means that as we learn to better ask the question, we’re going to be a lot better at making persuasion happen.

If I were to look at you as a brand new client, and you’ve never bought anything from me before and let’s say I’m an advisor and I’m there to help you with wealth planning throughout your generations and I say, “Would you just tell me the two or three things that you need to hear me say today to make you buy? Just tell me so that we can get this part out of the way. Go ahead. I’m listening.”

What would happen? That’s right. Nothing. They’d probably either tell you to leave or they’d get up and walk out. Yet magically, when we elicit their criteria, they gladly give that very same information to us.

Why? Well, to an extent, it’s disguised.

Your prospect does not understand what they’re giving you when you ask this way. They don’t get it. Once in a blue moon you’ll find someone giving you resistance to this, but it doesn’t happen often.

Even if they did understand what they were giving us, it is socially correct and absolutely acceptable to find out what they need prior to recommending a product or service. Doctors don’t just prescribe medicine prior to finding out about your history, finding out if you have allergies or without finding out why you’re there to see them. Neither do consultants, lawyers, or sales people. We simply cannot give people any recommendation if we don’t know what they want or need.

Here’s the point and this is important: we’re setting people’s minds up so that we can enter them and we can get them to do what we want them to do. We can set them going along a direction that when we interrupt that direction, we can cause them to immediately, as if it was always so, go along with what we’re saying. (What’s the white part of an egg called?)

When I ask you ‘what’s important about X?’ or ‘if I were a magician and I had a magic wand and I could wave it and get you anything in business you want, what would it be?’ I’m listening very intently for where you have the strongest emotional reaction to one of the words that you’re saying.

We’re opening the people’s minds. We’re opening them to their own desires, to their own things.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Obstacles into Opportunities

By Framing, Self Persuasion 2 Comments

It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.“ —Eric Hoffer

Hi Persuader,

I had a teacher who was relentlessly optimistic and positive about everything. As a teenager, it sort of bugged me because. . . .well, because I was a teenager and teenagers are seldom relentlessly optimistic or positive. Everything “bad” could be turned into something “good” according to this teacher. Setbacks and obstacles were learning experiences. Crushes gone bad and broken hearts were just a preparation for really clarifying what we wanted in a mate. Struggles with certain subjects in school became self challenges that we could, by all means, triumph over.

Ugh. It really annoyed me.

Now, as an adult, and a parent of teenagers (who happen not to be pessimists or negative), I realize that she was 100%, absolutely correct.

We get into these ruts. . . we get into these ways of thinking about things around us that keep us trapped. It’s the old cliché of the ‘glass half full/glass half empty’.

The events in your life are not what make you who you are, but it is your response to these events that show your true character. Lately I’ve been really exploring the idea that our emotions and emotional responses to external stimuli, are choices. Emotions are choices. That’s a revelation in some ways. It’s very freeing. I’m not connected to anger if I don’t want to be. I’m not responding with fear because I choose not to. I’m not choosing to be depressed about things I have no control over.

And if you notice, those last three statements are in the form of negative statements. Changing this pattern also requires that we pay careful and patient attention to the language we use. I am . . . I am choosing to be courageous. I am choosing to let this go. I am choosing to realize that I am separate from the things that happen around me.

What if just by readjusting our obstacles into opportunities, we attract more of what we want? What if it’s that simple? Wouldn’t it be worth it to suspend cynicism? Wouldn’t it be worth it to let go of the patterns that have kept us stagnant? I should think so.

I only wish I had learned this lesson earlier. Not that I was a depressed or pessimistic kid, but we all have moments. . . This reframing of struggle into potential and exciting lessons is exactly the kind of thing that we as persuaders can learn from. Framing and reframing our lives and the lives of those around us is absolutely mandatory if we want to succeed in persuasion. Helping others to see that the glass is half full, helping others to see how our products and services will benefit them immeasurably in life, helping our loved ones, our teenagers, to realize that every day we make the choice (many times unconsciously) to be unhappy, is a real revelation. Let’s make our choices consciously and use that consciousness for relentless optimism.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Historical Frames

By Framing 2 Comments

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.“ — Abraham H. Maslow

Hi Persuader,

In school, unless we had an alternative education, we were taught history through the eyes of the powerful and elite. We learned about Columbus’ voyage to discover the new world and what he encountered there. We learned all about the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence. We learned that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.

This is clearly an overly simplified description of a narrow overview, but I use these examples just to make a point. If we’re viewing history from the perspective of those in power, we’re not really viewing history, are we.

The frame that education uses, the frame mandated for public educational institutions, (funded by public money and which curriculum is determined by the “powers that be”), is a positive one, for the most part. Revising history is a work of fiction, ‘1984‘, and couldn’t possibly happen. But if you think about it, all history is revision.

I came across “The People’s History of the United States“. It’s a book that has been around for almost thirty years and continues to be updated as history continues to be move forward.

This book is a classic reframe and whether or not we can agree that the perspective is valid, or “Marxist” or “socialist”, we have to agree that it is an entirely different frame from what we’re used to.

Look at Columbus’ “discovery” from the perspective of the people who were already there: genocide and blankets with small pox.

And how about those cute Thanksgiving pilgrims that we regard as fleeing religious persecution and bravely venturing onto the New World. The natives might see this as more of a violent colonization by early English settlers.

There’s a fascinating reframe at the end of the most recent edition regarding the “War on Terror”. Instead of accepting the perspective, the frame that Arab terrorists attacked us on 9/11 because they hate our freedom, think about this: they were fed up with our foreign policy, our “stationing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia… sanctions against Iraq which… had resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children; [and] the continued U.S. support of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.”

Huh? That’s not what the news tells us. Why hasn’t this perspective been reported?

Frames are complicated, just as reality is complicated, just as life is complicated, but if we can see the frames for what they are, then we can control them.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Reframing With Authority: He or She Who Sets the Best Frame, Wins

By Framing 2 Comments

Hi Persuader,

Has this ever happened to you? You’re driving down the freeway, maybe a little too fast, maybe not, and those red and blue lights begin to flash in your rearview mirror. So you pull over and prepare your papers. . . license, registration, proof of insurance. And the law enforcement officer makes his way to your window, quickly so as to not waste your time, and politely says, ‘Hi. . .I’m just wondering if you . . .I’m so sorry to bother you. But would you mind showing me your license and registration? I think there might have been a slight infraction of the law and I’d really like to clear it up if you don’t mind. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.’

Umm. . . No, that hasn’t happened to you. And it will never happen to you. Why? Law enforcement officers don’t care about your convenience or worry about offending you. It’s not the frame within which they are operating. Their frame is, ‘I’m in charge. You do what I tell you to do. I have all the power in this interaction and I have absolutely no problem using this power in any way I see fit.’

Maybe not all officers are that extreme but I’m exaggerating a little to make my point.

The frames we set for ourselves and our exchanges with others are what color every business transaction and every romantic or personal interaction we have. Whoever sets the stronger frame, wins.

This doesn’t mean we have to pull power trips on people. Absolutely not. This simply means that when we come to the table, we have to have our resolve strong and our place in the negotiations set. I’m not going to approach a potential new student with, ‘Well, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to give you a little advice to help learn persuasion and how to increase sales. . .’ Heck no! First of all, I know full and well that I’m absolutely certain I can teach anyone to increase sales through persuasion. There’s no beating around the bush. I’m not shy about these things. How good a persuader would I be if I were shy about my ability to help people?

Framing is what we use to control everything. If we extend that and look at what that means, in any area of our life, there are frames that are operating and those frames are dictating our behavior, our responses and the way in which the interaction takes place.

We have the frame of the sales person and the perspective client. One frame that operates is, ‘Prove to me why I need you or why I should use you.’ That might be a frame that the client is coming from. A frame that the advisor might adopt might be, ‘I am the expert in this field and so I work with people who understand that and can take advantage of what I tell them.’

But supposing you came from the frame of, ‘I’m really not anybody. I’m just kind of trying to survive here. I don’t know a whole lot, really. I just sort of represent a couple of companies that years ago, I guess I somehow lucked into my license and I represent a couple of companies that have a few things available and maybe there’s something you want.’

Am I going to sign up with that guy? No. No one is.

Before your next meeting take some time to think about the framework you’re using to work with the people around you.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

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