Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Persuasion

I was tempted to call this post "manipulation"; but these are things that many people do instinctively, or perhaps simply due to subconsciously copying someone. I seem to be more consciously aware of behaviours and I choose the appropriate behaviour for the situation – this means I will use the best behaviour I know to achieve what I want. In which case, is it really fair to say I am manipulative?

I distinctly remember when I was about 14 I read that people with more animated faces were trusted and liked more. This ties in with the theory I've touched on in emotions1 and emotions2 that a show of emotion is trusted for evolved reasons because it is hard to fake – and an animated face is more emotionally expressive. Any time I have come across other actual scientific studies that I can incorporate into my behaviour I have tried to do so – I will choose the appropriate facial animation, vocal inflections, and general body language to appear open. Body language is a big topic and requires practice to be able to [apparently] naturally pace with the person you are talking to in order to create a rapport. There are some general things even beginners should look to do such as leg crossing direction, showing the palms of hands when making a point, and awareness of personal space.


The way we use language is also incredibly powerful, as evidenced most obviously by hypnosis and the sort of persuasion skill shown by Derren Brown.
You don't have to hypnotise someone to get them to do something, and here are some of the ways to change people's behaviour that have been proven to work and I think are most common or easy to incorporate into your everyday life:
  1. Double binds – create the illusion of giving someone a choice whereas both options you have given elicit the desired behaviour. For example, a mother may say to her child, "would you like to tidy your room before or after your dinner?"
  2. Barnem statements are seemingly specific (personal) but actually apply to nearly everyone, e.g. "you have a creative streak that you aren't always able to indulge in". You can use the same types of statements to create a fast rapport with someone you've just met.
  3. As discussed on another blog recently, calling someone by their desired status elicits behaviour to reinforce it. E.g. referring to someone as 'friend/buddy' will enforce their perception of you as a friend. Calling your boss 'boss/chief' will give them a bit of an ego boost and help them to feel like you are a compliant employee even if the evidence suggests otherwise.
  4. Providing a reason for a request will vastly increase the compliance rate even if the reason is complete rubbish. For example, when trying to push in at a queue for a photocopier with "Excuse me, could I jump the line?" you will be let in approx 24% of the time. Changing it to "Excuse me, could I jump the line because I need to make copies?" increases this to 93%.  Always add "...because xxx" to every request you make.
  5. Don't just request someone do something, get them to declare they will do it.  A restaurant that had a 30% no-show rate for bookings reduced this to 10% by changing from "...let us know if you can't make the booking" to "...you will let us know if you can't make the booking, won't you?" and getting the response "yes".
There are also a few more subtle techniques that aren't purely bodylanguage or verbal. 
One I've been practicing recently was referred to as compensatory ethics by TNP, and is essentially the idea that people have a moral view of themselves that they like to remain balanced. If they do something they aren't particularly proud of then they become much more likely to do a good deed soon after. Looking out for a good time to ask a favour, or creating it by subtly reminding someone of their less than perfect behaviour, will vastly increase your compliance rate.

Asking for a small action that creates the right way of someone viewing themselves will make them then more likely to agree to a much larger request – because they have already thought of themselves as that sort of person. E.g. If you want someone to organise a holiday, then get them to organise a small night out. Soon after suggest to them to organise the holiday – they think of themselves as an organisor and will be much more receptive.

There are many many more little techniques to change people's behaviour/response, but this post is already too long and I don't wanna give away all my secrets! :)

Always be aware of the language and techniques used by other people, religions, and advertisers.  There is always more to learn, and books on body language and neuro-linguistic programming are good places to start.

23 comments:

Haven said...

I'm finding this kind of advice more and more useful. Leads to a greater sense of control which is something I need in my life. Thanks =)

LigerLily said...

so fascinating!

TheNotablePath said...

It's always best to plant an idea into someone's head and let them think it was their own. They do all the work for you and think they're a goddamn genius. Works like a charm.

ResCogitans said...

haven, i'm sure you've encountered CBT and possibly NLP - what was your take on that?

Haven said...

CBP and NLP don't work on me.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: There's so many reasons this isn't enough for someone like me because I don't internalize much for long, but it is pretty effective for non-beepers. Part of my problem with this is cognitively I already know what my issues are, how I respond, and what causes my response (generally, still working through this), but I can't connect the knowing and the feeling in order for the two to be effective. For people that have an actual connection between their cognition and their emotions CBT is very effective in re-programming how people think and act in the world. When you are repeatedly exposed to certain techniques of behavior over and over for a length of time they do become ingrained for most people.


Neuro-Linguistic Programming: This is kind of CBT Light as far as I know. Never really had experience with this as a prime focus as I largely ignore these kinds of techniques. Talking to me, telling me how to talk to other people is pretty intuitive. You can show us how normal people interact all you want, that doesn't change the fact that we don't function that way. This also (like CBT) acts on the principle that if you WANT to change you CAN change your behavior. Unfortunately for someone with BPD it's something ingrained in our basic make-up, not just learned from environment (though this is a part). We can mimic what's going on, but it isn't enough to make it our natural state. Unless I feel it's appropriate, I just don't care. Better off with Buddhist philosophy and meditation.


I suppose both systems over time with a specific focus on BPD might produce some results. CBT hasn't done much for me though. Norms are much more susceptible to this kind of influence.

Haven said...

I should add... It's not for lack of wanting that these don't work. I do want to change and heal. I need the disconnect, the dissociation, to be corrected first, and these don't really do much for that.

So while I may walk and talk like a norm somedays, my immediate responses are emotional and I have to restrain my responses so I don't lash out. Mimicing doesn't make it real though.

Kelly said...

It's easy to manipulate some people more than others, I believe. I enjoyed the explanations of the tricks you provided here. Interesting post as usual, GOOD BUDDY. Haha... Had to throw that 'gb' in towards the last.

Ana said...

it's not easy to apply these techniques so consciously... haha

because I am introverted and conscious of my actions and emotions, I am able to observe and interpret people and I have some notion of persuasion, but i'm not able to do it purposely, although I notice people are very malleable. these techniques make sense and are something amusing to explore :]

Haven said...

idk, I don't think a lot of these are hard to apply. I do some variations of many of them already.

My manipulations tend to be more overt hah, but not in the traditionally manifested ways that are considered manipulation.

I love tn said...

"You don't have to hypnotise someone..." But it really is a lot of fun.

ResCogitans said...

when you really start to notice how malleable people are then it encourages you to see people as sheeple. to see them as objects or playthings to move around your social chessboard...


haven, thanks for sharing - i hadn't really thought about how effective CBT/NLP etc may be on different non-NTs compared to NTs. though i thought CBT was almost the therapy of choice for BPD...

tn, i've read several books on it but no-one seems to be willing to let me practise on them :(

Haven said...

CBT is used for BPD, but not on it's own. Personally I think it's practically useless if it's the only method used for us. It's like word (techniques) of wisdom. I can hear them and be like, "this is amazing, it totally applies, this will really help my life!" and then 10 minutes later I forget about it b/c I can't interalize any of it. If I don't do my therapy homework right away, I usually forget to do it at all until 10 minutes before I need to be there. CBT is kind of like a quick(er) fix for people that just need an attitude change.

For instance, my therapist does use CBT, however it's in conjuction with Schematherapy and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). DBT is actually the leading therapeutic technique for borderline currently.

DBT is a more intensive therapy specifically designed for those problems that BPD has. From the get go focuses on the long term and all the crap we need to get through before real behavioral changes can be made. Bleh.

Jay Reid said...

Fascinating stuff, I've been interested in body language and the art of suggestion for a long time. I am a self-hypnosis practitioner, so am very familiar with the type of language used. Thanks.

G said...

Cool and interesting post...
My GF is trained in NLP and accuses me of being a natural manipulator in work lol...

Ana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ana said...

@haven
yes I support what you say; in some way I also do them (body language, phrasing differently...).
it comes naturally, I don't do that in a pejorative way of manipulating the other person.

I love tn said...

Oh I know, apparently the don't want you "poking around inside their head". They don't seem to realise you're doing it most of the time anyway...

Haven said...

Res, I'd let you hypnotize me. You can't really fuck me up any more than I already am =)

ResCogitans said...

the job of hypnotherapist really appeals to me - self employed, delving into people's minds and fixing(/messing with) them.
i made a 40min long hypnosis mp3 for my BPD ex at one point but that was all - she would never let me at her mind in real time ;)

ana, on the one hand being aware of them in people around you and being able to chose to do them in real time situations is a great asset in life. on the other hand, when you are constantly aware of it and can't turn off that awareness it can become quite tiring...

Ana said...

right on; can't turn off and it exhausts me.

notme said...

i'm with Haven. I'd love to be hypnotised. Res, I'll give you my digits. ;)

notme said...

Hey Res, since you're one of the resident scientists, I wanna ask a question. What is happening physically when someone's face literally lights up when they see you? This is an actual physical change and I want to know how this happens and if it's something that you can induce deliberately in your face or if it's always involuntary.

Let me know. Weird question but it's one of the subtle things I notice.

ResCogitans said...

if someone is feeling neutral/low and then sees you and they are very happy to see you then a few things happen:
they physically lift their head up or turn towards you - which is likely to make more light fall on their face.
facial muscles make them look emotionally brighter.
they open their eyes wider, which will show more whites of their eyes which will further increase the impression of the face lighting up.

you'd like to be hypnotised? you're in london, yes? i'll let you know next time i'm passing through ;)