I remember once reading about a survey done on about 1,000 millionaires (most self-made) to see what success- driving characteristics they had in common. When asked what was the single most important contributor to their success, the majority of millionaires said it was their “ability to deal with people”.
It wasn’t their education, upbringing, talent, persistence or experience. It was their ability to effectively connect with others. And being persuasive is simply “dealing with and convincing people to do what you want them to do”. Think about it. The most successful people in the world - at some point in their lives - had to persuade someone else to either believe in their product, capability, knowledge, decision making process, etc.
Donald Trump would own no real estate if he didn’t persuade a bank to lend him money. Donald Trump by the way, could be viewed as a bad business man if he were judged solely on some aspects of track record. And there are much smarter and more effective business men in this world but Trump has created such an influential persona that people just associate him with success and “good business”.
Oprah Winfrey would have no TV show if she wasn’t able to persuade the producers to give her one. Robert Kyosaki would have never sold one copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad if he had not persuaded someone to publish it and furthermore, persuade the people reading it that he knew what he was talking about.
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg would have never created the tech monsters that rule the world at the levels that they do nowadays if they didn’t understand the the elements of influence and how they work. The funny thing is that many people take this aspect of life for granted. They either underestimate it’s power or they don’t even acknowledge it at all. But the fact of the matter is that it will not only amplify everything you do in life, it’s a natural part of life, period.
Nearly every aspect of human life involves influence on one level or another. You wake up in the morning in the place where you live – someone persuaded you either to rent or purchase that place. You get in your car – which someone persuaded you to buy. You drive to work – a job that you persuaded someone to believe that you deserve. You go to lunch – a place that you were persuaded on one level or another to believe that the food is good. You go home to your significant other – who persuaded you to believe that they are a good match for you.
that you deserve. You go to lunch – a place that you were persuaded on one level or another to believe that the food is good. You go home to your significant other – who persuaded you to believe that they are a good match for you.
What is it that you want to change or improve about your life? And what aspects of your life do you dedicate time toward improving?
Regardless of what it is in your life that you want to improve on or become better at, enhancing your ability to be more persuasive is essential toward ensuring success on your journey.
The Truth About How “Logical” You Are
As human beings, we would like to think that when we make decisions, we scrutinize and evaluate the information that we’re given and then ultimately make a logical decision based on our evaluation. In reality however, nothing could be further from the truth. Human beings very rarely make decisions that way; most of the time our decision-making process takes place without us even realizing it. This is because when living in the in the age of information, there is just not enough time for anyone to really evaluate every single piece of information that comes our way and then decide what we’re going to do with it.
Let's face it, thinking is hard work. We have to think about we’re going to wear to work, what to do at work, what we’re going to do with our lives, how we are going to get what we want from our children, what to make for dinner, what our futures will be like, what our children's future is going to be like, etc. That’s a lot to take in. There are so many things in life to think about that to consciously ponder every single decision that you're going to make is almost impossible. So instead, what we have are mental short-cuts that we use to dissect all of this information and make rapid decisions. These short-cuts appear in the form of preconceived ideas about what we believe or how we believe certain things should be. When we come across something that involves making a decision, we subconsciously cross-reference it with all the preconceived notions and beliefs that we have and then make a decision. This is why human beings are generally susceptible to the mental triggers that I'm going to speak about here. Activating these mental triggers takes place on a subconscious level which means that when people respond to the triggers, they don't even realize that they're doing it.
Triggers Of Mind Control
It is now time to explore the triggers of influence. These triggers are sometimes called the laws of influence because they have been proven time and time again to work. The triggers consist of various tactics that have been shown to result in the majority of people whom they are practiced on to behave in a certain way
The first trigger is known as the obligation trigger. Many years ago, when Dr. Robert Cialdini, - whom I consider to be the "godfather” of influence - was beginning his psychological research to really determine what makes people think and act in a certain way, one of the essential aspects that he touched upon was the reciprocity factor. People generally feel obligated to return favors or good deeds that have been done to them by others. What this means is that if youdo something good for someone, chances are they will feel indebted to you and want to return the favor. This is a technique that has been used for thousands of years. Even in ancient times when people didn't have money and barter was the general method of exchange among people, using reciprocity was just as popular then at as it is now. We see this many times in sales. I've been a salesman for practically my entire life. Most of the selling that I did was in the fitness industry. When someone would enter the club asking about membership information, the first thing I would do is offer the prospect of free bottle of water. This instantly sends a subconscious reciprocation trigger to the prospect causing them to feel obligated to history with and/or have never done anything with. But when they smile at us, we automatically fill indebted to smile back at them. There have been many multimillion dollar negotiations that began with one party bringing a gift to the meeting and presenting it to the other party before the negotiation even begins. This is a goodwill gesture, which sends a message into the mind of the other party that you’re here for a win-win and you want all parties to benefit. This lowers the resistance of the other party and makes them more receptive to whatever you have to say. It also creates a feeling of obligation within. Just as people feel naturally obliged to return favors, they also feel very uneasy if they don't return favors or if favors are not returned to them. The reciprocity or obligation trigger is nothing new and has been used for thousands of years. The key to making it work is knowing what to offer and ensuring that it will be on the same level of what you expect in return. I've seen countless people try to apply the obligation trigger only to have it not work because the other party had different idea or viewpoint about whatever was contributed to them. Always make sure you’re on the same level as your target.me in some way, shape or form. And in most cases, the way that the prospect returned the favor was by purchasing my product or service. Now I'm not saying that by simply giving the prospect a bottle of water or a gift of some sort, will always result in a sale. But the likelihood of you making the sale increases dramatically when you do. There's an old saying that says smiles are contagious; meaning that when someone smiles at us, we smile back. This is the obligation trigger in the rawest of forms. Many times, we receive smiles from people that we don't even know or that we have now.
The next trigger that I want to talk about is the contrast trigger. And what the contrast trigger shows us is that something always looks different when compared to something else. This is often why you will see a price tag on a retail item that has been crossed out with a lower price. Imagine walking into a store to buy a pair of jeans that you have been looking for. You have been debating about whether or not you really want to spend the money on another pair of jeans but you’ve convinced yourself that you need them and you’ll probably buy them if you can find them “at the right price”. You find the jeans in your size and look at the price tag which says $79. You begin to wonder if the $79 is the right price. Now imagine if that same thing had happened again only this time the price tag said $110 slashed down to $79. Now, compared to the $110 price tag, the $79 seems like a good deal but in reality it’s the same price. The only thing that changed was your perception once it was compared to something else. This is the contrast trigger in action. We see this in sales all the time. We make a presentation, and when we get to the price point we always set a higher price which becomes discounted down to a lower price so the prospect feels like they are getting a deal. If I'm selling you something for $50, and I presented it at $50 you will look at that figure and think for a few seconds about what that figure means to you based on previous experience, values and general beliefs. You will then decide whether or not $50 is - in your opinion - a lot of money. But if I presented the product to you and told you that it costs $300, but you could get it for $50, that product instantly appears more valuable to you. That's how the trigger of contrast works. You take something, compare it to something else and you instantly change the perception of what you are presenting to other people.
Many real estate agents use the trigger contrast when trying to sell homes. They will purposely show a prospect or a potential home buyer a house that is falling apart prior to showing them the house that they really want to sell them. When the prospect sees the second house, it instantaneously looks more glamorous and better maintained than the first house. This again, ties into the fact that people need to use mental shortcuts when making decisions as we very rarely have the time to assess and logically make a decision. We need to cross-reference whatever we’re being presented with now to whatever we've been presented with in the past. Generally speaking, if whatever we’re being presented with now seems better or equal to something we were presented with in the past, we will take action to obtain it. If it seems worse, we will not.
The next trigger of control that I want to talk about is the internal conflict trigger. As humans, we feel the need to act in accordance with our core beliefs and values. In other words, it is very difficult for us to behave or act in a way that is different from what we really believe deep down in our hearts. A researcher at Stanford University formulated something called the cognitive dissonance theory. In his own words, he stated when our actions conflict with our attitudes or beliefs; we become uncomfortable and motivated to try to change. The method by which the internal conflict trigger works is by leveraging the fact that people tend to act in a manner that is congruent to their beliefs and values. When we act in a way that is different than what our values and beliefs represent, we find ourselves in a state of discomfort. Acting in a way that is not consistent with your core beliefs and values can produce anxiety, negative emotions and all-around feelings of general discomfort. It creates an immense amount of tension within us, and an overall feeling of being off balanced. Human beings like balance and we will do just about anything to achieve it and relieve ourselves from internal discomfort or uneasiness that is caused when we act differently than what we believe is right. When we experience this internal conflict that I speak of, we don't like it and we will do whatever it takes to experience balance once again.
“The link that exists between others can be enough to create the emotional need to act”.
The next mental trigger that we’re going to talk about is the connection trigger. The link that exists between others can sometimes be enough to create the emotional need for someone to take action. Have you ever met someone for the first time and within mere moments you feel an instant connection to this person? It's almost as if you have known them your entire life. This connection to the other person makes their ability to persuade you stronger than someone that does not have that connection. Connection is an extremely powerful thing, and the reason for that is because connection is centered on emotion. And when the emotion is strong enough, it can propel a person to do just about anything.
“We believe that if it worked before, it will probably work again”.
Next we are going to talk about the proof trigger. While emotion is what will ultimately get someone to take action, it is perceived logic that will open up the possibility of them taking action in the first place. One of the biggest ways that we exercise logic- or at least what we believe to be logic - is by taking a look at what other people have done and the results they’ve experienced. This method of looking for proof does two things: First, it shows us that a certain method of doing things is effective and second, it makes us feel the method is widely accepted so it must be correct. Each and every one of us wants to fit in, wants to belong and wants to be part of a certain social group. It is human nature to feel this way and that’s why often times, we want to see what the majority of people have done in certain situations. In most cases, we will assume that if enough people did something, it must be the logical or correct way of doing things.
“The less available something becomes, the more people want it”.
Scarcity is the method used to create urgency so that someone will take action. Ultimately, we can make the greatest presentation in the world as to why someone should comply with our request and they can logically and emotionally agree with everything that we have presented. Still however, they need a reason to act now and the scarcity trigger is the most effective trigger that you can use to get someone to take action immediately. It is human nature to always find something more appealing and interesting when the odds of getting your hands on it are less likely. We see this in the dating world all the time. The challenge of courting someone who is not always available seems to be something that people find themselves to be obsessed with. In most cases when a person shows all of their cards and becomes readily available, the spell becomes broken and there is no longer an element of surprise. Whenever our choices become inhibited, limited or lessened we become more likely to desire those choices on a stronger level. Scarcity can make any product seem more valuable and interesting. It makes people take action immediately because they do not want to take a loss. Loss in general, is a feeling that most people try to avoid. From as far back as childhood, the minute we are told we cannot have something, we simply want it more. The reason for this is because the minute we feel there is a potential to lose something, we begin the thought process of how we can stop that from happening. This is called preventative action. And the key word is action. Whatever our reasons may be for doing it, we begin to take action and that is ultimately what you want the other party to do when trying to influence them.
“Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”.
Sometimes it is not what you're saying to someone, but the way that you're saying that will impact them and cause them to take action. Your message can be perceived in various ways depending on your verbiage.
“People generally act in way that other people expect them to”.
As individuals, we can sometimes make decisions and behave based upon how others expect us to. This is known as the impact of suggestion in general and it holds true for behaviors that are both positive and negative. We tend to fill the expectations that people have about us. We all want to be admired, liked and respected. And in our minds, if we can fulfill people's expectations, we believe they will like us more. This can work both positively and negatively. If you constantly expect a person to act in a bad way, chances are they will eventually take you up on your assumptions.
“People usually follow through on commitments, especially when they are public”.
I spoke about the power of commitments earlier but to piggy back on the concept of anchoring, they key is to always have people link positive feelings to you and always allow them to own the decision to commit. Regardless of how much positive emotion they have linked to you, the reality is people will regret their decision to commit if they feel that it wasn’t their decision. Realize that people are constantly moving back and forth between the conscious, logical mind and their emotions, which are causing them to experience a multitude of feelings as you present your offer. The only way to stabilize them is to gain their commitment immediately and ensure that they understand that their decision was smart and favorable to them. Commitment is extremely powerful. In most cultures, people who do not follow through on their commitments are frowned upon. And what's so great about this is that it is public knowledge, so no one ever wants to be placed in that category. In fact, when people even begin to think about not following through on their commitments, they begin to feel very uneasy inside. That is why it is essential to gain commitments from people as soon as possible, and the more public those commitments are, the more powerful they are. The first commitment or form of compliance is the most important but it is also the most difficult to obtain.
NLP: Quick Start Basics
Welcome to NLP Quick Start Steps. NLP is a powerful body of knowledge that can improve your life in many ways. I’m especially interested in showing you how you can use it to improve your communication skills.
By reading people, creating rapport and adjusting the way you (and others) see things the possibilities for positive influence are endless. Only Caveat: NLP can be overwhelming and difficult to grasp. My goal in everything I teach is to make it as “digestible” as possible for you.
That’s the purpose of this blog. It’s to give you some basic knowledge on NLP and how you can start using the techniques right away without getting lost in the jargon. That being said, should you decide that you want to take your knowledge to the mastery level, then you should check out my complete training - Paramount NLP.
What is NLP
An acronym for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP is an approach in which one’s pattern of mental and emotional behavior is changed by self-awareness and effective communication. NLP was founded by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who felt that it would be a useful technique in allowing people to have more fulfilled and better lives.
The name comes from the idea that both neurological processes, or “neuro” processes, and language, or “linguistic” and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience (referred to as “programming”) could be organized to achieve specific goals. Originally, it was developed for therapeutic purposes, but now many people and businesses are using it to their advantage.
It’s not hard to understand why. If you can understand how a person uses their mind you can then leverage that knowledge to influence them. You can also use it to help improve their life as well as yours.
NLP is a now considered a complete science. It began as a study of the human mind. The main purpose was to help people to use their mind in a way that would serve them positively.
Let me explain the basis of how this works. There are some set experiences in people’s mind such as sounds and colors. Original research focused how changing one or all the components or experiences of people would impact their emotional mindset. So, they attempted to develop a strategy that would allow someone to get rid of intense emotional behavior which could have been caused by unpleasant experiences in life.
NLP is also helpful for increasing self-confidence, developing public speaking skills, improving communication skills and a wide array of other things.
The term ‘Neuro’ is associated with the individual neurological system that is filtering millions of bytes of data using the nervous system receptors, or the senses. These systems filter the data that we receive to form what we call internal representations. They include images, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells which all constitute our conscious experience of the world. In the filtering process, delations occur as these internal sensory representations form an internal sensory “map” of the world as it is perceived by that person, which differs from the world as it actually is. Beliefs and values act as further psychological filters of the internal representations to form a further perceptual map.
‘Linguistic’ refers to the process by which the filtered internal representations are re-represented and given conscious meaning through the use of language.
‘Programming’ describes the automatic patterns of personal behavior that are triggered by internal representations and language. NLP practitioners use the analogy of the brain as a computer that is programmed, and can be re-programmed, to run selected behavioral patterns.
Basic NLP concepts can be divided into:
• Rapport building
• NLP Submodalities
• Eye accessing cues
• Perceptual Positions
• Representational Systems
• Meta Model
Anchoring is one of NLP's central concepts. An anchor is the situation in which two separate events get tied together in a person's mind so that when one of the events occurs the second event is remembered or recalled automatically by their subconscious mind.
This happens all the time when we listen to music or eat certain foods. You hear a song or taste a food that instantly causes you remember a certain time in your past when you listened to the song or ate the food.
Have you ever been to a foreign country where everyone is speaking a different language and then you suddenly find someone speaking your native language?
Rapport building is and NLP technique that can make other people have the same feelings towards you much like the feelings you had towards that person you met abroad.
Establishing rapport is based on making the other person feel that there is something common between you and them. This causes that person to feel comfortable engaging with you.
Reframing is the process of changing the perception of a situation in such a way that you see it positively rather than seeing it negatively.
It’s called reframing because just as the frame of a picture helps you see the picture, the frame you put around a situation allows you to see the situation in a different way. The following are examples of reframing which will make the concept more clear.
If you asked a group of people to imagine a picture of a dog in their minds, what kind of image are they going to see? Will it be colored or black and white? Will the mental image be close or far? Will the dog be still or will it be moving? Will the dog be looking friendly or will it be wild?
If you did that you will find that no two people will give the same answer. Each one of us stores the attributes of an object differently depending on what the object represents for us. For example, if someone fears dogs then they will rarely imagine a calm sleeping dog but instead they might imagine a dog that is ready to attack.
Eye Accessing Cues
Have you ever noticed that people's eyes move in different directions when being asked a question? Research has shown that there is a connection between the thought process of a person and the direction of their eyes. The six possible directions that the eye can go to are upper right ,upper left, and middle right , middle left , lower right and lower left .
Each direction represents a different function that takes place inside the mind.
The following concepts can be very useful in knowing whether someone is telling the truth or whether they are lying to you. Asking someone about the color of their car should cause their eyes to move to the upper right (visual remembering ). If the eye went to the direction of visual construction instead then they may be constructing images instead of remembering them. the truth may be that they don’t even have a car.
CAUTION: Note that using this method for detecting whether someone is lying or not is very risky. There are some things you should be aware of before you use such a method for detecting deception. Below is a list of guidelines you should stick to if you are going to use this method for "liar detection" so that you don't find that everyone around you is a liar:
Since every person has their own perception of the same events sometimes it’s useful to take a look at those events from a perspective that is different than yours. NLP defines those perspectives as Perceptual Positions and divided them into the following three categories:
First Position: This is the normal perspective that you regularly use. It is seeing the situation from your own perspective .
Second Position: The second position is the perspective of the other person involved with you in the same situation. In order to get more insight about how they the situation you must step into their shoes and think as if you were them. Forget about all of your needs and think about their needs. Forget about yourself and think as if you were them
Third Position: The third position is the position of a third person who is not involved in the same situation. For example if you had a fight with someone else then the third person might be a bystander who was watching you.
Each one of us has our own internal representation system that we use when we think of something. Some of us use visual images while thinking. Others may use sounds while a third group may think based on their emotions.
In Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP, there are three recognized representational systems which include visual auditory and kinesthetic.
Visual people relate to the world generally by the way they see things. When they speak, they will use terms like “I see, what you’re saying” or “I can see why you would think that way”. Visual people are also very concerned with their appearance, and they work better when following directions that are clearly written down. When trying to influence a visual thinker, your best bet is to provide them with written documentation in the form of directions, proof or a general explanation of what you’re speaking about.
Next on the list are auditory people. Auditory people assimilate information by tuning in or listening to clearly hear what it is that they are being told. They also enjoy talking with others and conversation is something that they find very interesting. For auditory people their world is represented by sound, therefore, to get their attention and engage them, you must say something that sounds very appealing to them
The third type of representational system is called kinesthetic. People who fall into this category relate to the world, make decisions and behave based upon the way something feels to them. You could call them touchy-feely people. They relate to both touch and motion. Kinesthetic people assimilate information through their sense of touch. And because of this, they are very skilled in certain areas. As an example, they are typically known to acquire a physical skill faster than the average person.
We all use metaphors while speaking either in the form of phrases that we say or in the form of a stories that we tell. When you use a metaphor you access certain values in your brain based on your background, culture and belief system. This information becomes loaded into your brain and so may impact the decisions or choices made at that time.
The same happens when you use a metaphor when talking to someone else. This person also accesses a certain part of their mind based on the metaphor you used. By selecting the metaphors you use you can let the person you are talking to load certain information into their mind and so essentially control their behavior and choices to a certain extent.
Inner conflict often occurs when a person has two similar yet contrasting “towards” values and “away from” values. For example, a person may be extremely fearful of being poor because he had been poor since he was young. He has a strong “away from poverty” value that he keeps at the very center of his mindset.
On the other hand, he also has a positive/affirmative “towards” value: “I want to be wealthy”. To many people, these two values are the same because the perceived end is also the same. But in reality, the subconscious mind is really getting a very conflicting message. Poverty is central to the person’s thinking and yet, he also wants wealth. This is a very problematic situation because the subconscious mind will transform the negative value into a positive one (“I want to be poor”) and it will attempt to pursue both values to the detriment of the person. It is obvious that in such cases, the “away from” value must be removed to improve the person’s chances of success.
The Meta Model
The Meta model is one of the very useful tools that can be used in communication because it counters the effect of Deletions, Distortions and Generalizations that people usually make while communicating. The Meta model is sometimes referred to as a Meta language because it involves changing the way you use the language in order to communicate more effectively.
The Meta model involves being more specific in order to prove to others that their filters have changed their real experiences. Let’s take the three examples mentioned above and see how can you can ask questions using the Meta model in order to deal with them:
Credibility is probably the biggest driving factor in your ability to influence. If people perceive you as credible, they will be open to your beliefs, values, opinions and what you have to say.
So what exactly is credibility made up of? Well, essentially, credibility is when six key factors come together and create your perceived ability to do whatever it is that you claim you're capable of.
The six components are competence, likeability expertise, composure, social ability, and trustworthiness.
Competence - If people don't believe that you're competent, ultimately; they will never believe that you can do what you say you can do or what you all are known for being able to do. Competence also has no relationship to having good values, morals or beliefs and is based on your expertise with your ability to execute a certain set of tasks.
PAY ATTENTION. THIS IS IMPORTANT:
Your true competence level and your perceived competence level are actually two different things. To become a master of influence you have to not only be competent, but you have to be able to have people perceive you as competent as well. After all, you could be the greatest lawyer in the world, but if you can't convey to people this fact, they will likely never give you their business. The first key is to covertly make your target aware of your competence in a certain
area. You must solidify your position as the expert in your field.
Likeability - Let’s face it, unless you are providing some unique piece of value that cannot be found anywhere else and the circumstances leave your subject with no other choice but to comply, if your subject doesn’t like you they probably won’t comply with you.
Expertise - Often times people are trusting in your expert knowledge in a certain area when it comes to gaining compliance. You need to actually have this expertise or your a fraud.
Sociability - While it’s true that there have been some powerful influencers that are anti-social, they are few and far between. Your ability to to socialize and engage with others is going to dictate how effective you are as an influencer.
Composure - You can have all of the attributes listed above but if you crack under pressure, you fail. You need to keep your composure when you are confronted with resistance.
Trustworthiness - Honestly, this is something that can’t really be taught. You’re either trustworthy or your not. If you’re not eventually it will catch up to you and you will have zero credibility. If you are (and you develop a reputation for being so) it may at some point be the only reason why someone does any kind of business with you if they know nothing else about you.
Eight Ways To Build Unshakable Credibility
1.) Be Likable - Your target will base his or her entire opinion of your expertise on this factor. It will make you appear trustworthy. Trustworthiness is a contributing factor to credibility
2.) Give Yourself Objections - During your presentation, your target is going to secretly be thinking of objections that go against the point of view that you're trying to make. If you openly bring them up and address them, you will ultimately bring his or her guard down. You're able to connect with his or her line of thinking and, at the same time, show that you've done your homework on the subject.
3.) Make Your Position Clear - People respect those who project higher positions. The position that you solidify for yourself can either be through your education, experience or your ability to get results. For example, medical doctors are more respected than orderlies, and those with Master’s degrees are more respected than people with GED's. However, if your educational level isn't something that is very high, it‟s important to focus on your results level. As an example, in major league sports, one‟s educational level means nothing. In that arena it is ability and results that mean everything. People don't care about the fact that Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees graduated from high school. They care about how many home runs he can hit every year.
4.) Master Articulation - When you're able to articulate your point and be a fluent communicator without stuttering or using words like “uh”, your perception of knowing what you're talking about becomes that much higher. I've even seen instances where people are making statements that are completely false, but because they can answer a question immediately and articulate a point, the target believes that they are correct. In the same respect, I've seen people who are extremely knowledgeable on a certain subject completely lose their audience because they either can't articulate their point or they can't answer questions fast enough.
5.) Provide Evidence - Any time you want to make a point that supports what you have to say show people where you're getting your data. This not only proves that you've taken the time to do your homework, it also intertwines the power of social validity with what you're saying.
6.) Be Humorous - Be careful on this one because not everyone‟s sense of humor is the same. If you can get your target to laugh, you will first become more likable; you will change the person‟s emotional state from wherever it was into that of happiness (which your target them less defensive and more open). It also demonstrates that while you've done your homework on a certain topic or you have an immense amount of expertise. You still are a person, which makes you relatable.
7.) Ask Questions - Questions are useful in many different ways. Aside from giving you the insights you need to know about the person you intend to persuade, they also strengthen your sociability because they are natural ice breakers and conversation starters.