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Archive for the ‘Persuasion’ Category

Lessons from the front line

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The Customer is Not Always Right is a blog written by people on the front lines of business: those responsible for interacting with the customer. It’s one of my favorite reads for a variety of reasons. Today there are a couple of good, quick NLP lessons:

There’s nothing more useful than a good story.

Written by Michael DeBusk

September 21st, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Business,Persuasion

Persuasive stuff from Psychology Today

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I don’t ordinarily pay much attention to Psychology Today magazine, but their RSS feed pointed me to a couple of articles on the basics of persuasion.:

Persuasion: Battle on the Car Lot:

How does a car salesman get you behind the wheel? By being a keen observer of human behavior—and not letting you say “no.”

Data Mine: From Persuasion to Impotence:

Bargaining techniques and making bad decisions: why smart women don’t want sugar daddies and how to avoid erectile dysfunction.

The second article is only partially about persuasion, but it has some good stuff about paraverbal and nonverbal framing. The rest of the article has to do with other good stuff. I especially appreciated the idea of group therapy for impotence (woohoo!) helping a man “hold his head up” <adolescent snicker> .

Written by Michael DeBusk

September 19th, 2008 at 11:49 am

Ticking off the pros

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She was really going off on the nurses, and they couldn’t get control of her. It can get scary for a psych nurse when a patient goes there… probably because they believe Torrey. I’ve never found the mentally ill to be any scarier than anyone else, so I guess I have an advantage. I got there within a minute of the call. All they wanted was for her to go be quiet in her room for a few minutes.

The patient, a textbook Borderline, was throwing a first-class tantrum. Keep in mind that a lot of therapists refuse to work with people who have her problem, and that most of the ones who will work with them don’t have much success. The great skill of Borderline Personality Disorder is Jerking People Around; they do it better than absolutely anybody.

One of the things a Borderline will do is, they’ll place you into one of two categories. You’re an angel or a demon. You can jump immediately from one category to the other, depending on whether or not you’re doing what the patient wants you to do. If you care at all, even a little, about the relationship, they will quickly condition you. It’s either amazing or sad to watch.

Nurses are taught to maintain a “professional distance” with patients. That tends to work with most, but the Borderlines will scream, “You don’t even care about me! You’re supposed to be nurses! Nurses are supposed to care about people!” (Yes, I learned a lot about double-binds from these situations.)

Personally, I think the key is that I care more about my opinion of myself than I care about anyone else’s opinion of me. Like me? Great! Don’t like me? That’s still OK. I like me.

I walked over to the ranting patient and asked her what was going on. After she got a sentence out, I shifted my stance to mirror hers. Then I started to nod in time with the rhythm of her ranting. Once in a while, I’d feed back to her a word or two. One of the nurses stood nearby. I usually appreciate that. This time, though, the nurse picked up on something the patient said and tried to respond.

The next thing that happened caught me off guard. The patient wheeled on the nurse and shouted, Excuse me! I’m having a conversation with this man!” The nurse blushed a dark maroon, apologized, and walked away. To my credit, I suppressed my smile before the patient turned back to me. (Well, it was funny.)

After a minute or so more, I said to her, “OK. Head on back to your room and wait there for a bit. I’ll talk to the nurses and get their side of the story.”

She thanked me and went to do what the staff wanted her to do all along.

Written by Michael DeBusk

September 16th, 2008 at 2:06 am

Cialdini has a new book!

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Over at Presentation Zen is a review of Robert Cialdini’s new book, 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive:

The book is designed for anyone in business who is interested in becoming better at understanding how to persuade or influence isn’t that just about everyone?. The book may also help you understand why you decide to do the things you do. Even if you are a researcher or teacher or a medical doctor, and so on, and not a business person, it’s still important to understand how people are or can be influenced and persuaded by your words and behaviors. Each chapter focuses on a single question and is no more than 3-5 pages long.

Sounds like another real winner from Dr. Cialdini. It’s on my wish list. Go get 50 scientifically proven ways to be persuasive for yourself! (Note: this is an amazon link with Presentation Zen’s referral code intact. When you buy, you’ll be thanking Garr for the review and the referral.)

Written by Michael DeBusk

September 13th, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Books,Persuasion,Psych

Like him, love him, laugh at him, loathe him…

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No matter what your response to Barack Obama, you’ve got to admire his amazing skill with language. His ability to stay both engaging and content-free is astounding.

Here’s a transcript of his convention address. I was just working through it. It’s got everything a hypnotist could want in a trance induction. I wish now that I’d watched it so I could experience his paraverbal and nonverbal stuff too.

(Edited to add: Bert Decker over at Create Your Communication has posted his critique of Obama’s presentation, and it’s worth a look.)

Written by Michael DeBusk

August 29th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Push For Pain, Pull For Pleasure

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I’m a big fan of Free and open source software. I’m running Ubuntu Linux at home, haven’t booted Windows in ages, and really enjoy the freedom and choice that gives me. But that isn’t what this post is about. I just wanted to mention how I happened upon the article I’m suggesting you read.

Solveig Haugland, author of the OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook, has been working to convert people from Microsoft Office to the free, open-source OpenOffice.org suite, and she’s discovered the power of metaprograms… specifically, pain versus pleasure. It’s an interesting real-world example of the application of metaprograms in persuasion.

Go see Persuading people that OpenOffice.org is the right choice? Accentuate the negative.

Oh… and switch to OpenOffice!

Written by Michael DeBusk

August 22nd, 2008 at 7:14 pm

You’ve just got one of those faces

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This article at the Mind Hacks Blog summarizes some research being done in the area of how we decide to trust (or mistrust) a person based on the shape of their face. It starts with an article at the Boston Globe, with an accompanying graphic illustration of the pertinent facial characteristics:

behavioral scientists have also begun to unravel the inner workings of trust. Their aim is to decode the subtle signals that we send out and pick up, the cues that, often without our knowledge, shape our sense of someone’s reliability. Researchers have discovered that surprisingly small factors – where we meet someone, whether their posture mimics ours, even the slope of their eyebrows or the thickness of their chin – can matter as much or more than what they say about themselves. We size up someone’s trustworthiness within milliseconds of meeting them, and while we can revise our first impression, there are powerful psychological tendencies that often prevent us from doing so – tendencies that apply even more strongly if we’ve grown close.

Here’s something else I found interesting:

Another set of cues, and a particularly powerful one, is body language. Mimicry, in particular, seems to put us at our ease. Recent work by Tanya Chartrand, a psychology professor at Duke, and work by Jeremy Bailenson and Nick Yee, media scholars at Stanford, have shown that if a person, or even a computer-animated figure, mimics our movements while talking to us, we will find our interlocutor significantly more persuasive and honest.

Cute, eh? Go read the Globe article; it’s great.

If you love academic writing, or even more detail, here’s a PDF of a Princeton University study on the subject.

Written by Michael DeBusk

August 21st, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Gotta love a little TA once in a while

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While reading this NLP Connections thread I was reminded of my early reading of Transactional Analysis. Books like I’m OK, You’re OK, Games People Play, and Beyond Games and Scripts really piqued my interest in psychology and therapeutic interaction.

(I know Richard likes to poke fun at TA, but what I really think he pokes fun of is how people can’t tell metaphor or model from reality.)

Anyway, in the above-linked thread, one of the participants mentioned something I hadn’t seen before: The Karpman Drama Triangle. I thought you might like it too. Here’s the link to an article on the topic: The Three Faces of Victim.

Written by Michael DeBusk

August 7th, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Andy’s convinced me

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Andy Smith at Practical EQ says there’s something to the “rule of three” we so often use with the Convincer Strategy:

It’s a commonplace saying in NLP that “most people have a ‘three-time convincer'” – in other words, people need to experience three examples of something to be convinced.

Now there’s some research evidence to back this up…

Read the rest at Practical EQ: The “three time convincer” – some research support

Written by Michael DeBusk

August 1st, 2008 at 1:59 am

Are you naked?

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If you are, do you look good? If you aren’t, would you look good if you were?

I rarely watch TV, and when I do you can be damn sure it isn’t Lifetime TV. But I was flipping through the channel guide at my S/O’s house the other day when the name of a show caught my eye: How to Look Good Naked. Being male — er, curious — I checked it out, and I must say I was impressed.

This is not your typical makeover show. Yes, the ladies get new clothes, makeup, and hairstyle, but think about it: none of that makes them look good naked.

No diets, no exercise, no plastic surgery. No changes in their bodies at all. And by the end of the show, these self-loathing ladies are confidently posing nude for a photographer and strutting — in front of an audience — down a catwalk in their underwear. And loving it. Loving it.

How do they do it? You’ll have to watch the show:

Written by Michael DeBusk

July 23rd, 2008 at 11:36 pm