There is a fine art I’d like to introduce you to, definitely one of the crucial skills in life. The art of persuasion. Call it whatever you’d like; manipulation, communication, I don’t care, but, basically, it amounts to talking someone else into doing something for you. Living mostly consists of interacting with other people, especially today, when your future depends on someone else in so many occasions.
Think about it, there are hordes of people who’ve got power over you. A simple clerk might cause a world of problems to you merely because they got up on the wrong foot that morning. An uncooperative cop might take your driver’s license because you were hurrying to work (there’s always a few unbribable idiots who don’t know what’s good for them). A professor might give you a bad grade which might stop you from getting on university. You might get in an absurd argument with your loved one over something completely trivial, but resulting in a break up. The list goes on…
You see, the problematic part of people’s behaviour is that they’re acting based on subjective factors. After all, a human brain doesn’t operate like a computer program with has a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ state. When you employ a human to do work for you, it’s not like using a computer program, which focuses all of its attention on doing the task; a human stays a human. Meaning a cop isn’t only a cop, he’s also a human being with all the drives and prerogatives of one. If it wasn’t like that, talking would be next to pointless. It’s part that enables you to convince them into things that don’t make sense, really. Each person is a case of its own, with their own psychological profile, and you have to take note of this when dealing with folks. Alright, with most people you meet, you won’t have the time to studiously analise them, but you can learn a lot as you talk, or from stories from other people, and there’s always intuition which’s usually a good judge, for a start.
Any regulation, law or rule is as strict as the people enforcing it are.
People always turn out to be the weak links. If you manage to find someones ‘buttons’, you can get people to do things for you (not to be confused with ‘bottoms’, which can also get people to do many things to you, too). Push the ‘buttons’ in another way, you can piss them off or drive them crazy. I’ll concentrate on the first one, because it’s damn useful.
Most cases where you might need to manipulate people are cases where you screwed up, or want something you have no ‘right’ to get, or want someone to do things you are supposed to do. At least that’s what would usually happen to me, I’d screw up and couldn’t get something through official channels anymore.
It’s very hard to define rules for manipulating people, because there are no rules, since you’re dealing with different individuals and have to be flexibile. Still, there are some pointers which are true in most of the cases.
First thing you must know is that 90% of the communication when you’re talking to someone is non-verbal. This means that actual words carry only 10% of the message. The way you say it, that is, punctuation, tone, speed, voice, carries about 30% of the message. Body language does the rest. This is important, because if your body and voice are saying “get me out of here!” there’s a good chance they won’t even listen to your words, to what you’re trying to say. It’s important to project confidence. I mean, not act it like a bad actor, because that kind of things puts people off, but project it. It’s really funny to watch nervous people try to be confident.
Anyway, here’s a list of tips and tricks. Now, they don’t all work in every situation, and which approach to use, when, etc.. is up to you to decide based on the situation you’re faced with. There’s no definitive way which always works.
I – Arrogance is for the inside. Be assertive, yes, by all means, but don’t be arrogant to people. I’m not saying you can’t be arrogant on the inside, but using it in most cases isn’t going to get you anywhere. That is, except in special occasions when arrogance might win the day, what usually requires something to be arrogant about, too.
II – Be on the nice and polite side. Isn’t a working tactic in all situations, but it’s a good approach. Smile.
III – Relax. No worries. There’s nothing to worry about. You and me are going to solve this all.
IV – Don’t back off just like that, be persistent. This can work, if you can be enough of a pain in the arse to make them do anything just to get you off their necks.
V – If you ask people for information or services ask in a way that will inflate their ego if they know the answer. Simple trick, really. For example, you want information on something, you start talking about it in their presence. Make them feel like they’re in the presence of a knowledgeable person, and they’ll strive to prove how much do they know. People have a need to tell confidental things to make themselves feel knowledgeable. Use this. They’ll even offer to do things for you to prove they can do them. Absurd, yes, useful, yes
VI – If you’ve screwed up, don’t take it seriously. Belittle your mistake, make a joke out of it, if possible. This way you won’t let others take them seriously. Just be subtle about it. Saying ‘it’s no big deal’ will more likely then not provoke a discussion, and they’ll start telling you it is a big deal.
VII – You can also admit the mistake, express your regret, and quickly go on, saying you’ll never do it again. Don’t dwell on it in any case. Saying you’ll never do it again kinda helps them get over it easier, what’s, in any case, good. Of course, this means admitting you’ve done it, and there are cases when you can’t afford to admit it.
VIII – Act like they already accepted your proposal. Heh heh. You can either do this with a trick question, or by making comments. You see, make it seem self-understood you’ll get what you want, basically, but ask ( or start talking ) about details. If you ask people will they do something for you, it’s much less likely they’ll do it then if you imply they’ll do it for you. Just don’t make it obvious, because they might figure out what you’re trying to do and get suspicious.
IX – Try to look for I win, you win solutions. Everybody likes them.
X – If someone’s selling you a lot of hogwash, ask for detailed explanations like ‘How does this profit me?’, ‘How can you do it?’. If someone’s trying to BS you, they usually don’t have the facts to support it, and will give indecisive answers, trying to answer without saying anything. Bloody obvious, you know? Just insist on the detailed answer, don’t get carried away by replying to misleading ones.
XI – Charm people. Doesn’t get much simpler then that, does it? Just don’t make it obvious, because a lot of people don’t like it when you’re sucking up, but everyone likes a charmer. Like me *winks* .
XII – Find a common enemy. You know, a joint attack on a common enemy brings people together. No better way to make a homogenous group then finding, or installing, a common enemy. Also, you can use a verbal ‘attack’ on a common enemy because of x charateristic they have to imply you don’t have it. Choosing sides, you know? (It’s very disgusting to see how people slander others when these aren’t around. I assume they’re using the stated tactic subconsciously, because having a common enemy bonds people together. This kind of speculation is really interesting, because it tells you a bit about the psychology of people who just have to malign someone.)
Anyway, this would be enough tips from ME. What I’d like you folks to do is to make your own. Invent new tactics, practice and improve existing ones, write them down, think of examples. Try analyzing who says what for what reason. All I said is rather useless if you just read it and say ‘this is good’. If you think something there is a load of shite and why, then say it, put it up for discussion, because that way we can all learn, and that’s what we are here for anyway.
Written by Bruce