Where is the greatest need for Power in your life? For most people, it is in persuading others to go along with our ideas. Whether we are trying to sell a product or service to a prospect, trying to discipline our children, trying to convince our boss to give us a raise, or trying to seduce that beautiful stranger, a greater degree of Power will help us achieve our goals much easier.
In one respect or another, we are trying to sell someone on an idea in practically every situation of our lives. If we could improve our ability to control the situation, our effectiveness as a person would go up considerably, and we would be a more powerful person.
Logic will not always win, even when logic is on our side. I’m sure you’ve been in the situation where every deciding factor was in your favor, yet the other person still would not go along with your plan. Sometimes we take this as a rejection of ourselves, the other person simply did not like us. Sometimes we feel that trust was the issue to blame, or maybe the issue was fear of some sort or another.
The human mind is a very mysterious system. There are so many factors which govern a person’s behavior, and so many variables which we are almost never aware of, that trying to predict exactly what will cause a person to accept our proposal is usually a guaranteed way to fail.
But we don’t have to predict what a person will do. We only have to influence their decision so that they are more likely to do what we want them to do, and our success rate will be better than it was before. In any complex system, a small change can sometimes have dramatic results!
In our study of the mind, we find that the subconscious mind, that part which is outside of our conscious control, is very suggestible. What’s more, the subconscious mind is also far more in control of our actions and behavior than our reasoning, conscious mind. For those of us who look for any and all means to achieve our goals, there is a hint of Power in this knowledge.
What if we could find a way to influence the subconscious mind of the person we are trying to win over to our point of view? If we could find a way to suggest to the other person’s subconscious mind that they want what we are offering, and want it with a fierce desire, then our goal of persuading them will be much easier.
Advertisers have long studied the methods of influencing the subconscious mind. You have probably heard of the experiments with subliminal messages played in movie theaters. A whole industry grew up around the concept of subliminal messages to help a person change their behavior and their habits. While the results are generally disappointing to many who have tried the products offered, the disappointment was as much to do with the general nature of the suggestions buried in the material as it was due to any other factor.
Another industry has gained much popularity in the last several years. This industry has grown up around a new technology of understanding and manipulating the mind. This technology is called NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). NLP teaches us that most people access different areas of the mind while performing some basic physical actions that you can identify. Using this information, you can tell if a person is remembering an actual event that took place or if they are making up a story to cover up what really happened.
NLP has also been used to help people establish rapport with others in an incredibly short period of time. Rapport is important for one key reason, unless you and the person you are trying to influence are in rapport with each other, there will be very little agreement. If the other person does not feel comfortable with you, and does not feel that you are ‘like them’, at least in general ways, that person will not feel good about accepting what you have to say and acting on that information. In short, you will not get what you want from that person.
Okay, so let’s assume that you are somewhat familiar with the basic ideas of NLP. You know about mirroring the other person’s body language. You know about speaking in their terms, whether visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. You even know about the eye movements and what they refer to. This is only the surface of the incredible amount of power that a full knowledge of NLP will give you.
Some of the more advanced techniques of NLP deal with what is known as pacing and leading. The central idea here is that if you say a number of things that are obviously true, such as we are in a room with 4 walls, that we are sitting at this table talking with each other, and that you are holding a glass of wine, then whatever you say next (which is not so obvious) will seem to be more true than if you did not include the obvious facts. Guys, if your girlfriend starts to think that you don’t love her, here is your salvation. Simply say a string of obviously true statements right before you tell her you do love her. Repeat this a few times and she will start to believe you.
And this works (to one degree or another) with those you just met. You can use this if you are a salesperson trying to convince the prospect that your product is superior to your competition’s product. You can use this to convince your boss that you are worth much more than the company is paying you. And you can use this to convince that hottie that spending an evening with you will be better than anything else he/she could be doing.
This one concept from the science of NLP is priceless! And there is much more. There is a whole segment in NLP on language patterns. There are some patterns which will help you discover exactly what someone means when they say something vague and mysterious. There are language patterns which contain hidden meanings which bypass the conscious mind and go straight to the subconscious mind (our focus for this article). And there are language patterns that can induce a hypnotic state without a formal induction ritual. Talk about an open door to the subconscious mind!
There is so much information, that a brief article such as this one could not cover it all. There are numerous books out on the market which explain many of the theories of NLP. And if you’re good at translating theory into practical application, any of these books will give you greater power in dealing with other people.
Good luck in your persuasion activities!