samedi 16 décembre 2006

Influencing Others to Change

This book is about getting people to change . . . something—a behavior,
an attitude, a product, a service, their relationship to or with you.You want
someone to do something different from what they were doing a few
minutes ago.You want someone to say “yes!” to you, now. In order for that
to consistently happen it would probably be a good idea to know what it
is that makes people tick. I want you to know precisely what it is that gets
people to not only say “yes!” but, if necessary, say “yes!” all the time!
My life has been aimed at helping people change and to change
people. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and I’ve been fortunate enough to discover
many keys that other promoters of influence have neglected to look for.
The process of starting change, getting people to question the status quo,
and actually implementing the change in another person’s brain is an ex-
citing process.
Short-term decisions of “yes” or “no” are much easier than achieving
long-term change. Permanent change is difficult. Period.You go to the
same grocery store every week.You go to the same gas stations, attend the
same church, take the same route for your daily walk or jog, work out at
the same gym . . . well, you get the idea.You do the same things every day,
and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, the stability of these behav-
iors can be very positive indeed! In this book you will learn how to get
people to say “yes” to you now . . . and over the long term!
Unfortunately, some of the things that people do are in direct opposi-
tion with what we want them to do.That’s where influence and persuasion
come in handy. Some people smoke cigarettes, do drugs, drink too much,
beat their kids,rape,steal,eat too much,hang out with the wrong people in
the wrong element,take part in self-destructive behaviors,and fail to act on
living what they dream their life should be about. People universally agree
that these are things that need to change in one’s self and in others.Agree-
ment and action,of course,are often not related to each other in reality.
Even when people want change it turns out to be something that
people desperately fail at.You’d think that if they want to change it would
be easy, right? Of course it isn’t that way at all.Why?
The first reason is remarkably simple.Your brain has lots and lots of
highways that connect lots and lots of cells.These highways light up with
activity every day when you participate in various activities. You think
“walk,” and you go for the same walk you always do. When you think
“drink,”you will go drink the same liquids you always do.Your brain is lit-
erally wired through all of your previous behavior to do exactly what it
has in the past.That wiring rarely changes, except by lack of use of the
highway system. However, new wiring (new highways!) can come about
through repetition of new behaviors—and through repetition of thoughts,
though with murkier results than actual behaviors such as intentionally
taking a walk on a different path every day for a few weeks, intentionally
eating a new food every day for a few weeks, intentionally taking part in
any new behavior every day for a few weeks.
It used to be said that a new habit takes 21 days to form. It now ap-
pears that it takes five days to form a new habit that is repeated daily (i.e.,
to create new neural pathways in the brain). Unfortunately, creating a new
habit rarely if ever erases an old habit.That means choice continues to be
involved in everyday decisions and change even though there is a new
highway. Getting someone to not eat junk food today is fairly easy; getting
the person to do it for a lifetime is another thing altogether. Getting the
dream date isn’t as hard as you might think. But getting the person to say
“yes” to a longer-term commitment is another thing altogether.
With this in mind it can be understood that there is no reason to as-
sume that people will be motivated, after today, to perform a newly de-
sired behavior, regardless of what it is.The easy shift back to the strong,
well-traveled neural pathways in the brain (which essentially project
themselves into your external world) is not only possible, it is likely.
Therefore, the person who wants to quit smoking, start eating better, or
change any behavior probably won’t regardless of the motivational device
unless it is consciously and intentionally repeated time after time and day
after day for months, at which point it can compete as the more likely to
be followed pathway.
The status quo is the status quo for just this reason.That which is fa-
miliar is the path of least resistance. This is also why the brain reacts so
strongly with “no!” to all but the most familiar requests or behaviors. It
takes enormous initial effort to change because one literally must forge
new highways in the brain. Once formed, the highways must be strength-
ened through regular usage and maintained by even further usage.
Do They Even Know What They Want?
Sit down for this one (the second reason change isn’t easy): People don’t
know what they want, don’t know how they will feel when they get it,
and don’t really know themselves.What does this mean for change?
We each have a conscious mind and an unconscious mind. Even with
hypnosis, you can’t really have two-way communication with the uncon-
scious mind in any effective and reliable fashion, but you can communicate
with the conscious mind. Even more interesting is that the conscious and
unconscious minds appear to have significantly different personality char-
acteristics, attitudes, and motivations.
The unconscious mind is not a six-year-old child, as has so often been
speculated. In fact, sometimes the unconscious mind is far more useful
than its conscious counterpart—but not always.
The conscious mind is able to compute, calculate, compare, contrast,
and perform all kinds of impressive cognitive functions.The unconscious
mind makes rapid-fire choices (though rarely decides between two op-
tions) under stress, which are more often right than wrong when there is
significant experience in a situation (fighting fires, surgery, combat, etc.).
The unconscious also tends to stereotype and categorize people right
down to whether someone you meet is like someone you knew in the past
and if so assigning them the same traits as the person you once knew. The
unconscious mind doesn’t “think”per se;it simply “does.” It experiences a situa-
tion and produces some behavior. Objections in sales situations almost al-
ways come from this part of the brain.
To override this behavior would take conscious effort on your
client’s behalf.That usually doesn’t happen. More typically the conscious
mind will create a reason for performing some behavior, when it really
has no clue why the body is eating, going to bed, getting in the car, or
taking an exit.
The unconscious mind simply directs the body to act. Its force is usu-
ally strong and difficult to change in the short term. Because, as a rule, the
unconscious mind is rooted in deep and old brain function, it doesn’t “vo-
calize” its opinions in a rational way. It simply reacts. Generally the uncon-
scious mind acts in a way that would be consistent with past behaviors in
similar situations, meaning that it could save your life or it could overlook
important new information and accidentally drive you to your demise.It is a holdover from our evolutionary history. It (the unconscious) appears to
The unconscious mind makes rapid-fire choices. It also tends to
stereotype and categorize people right down to whether someone you
meet is like a person you once knew.
drive almost all animal behavior,with conscious mind functions being lim-
ited to a few different kinds of animals.
The unconscious mind deals with now.The conscious mind deals with
the future.The unconscious mind is rigid.The conscious mind is flexible.
The unconscious mind is sensitive to negative information.The conscious?
Positive.The unconscious is a pattern detector.The conscious is an after-
the-fact checker. The unconscious mind is multisystemic. The conscious
mind is a single system.

Conscious Mind Unconscious Mind
Future. Now.
Flexible. Rigid.
Sensitive to positive Sensitive to negative
information. information.
After-the-fact checker. Pattern detector.
Single system. Multisystemic.

Because the brain develops these two substantially distinct minds, it’s
important to realize that both minds have typical behaviors and those be-
haviors are often at odds with each other.The conscious mind may want
to be accurate whereas the unconscious mind wants to feel good.
Internal conflict in most people is very real and very normal.
Typically we consciously have an objective or goal (lose weight, get a
different job, start your own business, begin a true personal development
phase in your life). However, the unconscious mind learned early on to
fear that which is unknown. It’s a simple survival mechanism. To walk
where we have walked before is generally safe.To stretch our boundaries is
often something that seems risky to the unconscious self,and therefore the
very idea of these changes can literally feel bad.That gut instinct is proba-
bly wrong but that is what the survival mechanism in the brain sends to
the body. Fear.Anxiety. Maybe even panic.
The conscious,rational self,which hates the present job,the weak state
of personal development, or the fat body, knows that change should take
Complete strangers are almost as good at predicting our behavior aswe are ourselves.
place, but to actually commit to a plan to overcome the status quo where
the fear is present is daunting and seemingly counterintuitive.
Therefore it is critical to evaluate the emotions of the moment or the day
and discover if there is a legitimate, rational signal that your brain is relaying
to you.Or is the brain simply telling you it is afraid,and the fear is false ev-
idence appearing real (FEAR)? If you decide (consciously) that the mind
and body are feeling afraid without good cause for the situation at hand,
realize that it will take some significant amount of time to overcome the
fear of the situation. It certainly won’t go away in a minute, an hour, or a
day.Typically it is necessary to wire in a completely new set of responses to
the current situation and fight through fear and negative emotions every
day until new levels of comfort can be achieved.
One of the great problems of trying to know yourself is that you really
can’t completely know yourself. Study after study shows that complete
strangers are almost as good at predicting our behavior as we are ourselves.
We think we know ourselves but we really don’t know ourselves as well as
we would like to. Because of the way the brain works, though, if we don’t
like what we see ourselves doing and thinking, we can change. It is a slow
process and often difficult, but once change becomes the status quo, it be-
comes rigid. So select well.
Two Personalities?
Are we really two personalities woven into one person?
I confess, it’s a funny thing:The personality of the unconscious mind
correlates to a person’s behavior and the person’s conscious mind corre-
lates to a person’s behavior—but the conscious mind and unconscious
mind of that person don’t correlate to each other! Gulp.That’s why people
say things like, “I don’t know,” “I have to think about it,” “I’m not sure
what I want to do.”
People typically look to make sense of themselves and the world
around them. Because we all do and say things that truly surprise us, we
must construct (fabricate) a narrative (story) that makes sense of those be-
haviors that conflict with our intentions.The rationales and explanations
help us put the incongruency behind us and move on to other things.
What makes understanding ourselves and others even more difficult is
the painfully distorted memories we all carry in the three-pound universe.
The brain simply isn’t a videotape recorder that records events.The brain is
a vast array of storehouses and interpreting functions that constantly store,
re-store, interpret, and reinterpret our memories and beliefs. False memo-
ries are so common that almost every conversation of any length includes
reference to at least one memory that never happened.
Recognizing these two defective elements of the human experience
(our suspect memory and the dual nature of our personality(ies)), one can
understand the arguments, the fights, and the butting of heads that take
place in relationships and communication in general between people who
have lived through the same events and remembered and interpreted them
so differently.
Recent research does show that there is some predictability in how we
will respond to other people.For example,a person who is fond of her sis-
ter will tend to be fond of people who exhibit behaviors similar to those
of the sister.
How do you actually come to know yourself? Pay attention to your
behavior in any given situation and you learn who you are. And, of
course, even that is suspect because we don’t see ourselves as clearly as we
The brain is a vast array of storehouses and interpreting functions.
see others.As mentioned,research reveals that we are better judges of oth-
ers’ future behavior than we are of our own.We tend to see ourselves in a
much better light than we see others, and that light creates a halo effect
around what most of us believe about ourselves. We tend to see others
more accurately.
Real estate agents observe the lack of sense of self-knowledge in oth-
ers every day.They listen while their clients describe the exact house they
want.The agents then show them several houses that their clients love and
one that they eventually buy that has little in common with what the indi-
viduals detailed just hours or days before! Real estate agents figured it out
a long time ago: Buyers have no clue what they really want.
And when we do see ourselves behave in some fashion, we often have
no idea why we did what we did.A research project had women approach
men on a somewhat dangerous footbridge and start a conversation.The
same women later approached men seated on a bench away from the foot-
bridge.The results were that 65 percent of the men who were approached
on the footbridge asked for a date, while only 30 percent of those on the
bench asked for a date.Arousal was attributed incorrectly to the woman on
the bridge instead of the actual anxiety-provoking feelings that the man
felt on the bridge.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to access the reasons we do
these kinds of things, and observation helps only to some degree. Our
need to find a reason for behavior, any reason, helps us make sense of our
world and make us happy, even if it isn’t accurate.
And what about those faced with difficult decisions in life? Beginning
or ending a relationship? Buying a business or not? Buying your product
or service!?
The research is compelling. After initially analyzing the problem
once, the individual stands a far better chance of making a good deter-
mination than the other individual who ponders for days, weeks, or
months.This is true even when people write out their reasons for their
decisions on paper or on a computer. In comparison studies, individuals
seem to make better decisions when gathering enough information,
thinking about it, and then deciding versus writing all the reasons for
and against an idea. (Ben Franklin is rolling over in his grave . . . and I’m
sure I will, too!)
So, with this rather bleak picture of how poorly we make decisions
and how poorly we know each other, what is the answer? How can you
get people to say “yes!” to you now and in the future?
It appears that going out into the future and speculating on what
events and experiences might take place is the best option for creating the
changes necessary when conflicted.To be sure, we can’t accurately predict
how we will feel in the future.This has been shown in volumes of studies.
However, we can gain foresight by specifically seeing ourselves in future
situations and determine what course(s) of action will ensure the success
of those determined course(s).
For years it was thought that journaling was a grand way to determine
insight and learn about ourselves. And this is true as long as we do not
journal after particularly negative or traumatic experiences that will later
taint the story of our life into being something it was/is not. Instead, it’s
best to journal on a consistent basis and describe events and experiences
with the realization that negative emotions happen daily in everyone and
that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing as long as action is taken on
those states to improve the quality of life each and every day. Numerous
studies have shown that people who think about the negative emotions
that have been recorded actually end up far worse off than had they not
reviewed the emotions of the past. Such is the nature of writing history
and then rewriting it without the benefit of all the other experiences that
happened that day/week/month/year. Result:These people tend to pre-
dict a more negative future for themselves than those who do not rumi-
nate. I bring up this crucial point because a lot of us sell a product or
service that can develop a track record.A car can appear to be reliable or
After initially analyzing the problem once, the individual stands a far
better chance of making a good determination than the other
individual who ponders for days, weeks, or months.
unreliable, but if you just had a minor breakdown today, you will certainly
be seeing the car as much less reliable than it has been previously.
In the final analysis, the road to changing the self (yours or someone
else’s) is about creating behavioral change first, which will almost always
lead to attitudinal change. In plain English, that means you have to get
people to do something if you want them to say “yes!”
Three Ways to Change
I want to share with you three ways to change that no one wants you to
know about.
What do some major corporations, all military leaders, and many ma-
jor religions know that most other people don’t?
The military leadership of every world government discovered this
first factor ages ago. Every successful religious and spiritual organization
found out how to utilize this factor millennia past. In recent history, be-
yond the military and spiritual organizations, some major corporations
have discovered how to thoroughly and completely change people,modify
behavior, and alter attitudes.What’s the first secret?
Imagine: boot camp.
You arrive.They cut your hair (if you have any), issue clothing con-
forming to a specific standard, the same cut and color as everyone else’s.
You have a new place to eat and you are told specific times to wake up,eat,
and sleep.Your activities are dictated from the beginning of the day to the
end of the day.You are looking at dozens of other faces that you have never
seen before. Your environment has changed.
There will be phone calls home once each week and you will not be
using a telephone or the Internet for the balance of the days.There is very
little contact with the outside world.
All of this is necessary to rapidly change your loyalties,behavior,and atti-
tudes so that if you are forced into high-stress situations like battle your be-
havior will be predictable and manageable . . .and you will stay alive.You will
be taught to watch out for everyone else in the group,and they will be there
to support you.An interdependent relationship is being created.There are no
independent relationships and there are no independent thinkers allowed.
All of the needs of the military require rapid change, rapid behavior
modification, and a rapid restructuring of beliefs.The same changes are fa-
cilitated in some large corporations, the large church, some schools, and a
few other groups throughout society.The model is powerful and is effec-
tive with all but the most stubbornly nonconformist individuals.
The three overlooked principles to change yourself and others begin
with changing a person’s environment.Humans,like animals,interact with
and respond to their environment far more than we are aware of at the
conscious level.
We act very differently in church than we do . . .
. . . at the office, and we act differently at the office than we do . . .
. . . at the football game, and we act differently at the football game
than we do . . .
. . . at the dinner table in our homes each night and than we do . . .
. . . in our hotel room.
Cultural rules dictate our behavior at church and in the office.Group-
think or social influence comes into play at the football game as well as the
church and office.Personal relationship dynamics enter into the mix at the
dinner table, joining the other environments. Finally, the hotel room is
most interesting because you are a stranger in an environment without a
leader or group to conform to, and often you are by yourself, thus you are
able to discover more about the true nature of who you are as you are
most definitely curious about your environment and not quite certain
what to do with that environment, leaving behavior largely unpredictable
for you—but very predictable for the hotel chain.
Cultural rules dictate our behavior in public.
You don’t know how you will behave, but the hotel does.The hotel
knows what you will do (and charges you handsomely for it).The manager
knows you will do at least two of three things in your room that will gen-
erate a profit on most stays:
1. You will use the telephone (that’s why local phone calls are $1.50).
2. You will eat a snack (the minibar prices for food and drink about
eight times retail prices).
3. You will watch a movie (priced at three times the price of a
You may not know that you are going to do these things. In fact,
you may bring your own cell phone, your own snacks, and your own
DVD for your computer, and you still utilize the hotel’s services, and
they know you will. They know you better than you do, because the environ-
ment stimulates behavior.
Key: If you want to change your own or someone else’s behavior, the first
thing you can often do is change the environment. If you can control the envi-
ronment, you can typically predict or create a specific behavior.
It is known how people will behave in church, at the dinner table, at
the office, and in the hotel. Deviations can occur but behavior is remark-
ably predictable.
People learn how to behave in all of these environments and then they
do behave that way.An extroverted individual will be remarkably compli-
ant in the quiet atmosphere of the library.The introverted person will sing
out in church and stand up and cheer at the football game.The behaviors
are learned and reinforced. People do what they are told, and when they
don’t we medicate them so they will comply!
Changing the environment is uniquely powerful in changing behav-
ior.There is no greater single influence. Not genetics, not peer pressure.
Not parenting.The environment stimulates behavior,and changing behavior is
most easily accomplished in a different environment.
And there is more.
The environment can be changed to develop different behaviors.The positions
of chairs, furniture, and decor can be altered, thus changing how much
people like each other.These alterations also change how (and how much)
people interact, which will directly impact whether people will like each
other, be more (or less) anxious, and be more (or less) comfortable.
The colors of carpeting,furniture,and walls all change the perceptions
of people in the environment and literally change their behavior.
An interesting element in changing the environment is that it tends to
change behavior first, rather than the attitude of the individual.This fact is
most profoundly noted in many religious institutions,the military of every
government, large corporations, and some schools.
When a person is moved from one environment to another, especially
when one is unfamiliar with the new environment, the brain has to
change; it enters into a state of flux and typically becomes more suggestible.
From the standpoint of your self, this factor can help you determine
whether you should remain in the same environment you are in or inten-
tionally change it.From the standpoint of changing the behavior of others,
this information helps you know whether you should take a person out to
lunch, to dinner, or on a trip—or meet them at an international destina-
tion.The further removed from their norm the more likely it is to gain
compliance in most people.
The environment has a dramatic impact on whether someone else will
say “yes” or “no” to you. It’s the very first indicator that a “yes” or “no” is
coming.The next indicator is equally controllable: your appearance.

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