This article is a deconstruction of how I managed to install a clearly ridiculous belief into a guy in less than half an hour.
Blue Suites and Persuasion Skills
Whilst this was a unique situation by reading through this post you will be able to make links to how you could use this process to install more appropriate patterns and beliefs for your applications. I will give you some ideas as I describe the whole process
As per usual I had been doing some reading around persuasion techniques and I came across some research that suggested more people respond to shop assistants that are dressed in blue suits, white shirts and dark ties than any other “uniform”. The research was a little spurious but I have heard this before and consider that there is some truth in it.
My main thought though was about wondering just how far I could push this idea. Luckily I was due to have diner with a friend of mine and his brother later that day. Steve, my friend’s brother (name changed to avoid embarrassment) worked in sales for a call centre in Glasgow. Perfect, I decided that my first step would be to get him to believe wearing a blue suit would work on the phone. The next step after that would be to get him to believe wearing a blue suit outside of work would have a battery storage effect that would continue to have an effect when he went into work.
Persuasion Patterns to Install Beliefs
If I were doing this for a practical application rather than just to torment my friend’s younger brother I would start with working out what I want my subject to believe or take on board. Here are a couple of ideas:
If I am training a very content heavy subject I might want people to believe that remembering facts and figures is really easy.
If I am selling a new idea to a customer I might want to install the concept that trying new things is always a good return of investment and turning away things untried will lead to embarrassment, pain and humiliation.
These may not seem as outlandish or unreasonable as my plans for Steve but remember in the example I am deconstructing I am just playing, if I were doing this for a practical purpose the beliefs and behaviours I would be installing are likely to be a bit more “normal”.
Going from the Known to the Unknown
With Steve I am now set to go. I have a piece of factual research that I can use and I have two steps to see if I can take him as far as believing wearing a blue suit for several hours a day will store him extra “sales power”.
In my more practical situations I will be looking for one or two steps of undeniable evidence that I can use to bridge the gap to what I want the subject to believe.
In the training example I might ask the delegates to recite their phone number, their birth date and other notable anniversaries. I might then give them a memory process and an exercise to incontrovertibly prove that they can quickly memorise all the facts they need for the subject. In fact if I am being clever the exercise I give them will be to memorise the key facts that they need even before studying the subject. This would mean everything is just reinforced when we get to the training as a whole.
In the selling ideas example I might use a metaphor about the person that turned down the Beetles or the studio that turned away Gene Roddenberry with his idea for Star Trek. Perhaps do some research and find out what happened to the guys that took on the new ideas and those that didn’t. I might develop this into some pseudo-maths about how much you can make with one good result and how it would pay for hundreds of also rans conclusively “proving” that without taking on new ideas means you will inevitably fail whether the ideas worked or not.
So What Happened Next?
In the next blog post I will lay out the pattern I used fully. I will show you how far and completely it worked and also the fatal mistake I made that meant I didn’t get the complete result that I wanted.
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