This article is about a neat, powerful and simple persuasion technique that Nathan Thomas reminded me of a few weeks ago. This is something anyone can learn to do easily.
Nathan Thomas – Hypnotic Persuasion Consultant
You may have heard me speaking about Nathan Thomas before. He is an incredible hypnotist and has been successfully running his hypnosis business on the internet for the last couple of years despite still being in his teens. Currently he is running his business and travelling around the world off the proceeds.
We are running a one day hypnotic persuasion skills course in London this month and are in regular contact with each other. A few weeks ago Nathan sent me an email reminding me of exactly how good he is at hypnotic persuasion skills. Here is his email highlighting his very cool use of a great persuasion technique.
Date: 05/06/2010 10:00
I have edited both videos, and written the email and post copy around them – now all I need is a reliable internet connection with which to upload the videos – I’m on the Isle of Mull at the moment, and internet is WAY over priced.I think, strategy wise, it will be best to start with the confidence video, and follow that up with your sales or ‘iceberg’ video.
Actually, funny story about influence related to the internet thing…
The internet crashed here, and I couldn’t reconnect. Thinking I’d lost the time I’d paid for I mentioned it – friendly – to the manager.
He said that it should be back, and anyway he wasn’t able to give out free internet.
He being a bit unfriendly (to myself and other guests) and me, naturally, enjoying my internet, I decided to try an old persuasion trick.
I did nothing – just stood there, silently, and after he tried to hold my gaze for an impressively long time he began rattling off excuses, and I eventually smiled, said it was no problem, and went to sit in the lounge…
5 minutes later he rushed in with a token for free internet (time limited), and rushed out again.
Influence and persuasion really is very fun indeed 😀
The Power of a Good Pause
Here is a deconstruction of what happened. Try this a few time in a conversation. Just stop mid sentence, slowly count to ten in your head, then count to ten again even slower and then continue with your conversation. Right the way through the pause maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking with. Do this a few times and you will notice a few things happen.
You will probably notice that it is a very hard thing to do and your natural inclination is to desperately continue talking. The chances are you will not get to the end of the counting because the person you were speaking with will fill the void. Most people find it very difficult to live with a void in a conversation and will try to fill it with something. Especially if the person they are speaking with maintains eye contact.
If you can live with the pause you are putting a huge amount of pressure on the other person to fill the void. Now all you have to do is set the frame and the other person will use it as the starting point for them to fill it.
If I were to ask you a question and then stop speaking you are under pressure to answer. I train many professional interviewers to stay quiet for a long time after asking a question. Sales professionals at the right point in the sales process should ask for the business and then not say another word until the prospect fills the void. Every professional persuasion artist needs to be able to set a frame and then stay quiet.
In Nathan’s conversation the frame was set by the discussion about the internet and the manager had already given his position. Nathan’s pause put the manager under pressure to continue and the most obvious thing to continue with was justifications and excuses for his position. This means he is bringing them up for himself.
Nathan then politely lets him know those excuses are not worth acknowledging. The net result is that the manager is left with his excuses left hanging as half of a discussion that he brought up. His only answer is to run through his own head talking for both parties. When he saw things through Nathan’s eyes he realised that it was not a good response and got Nathan a token.
Practice and Developing Persuasion Pauses
The exercise above will help you get comfortable with pausing in a conversation. Once you are happy with this the next step would be to use a phrase such as, “So you think that is a good idea?”
You can use any phrase you like but I like this one because I can infer that it is a good or a bad idea just through my facial expressions and body language. Now in the middle of a conversation when a person has made any statement I can just say my phrase leading in whichever direction I want and then shut up.
When you do this what will happen is the other person will start talking. When they stop talking just maintain eye contact saying nothing and notice what they say next. Doing this a few times will give you a good idea of how you can really put pauses to work for you.
I could give you a whole lot of ideas about how people respond and where you can lead them using this technique but the easiest and most effective way of learning this is to just try it a few times and notice what you get. It is a really simple yet very effective technique that only takes a few goes to learn.
People are like Icebergs
Underneath their behaviour people have beliefs, desires and motivations that lead them to do what they do. The vast majority of this is outside our conscious awareness. When you have a real understanding of the unconscious aspects of human behaviour you don’t need lots of confusing and difficult to learn persuasion techniques. A few powerful techniques applied in exactly the right way to match your subject will give you all the persuasive power you need. If you want to learn these skills quickly from Nathan and I then click through this link to find out how.