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Conditioning Behaviours

Turning Things to Your Advantage...

These are behaviours that condition the actions of others (or you if you happen to get on the receiving end). These are some of the techniques that others use to condition each other and you - presented from the insider's point of you. Be aware that you are subject to some of these influences almost every day of your life.

Identify where the other person is and then where you would like them to be. Identify three points on the way from where they are to the desired situation, and devise a strategy to move from point to point. Elicit the other person's ideas, and involve them. Offer options, ask them for constructive criticism, do not dismiss their needs and get them to work with you. Guide them, one by one, through your three points

In difficult situations, be prepared to look at the process of what's going on rather than the substance. Talk about how to talk, what the rules are, what is fair behaviour and what is disallowed. Introduction to this could be: 'We've got some hurdles to jump here, and I'd like to agree with you how.'

Use, but don't overuse, repetition on key points. A thing said twice has twice the impact of a thing said once - but said four times, it becomes annoying and patronising

If you want something to appear or be remembered according to your predisposition, presuppose what you want by loading the question with the form required in the answer
How BIG was it? - will exaggerate bigness positively in the reply
How SMALL was it? - will exaggerate smallness positively in the reply
How LONG was it? - will exaggerate length positively in the reply
How SHORT is X? - will exaggerate shortness positively in the reply

As soon as possible in an encounter, move from 'you' and 'me' to 'us' and 'we'. Talking side by side (looking at an object or visual aid - see elsewhere) helps this process

When you are speaking to convince someone, elicit the use of the five senses - or modalities - Sight, Hearing, Touch, Smell and Taste. Use evocative adjectives in order to paint vivid and memorable word pictures
Make what you say reflect everyday experience: use metaphor from everyday experience

Everybody has 'good reasons' for what they do: in any given situation, elicit those SPECIFIC reasons as well as GENERALLY eliciting values: the two will be related

Get people to imagine that they are 'in the other person's shoes'

Find out what the other person's prior commitments might be and find ways to get around them
Once you've established the specific, fit it into the general -e.g. how the broken kettle fits into the broader issues of home safety, consumer guarantees and production quality standards

Wherever you are, look like you're glad to be there - unless you have reasons not to

In a new encounter, get the other person to agree with you on three, simple things before you proceed any further (yessable propositions again)

Use analogy and simile to create broad appeal: choose those that have an emotional edge
Ask rhetorical questions and frame the answers to suit your own point of view
WRONG: What are you doing here?
RIGHT: What are you doing here? I know: you've come here to see me.
WRONG: Would you like to sit down by the lake?
RIGHT: Would you like to sit down by the lake - of course you would, it's nice and private down there

People are unlikely to ask for a favour if they are not in a position to repay it.

If you want an event to seem more immediate and important, put it in the present tense: if you want it to seem remote and less important, put it in the past or future tense

Ignore personal attacks: treat them as statements of displeasure with the situation and try to enlist your opponents help in solving the situation

Use catch phrases and 'handles' to elicit and colour feelings about key points
EXAMPLE: 'Bloggs is a bum,' - labels Bloggs as a bum, possibly without any justifications. 'And then the bum said,' reinforces that label/viewpoint.
EXAMPLE: 'You are a flower,' - labels the person with the attributes of a flower. 'All flowers need water,' reinforces the label and makes an allusion.

If someone is pulling a tactic on you, rather than outright rebuttal, seek 'clarification' in order to point out that you are aware and to change the situation.
WRONG: Don't X me.
RIGHT: You aren't meaning to X me, are you?
Demonstrate you have commitment and energy for what you say. Your belief will enthuse others and get them to believe

In order to make a 'feeling' point, imagine what feelings it gives you, what feelings you want it to give to the listener and then describe it in those terms to the listener such as to get them personally involved.

Women often feel uncomfortable after accepting an expensive gift or paid evening out from a man: even the price of a drink can produce a feeling of debt.

There is a cultural obligation to make a CONCESSION to someone who has made a concession to us. Because this is known, this frees any person to make an initial CONCESSION (knowing they will get something back).

A means of saying something emphatically is to slowly raise the pitch of the voice during the first part of the sentence, pause, and then lower the pitch (not volume). The second part of the sentence becomes emphasised.

The best commitments are: public, dynamic, purposeful, freely entered into and have physical evidence to support them.
The more effort that goes into a commitment, the more difficult it is to change: ideally, the commitor should own what he has done.

Nod head slightly, say 'yes' and use paraphrase replies to build rapport with others; withhold acknowledgement to destroy rapport.

In any given situation, we view behaviour to be correct according to the degree we see others performing it. (This is the Principle of Social Proof).

In accordance with the foregoing principle, it is possible to rig circumstances such that certain forms of behaviour appear 'normal' and the done thing in certain environments:
1. Placing stooges in an audience to rig overall audience behaviour (claque)
2. Using phoney testimonials
3. 'Salting' tips jars and collection plates
4. Using subterfuge to show how many people 'agree' with your view

MIMICKING certain types of behaviour will often elicit real responses to those types of behaviour in the observer.

People often assume that expensive/unattainable/scarce = good

Transmission of mood by voice: if you wish to transmit anger, mimic being angry and it will be carried in your voice. Likewise with any other mood - affection, lasciviousness, joy, fear etc.

As well as personal commitment, one can have a label foisted upon one by others and come to behave as if the labelling were truth (i.e. commitment to the label).

Commercial ways of using this are to get customers to fill in sales agreements, caption competitions, writing down goals, drawing up planning agreements, training courses, etc.

Use periodic moments of total stillness, especially when listening to someone, waiting for something or before making a point.

People tend to believe what they have written, and are reluctant to change it - even given evidence to the contrary. Additionally, written work can readily be made public, hence the power of written commitment.

Better to simply say 'Don't do X, because it's wrong,' and get agreement/commitment, than say 'Don't do X, because I'll cut your bollocks off.' The former uses internal motivation, the latter external threat.

Social proof need not be demonstrated by physical presence, nor need it be demonstrably true in fact: it will work via TV or video demonstrations of 'normal' behaviour.

Even when we know the evidence of Social Proof is contrived, we will still behave mechanically in accordance with it

Unless there is a compelling reason not to, preface any lengthy statements with an overview sentence to set the tone and guide the imagination.

In using this, start small, with minor commitments, and then gradually piece them together using larger and larger commitments into a 'big picture'. Make a list/read out the list/write a note. Use a gradually growing stream of small, interrelated commitments to give birth to a river of compliance.

Rather than using out and out generalisations, refer to the person AND the generalisation simultaneously
WRONG: People often feel awkward in situations like this.
RIGHT: You probably feel awkward in this situation - people often do.
WRONG: This is a common situation
RIGHT: People know this is a common situation - I know that you recognise that too

If someone attempts to pull a stunt on you, immediately point out that you have seen through it - using a 'handle' if possible, eg 'good guy/bad guy', 'prevarication', 'lowball', etc. - compliment them on the 'nice try' and demand 'serious behaviour' and 'fair play'

Focus attention by using objects, visual aids and physical actions/devices

Don't ever cause anyone else to lose face, indeed help them to rationalise the change in their basic position that you are proposing

The words 'a' and 'the' are not, as commonly thought, interchangeable. 'The' presupposes existence, 'a' the possibility of existence
Did you see a cat with a hump over there? - a general query
Did you see the cat wit the hump over there? - presupposes both that the cat exists and that the said cat has a hump

If you suspect you are being exploited... design a request that the other party would agree to if it was an honest transaction... and then demand a publicly affirmed guarantee once they have agreed

Get a small commitment first: this opens the door to much larger things - provided the abstract basis is the same.

Once a commitment is made, future behaviour of the person is modified to be stubbornly in line with the commitment. (cognitive dissonance)

Things overheard assume more veracity than things heard directly: the insider knowledge/forbidden fruit effect.

Be careful with responses (if any) to apparently innocent solicitations: the latter are often devised in order to get the respondee to take up a predetermined committed position and make an exploitable public statement. [Example: How are you feeling today?]

Show approval with a slight smile, disapproval with a slight frown.

People most often seek social proof - i.e. reassurance of own behaviour by the observation of/impression of behaviour of others - when they are uncertain: behaviour is likely to be modified to match that of the others.
This makes it easy to modify an individual's behaviour by pre-organised teams of stooges - as in con-men, religious cults, teams of high pressure salesmen etc.

Slowly physically move towards people as you get to know them better.

The giving of compliments/praise, esp. openly admitting to liking someone, gives the receiver a feeling of well-being and is likely to evoke reciprocal action. People tend to believe compliments AND the people who provide them: they do not have to be accurate to obtain the desired effect.

Don't dominate the exchange: people are far more convinced by reasons they invent for themselves.

People favour the familiar over the unfamiliar - appearance, name, dress, accent etc.

Tell little stories, metaphors reflecting the points you are making, framed in a manner such as to elicit emotional commitment

Separating people into clearly identifiable, labelled competitive groups can bring about fierce rivalry and clannishness.

Rifts between groups can be healed by taking away the separating symbols and putting in place common goals.
Co-operation brings about a powerful sense of affinity and liking, an 'us' versus 'them' situation.

Positive symbols will spur people on through association

In commitment, ACTIONS are all important: passivity is not enough. Even the smallest concessionary action on behalf of the commitment is enough to open the floodgates. Observers assume that someone who makes a statement means it.

Eating is generally seen as pleasurable, hence the good association someone gets if you take them out for a meal. Same for associating yourself with any other pleasurable experience.

Pronouns are used to connotate positive and negative associations: in the positive case, it's 'we', 'us', 'our', etc. In the negative case it's 'them', 'their,' 'they', etc.

Physically, only ever concentrate on, and do, one thing at a time.

Written commitments are more difficult to change.

People like reasons for doing things. Hence, when asking for something, give a reason using the word BECAUSE. It makes the request more effective: the given reason may be spurious - even unrelated to the request - and the technique still works.
WRONG - I'd like you to give me a cuddle.
RIGHT I'd like you to give me a cuddle BECAUSE I'm feeling cold.

Vary the pitch, volume and pace of speech in order to hold interest.

Use pauses between PHRASES to give the impression of deliberate, controlled speech.

Be aware of your own perceptual modality: be sure to include other modes - esp the mode of the listener - when addressing someone else.

Be believable. Don't 'Um and Ah' or use words/phrases like 'maybe', 'er', 'perhaps, 'I think', etc. unless it is deliberate.

It is difficult to turn down a request by someone you like, even a request by an someone who is, or claims to be, an agent of someone you like.

A dominating characteristic of a person's behaviour may overshadow all others - this is known as a halo effect. Through this, good looking or ebullient or happy or outgoing people are often assumed to be desirable in all of their traits e.g. honest, kind, intelligent etc. etc. This is manifestly absurd, but nevertheless still happens.

Good grooming is important in forming other's perceptions of an individual.

An over reaction - either positive or negative - to a statement can either boost or destroy the efficacy of that statement.

When we decide upon proper behaviour for ourselves, we are more likely to base it upon the behaviour of people who are similar to ourselves

Once anyone takes up a fixed position, they are under personal and societal pressure to hold that position.

The more public the commitment, the more difficult it is to change. Responsibility is accepted for behaviours when they are seen as being undertaken without external pressure (i.e. when we are personally committed).

People like those who are 'tribally' similar - opinions, background, style, personality, dress and taste to themselves. Taken to the extreme, this leads to mirroring in body movement, tonality, vocabulary, etc. In the simple version, claiming to have similar interests or personal experiences is effective.

Be sure to name things, activities, scenarios - give them a handle to your own advantage - so as when they are viewed by others, they do it through your own lens.

One should be very careful about agreeing to apparently trivial requests, especially to those of strangers, since they can open the door to commitments on your part & provide a lever for the production of cognitive dissonance.

If you have a weakness which is likely to be discovered, admit it honestly and openly and offer mitigating arguments and information such as to inoculate the listener against future attempts to turn them by others.

Reciprocity in action: A makes a large - but apparently feasible - request of B. B refuses. A then makes a smaller request - the one he wanted all along. B sees this retreat as a CONCESSION by A, and reciprocates himself by conceding the second request. Providing both requests are seen as 'reasonable', B will be reluctant to send A away with nothing. Since, in the example, B feels that he has extracted a CONCESSION from A - and thus played an active part in the negotiation - he tends to feel that he has agreed to a contract and is therefore responsible and satisfied with it. Makes B more amenable to deal further.

The behaviour of individuals in society can be, and is, modified by the behaviour of people they see as similar to themselves in the media: stereotypes do, therefore, affect the behaviour of individuals

First impressions mean everything - and that means the first minute, often the first five seconds - so be sure to project a good initial impression. how the first meet goes.

The signing of a petition changes self image. It is a public, written act of commitment - and can be deployed against the signatory by profiteers (and a lot of petitions are thrown in the skip anyway).

Unless you have a reason otherwise, give the listener room to improvise and add to what you are saying: keep your questions open ended - how, what, when, who, where, why, again.

Ask 'What if?' Make a suggestion of your own if needs be, and ask the listener if they have any of their own.

Provide whoever you are talking with a clear and unambiguous outcome or choice to focus on: ask directly for what you want

If you feel you are in an attack or 'bluffing' situation, ignore it and keep right on talking. Challenge the bluff/attack by reframing the situation into a commitment, a desire, an aspiration, a belief rather than a fixed set of circumstances (it isn't fixed, that's just someone's idea).

As you begin to know somebody, they begin to categorise you and compare you with themselves and others like you. You will be categorised according to the way you look, act and speak. If anyone elicits your values, be sure to match theirs and get into a 'good' category.

If you hit a brick wall with your questions or proposals, ask the question 'why?'. Find out what the problem is and elicit the listener's advice - get them involved.

(based upon the findings of Robert Cialdini and others)

Last, but not least, always remember that when all else fails The Past Only Exists as a Memory, and since you can't EVER change it it's best to let it go.

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Patterning and Consciousness
Dan Scorpio NLP
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