Have you ever wondered why some people always get what they want?
Why do some people close more business deals than others?
I know I have.
For me, the ability to influence people was just… strange.
I had no clue how to do it until I read some excellent psychology books.
In this article, I will show you eight effective manipulation techniques.
#1 I don’t need you. You need me
This is the essence of manipulation.
You should subtly convey that “I don’t need you; you need me.”
Someone with the upper hand can afford to walk away from a deal.
For example, you can see this in negotiations.
When someone doesn’t agree with the terms, says,” It seems we don’t have a deal, so we’ll leave.” Then the other part will feel pressured and ultimately agree with whatever they want.
What’s the psychology behind this technique?
We act stubborn when we realize someone needs something from us.
But, if you can make him believe you don’t need the deal as badly as he wants, you have a clear advantage over him.
Show him that what he decides makes little difference for your current situation.
In addition, never give the slightest sign of desperation. You need to be very confident to apply this technique.
#2 Playing Dumb
The smartest people you’ll ever meet are the ones who act like they don’t know much.
Pay attention to people who built their fortune from scratch. They consistently report that they are still learning. And never claim they’re perfect.
At the same time, some arrogant people think they know everything.
Just think for a moment, what will happen if you lead people to believe you know a lot?
It makes people suspect you’re smart enough to use them. But your manipulation depends on people not knowing you’re trying to manipulate them.
Often, ‘playing dumb’ can be a great advantage.
The reason is that people like a person who seems to know less than they do.
As a result, they’ll help you succeed.
#3 “You’re probably right…”
Conflict is costly.
Not getting along well with your partner, coworker, or boss will make your life miserable.
And during a critical time, you won’t get any assistance because your enemy is waiting for the right moment to get his revenge.
Do you think I’m exaggerating?
Look at how many people divorce because one partner doesn’t know how to communicate and treat the other partner well.
Think about how many people are without a job because they didn’t get along well with coworkers or bosses.
A way to deal with conflict is by just using this simple phrase, “You’re probably right…”
“You are probably right honey, in the last weeks I haven’t spent enough time with family. I have spent so many hours working on this project. But, from now on, I’ll dedicate all my weekends to you”.
“You’re probably right, Mark. I have been acting like a jerk lately. Thank you for being honest with me. And I’m sorry. I have been going through a very stressful situation. Of course, that’s not an excuse for my behavior but I’m just trying to say it won’t happen again”.
Now it’s crucial to have a sincere tone when using this technique. We don’t want the other person to think we’re being sarcastic.
When you use this tactic, you defuse the anger and open the door for a more good & sincere relationship.
It is the most important thing to know when trying to manipulate someone.
We can only be persuaded by someone we like and respect.
Just look at the ads when celebrities are telling you it’s a great product.
It’s all on who says it.
Make sure somebody likes you before manipulating them.
Sell yourself before selling your ideas.
In this way, you’ll save energy and time trying to persuade someone who won’t even listen to you.
If you’re interested in becoming extremely likable, you can check out my definitive guides.
#5 How to win most of your arguments
Often we might debate with someone about different matters.
I have an opinion, and I’m trying to convince him I’m right. He’s also doing the same thing.
It’s just a matter of time before we begin a hot debate trying to prove our point.
Which one of us will win the argument? No one.
The reason is that trying to convince someone he’s wrong rarely works.
It’s a characteristic of human beings. We don’t like to accept we’re wrong.
The rule is: If you disagree on a subject that doesn’t affect your mental, physical, or financial well-being, don’t debate.
What I’m telling you is that by avoiding arguments on unimportant subjects (politics), your opponent can’t make you stressed.
And that’s a victory for you.
You should carefully choose your battles. If you agree with them and make them like you, it’ll be easier for you to manipulate them.
You’ll realize how much mental anguish you can side-step by choosing your disagreements. You can conserve your emotional strength for the battles that matter.
#6 Quick tips for manipulating anyone
1. Try to become friends with that person
Try to talk about things you both agree on. Is he a self-made millionaire? Tell him how you had to work through college at odd jobs.
If you see areas on which you might find conflict during the conversation, pass over them lightly.
Stick to subjects you agree with.
2. Listen to his objection to your ideas
Many manipulators make the mistake of doing too much talking.
They want to take control of the situation by giving a convincing response before knowing the real objection.
Often they miss the entire point of objection and wind up arguing over some nonexistent point of disagreement.
But, by listening carefully, you have a strategic advantage.
You let him know you’re not ignoring his feelings. He feels that you care about what he thinks. In addition, you’ll better understand him.
3. Agree with his feelings and massage his ego
Your manipulate has just cut and slashed at your ideas of doing things your way. And you’ve listened through it all without talking back.
Now it’s your time to speak.
You should realize that he is challenging you. Before using logic, you should deal with his feelings. Consequently, he’ll let his guard down and suddenly be more vulnerable to your reasoning.
Don’t make the mistake of starting with “Yes, but…”
The reason is that it can trigger resentment.
Instead, say, “I don’t blame you for feeling this way. I’ve felt that myself.”
But don’t stop there…
Explain an experience that made you feel that way. By the time you get through, the other person will feel close enough to you and be more receptive to your ideas.
4. Point out the areas of agreement
You set up an agreement pattern in step 3, so keep going. No matter how much you disagree with him, I’m sure you agree on several points. So stress them.
#7 Putt a little pressure
Sometimes the target can be in a state where he can’t make up his mind.
So, it’s time to put a little pressure on and take control of the situation.
You need to realize that too much pressure might make people mad. And a mad person is hard to control.
Before using this technique, look for two indicators:
1. As you talk to him, you feel he does not disagree with you as much as when you started.
2. He can’t seem to decide.
Now, how to apply this technique?
Look at him straight in the eyes and don’t look away.
In a confident voice, give one or two strong points. Look at him in the face and tell firmly, “That’s it. You’re at a good price and it’s what you want. You know you can’t get it for less anywhere else. Now let’s do business.”
Then shut up. The one who speaks first loses. The silence will pressure him even more.
If you want a raise, say, “I’m a good employee. I make lots of money for the company. So you okay to give me a raise?” Then shut up till they replay.
During a bargaining situation, if he is indecisive, or if silence has gone for a while, assume a “yes” response.
You can do this by handling the pen to sign the contract or asking the secretary to type the contract according to your proposed terms.
Then talk about something other than the deal while you wait.
#8 Intermittent reinforcement
The most important pigeon story you’ll ever read.
Imagine a pigeon on the cage, with a bar it can peck on to get a pellet of food it likes very much.
This food is a reward for its pecking.
You might assume that the more often the pigeon received the food, the more often it would peck the bar.
But the results were different:
1. When the pigeon never got food as a reinforcement, it stopped pecking the bar altogether.
2. When the pigeon got the food, every time it pecked the bar, it only pecked the bar a moderate number of times.
3. The pigeon got the food intermittently. It means that sometimes it got the food for pecking the bar, and sometimes it got no reward for pecking. Here, the pigeon would peck the bar like crazy.
Our human nature is very similar to pigeons.
When we get reinforcement every time we see a person (when they treat us well), we begin to take that person for granted a little. Just as the pigeon only pecked on the bar moderately when given constant reinforcement.
This shows that people take for granted what they know they can have.
In the third case, the pigeon got only sporadic reinforcement for pecking the bar; the pigeon never knew whether it could have the pellets of food or not.
And this reveals a shocking fact about human behavior:
People want what they feel they could not have.
This desire is the cause of the many shortcomings people have.
This desire causes people to want products they can’t afford.
And it leads people to pursue a woman/man they can’t have.
People get addicted to gambling because they never know when/if they’re going to win.
And I know how it works because I was once addicted to soccer betting.
I place a bet almost every day. But luck isn’t on my side.
It’s unclear if I will win. This isn’t fun anymore.
Now I’m just playing to recover the money I lost.
Finally, I could win one time. The dopamine flows in my brain. Damn, it feels so good to be a winner.
Should I quit and go home?
Heck, no. I might win more…
Intermittent reinforcement it’s often used to manipulate others.
How does it work?
It occurs when a manipulator gives someone positive reinforcement (attention, praise, affection, sex, declarations of love) only randomly.
When “the reward” is given, the dopamine and other feel-good chemicals flow into their brain.
Then, when they become cold, it creates a climate of doubt, fear, and anxiety, pushing the victim to seek positive reinforcement.
If you are a victim of this trick, you will sense the manipulator is withdrawing.
They aren’t giving you attention like they used to, and you become anxious if there’s something wrong with you.
When you ask them if there’s something wrong, they’ll deny it.
Eventually, they will repeat the cycle once again.
The manipulator does this on purpose to increase the power over you. And make you desperate for their love, attention, or approval.
Source: “The Art of Manipulation” by R.B. Sparkman
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