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The Art of Split-Second Persuasion

Kevin Dutton

Male bell frogs spend their evenings, and quite a lot of energy, trying to attract females by the quality of their call. But at the end of an evening the big boy is pretty stuffed, and if a picky female waits too long to approach, the pair may get ambushed by a smaller frog who has waited quietly in the dark and who kicks off the exhausted male and takes his place.

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Job Center very high tension place where worker's unemployment pay issues sorted. Most of the front desk people got attacked both physically and verbally. Except for one guy, who had a simple secret. He literally sat on his hands while other guy vented. His seat was lower, so other guy could talk down to him.And once things had calmed down a bit, he would look the in the eye, these angry, crazy people, and smile. And he would touch them, once, on the arm. The gestures he used are very similar to the submission poses that animals use to defuse conflict situations.

When you want someone to let you into a stream of traffic, the trick is to make eye contact with the other driver. Michael Caine, when starting out as an actor, trained himself not to blink during close-ups. He reasoned that audience wanted to be paid attention to, and the director would be less likely to cut those bits of the scene. Newborn babies have innate preference to look at eyes - part of their charm (literally) that they are super-focused on their new parents.

Anatomy professor questions her class: "What part of the human anatomy swells to twice its normal size when aroused?" (embarrassed silence) "No!" she says "It's the pupil!".

Pink is a tranquillising colour. It produces a unique pattern of brain waves. Police use a particular shade, Baker-Miller pink to calm down angry drunks. The U of Iowa picked up on this fact and painted changing room of visiting football team same shade in a bid to make players less competitive. The governing sports body responded with an edict which said you could paint change rooms any colour you liked, as long as both were the same.

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Con men use distraction to sneak something past your guard. Listening to flattery from a charmer imposes a large cognitive load, meaning there is less brain processing power left to handle critical thinking like reality checking. You can make it work in your favour when you're trying to detect if someone is lying. The more you can give someone to think about, the less resources he can use to conceal the truth. Standard police procedure fo interrogators to be called out of room for some 'new information', thickly padded dossiers with suspect's name on it left in view etc.

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Rephrase $20 note auction with a dollar coin, all bids in cents. Highest bidder gets the coin, but underbidder has to pay the lecturer amount of final bid. (If you haven't seen this story before, what happens is the bidding gets to 51 cents, and then everyone wakes up to the fact they are on a bad trip, and everyone except top two bidders drop out. But those two are captured, because the underbidder will lose (often more than a dollar.)

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Guy getting married. Everything's fine except bride has a hot and flirtatious younger sister. Week before wedding guy finds himself alone in house with the sister.Suddenly she rubs up to him and suggests they pop upstairs for a quickie. Guy panics. What to do? He races outside, and there's the whole family on the front lawn.They burst into applause. "Well done, my boy" says father-in-law "I'm glad that you could resist temptation. I'm proud to have you as son-in-law." And his fiance similar sentiments. The moral of the story? Always leave your condoms in the car.

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Studies show that people who ask a precise price for their house - such as $596,500 - as opposed to $600,000 consistently get closer to asking price.

Guy working for telemarketing company ditched manual. Instead opened conversation by asking "Are you superstitious?" The key being that you have to keep them on the line if you are to sell them anything. Usually they say no. "Well then will you send me #13.13?" Then they laugh and go "Who is this?" So then I'm in. But I don't try to hard sell them anything - I say "Look I know you want to go and watch TV, and I know you probably don't want any building work done, but do you know anyone - any friends or family or friends of friends - who might?" Because I've made them laugh and because they think I've done them a favour by letting them off the hard sell, they usually give me a couple of names or ask me to ring back after they've made a couple of calls. And I make a point of asking them if it's ok to call them back, and they say "Yes". Sounds trivial, but it turns it into a contract. So the next calls you make are referrals.

Local church gossip attacked another church member because she'd seen his van parked outside a local bar. Guy didn't say anything. That evening he parked his van outside her place and left it there all night.

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Give people false feedback about something can induce them to behave consistently with that feedback, good or bad.

Stockholm Syndrome. Consistency and Reciprocity. Conciliatory gestures by captor sets up an imbalance in mind of captive between negative feelings toward captor and positive actions of captor. Powerless to change actions of captor, only thing captive can change is their own attitude, thus restoring cognitive consistency. Add in reciprocity - kindness should be repaid - and results devastating.

John Cleese eulogy at Graham Chapman funeral 1989 "Graham Chapman, co-author of the parrot sketch, is no more. He has ceased to be. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. He's kicked the bucket, snuffed it, breathed his last and gone to meet the great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky. And I guess that we're all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, of such unusual intelligence, should suddenly now be spirited away at the age of only 48 before he'd achieved many of the things of which he was capable and before he'd had enough fun. Well i feel I should say "Nonsense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries." And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn't. If I threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Anything for him but mindless good taste. "I can hear him whispering in my ear last night as I was writing this. 'All right Cleese,' he was saying 'you're very proud of being the first person to say shit on British television. If this service is really for me, then I want you to be the first person ever at a British memorial service to say fuck."

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Statements which rhyme are perceived as more truthful and genuine. Suggest that that's because brain doesn't have to work as hard to process information.

Oasis concert in Manchester couldn't complete because power failure, so offered to refund tickets. 20,000 fans took him up on offer - a potential cost of over £ 1 million.Oasis sent out checks signed by both Liam and Noel Gallagher, and bearing a unique 'Bank of Burnage' (where concert held) logo. A they expected, few fans cashed them.

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Man walks into a bar, his attractiveness rated 15% higher if with pretty girl. Same effect in animal kingdom - birds and fish prefer to mate with a male they've seen mating with a dummy. Because it's a mental shortcut - if other females are interested, he must be good.

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We are slaves to self-interest. Imagine this expt. You, along with 30 others who are strangers, are put in individual cubicles which have only a large red button. You are not allowed to communicate with the others. So here's the deal: if, at the end of ten minutes nobody has pressed their button, each of you gets $1000. But, anyone can press their button at anytime, they will get $100 and rest of you will get nothing. What is your best strategy? You must recognize that chances are very high that one of the 30 is going to hit their button. Can you afford to take the risk? No. Because if you can figure this out, so can others. You must hit that button as quick as you can.

The art of surprise. English lawyer once cross-examining a guy claiming arm injury from an accident. Instead of an aggressive attack, lawyer polite and conciliatory. Then "Will you please show the court how high you're able to lift your arm now - after the accident in question?" Guy painfully raises his arm near shoulder level. "Thank you," says lawyer "Now could you show us how high you could lift it before the accident?" Plaintiff's arm shoots up above his head .....

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Partisans. Study of strong Democrat and Republican voters. Collected 12 statements where George Bush or John Kerry had obviously contradicted themselves. The contradictions were blindingly obvious to an neutral observer, and the Bush ones to a Democrat, and the Kerry ones to a Republican. But oblivious to silly things their own candidate said. And when put them in an MRI scanner showed that the discordant statements initially set off the rational thinking part of brain as subject tried to reconcile discrepancy with his prejudice, but then the emotional part very quickly overwhelmed the thinking, and then the area of the brain associated with reward circuits kicked in. So not only did the emotions overrule the rational, the brain rewarded itself for doing so.

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Two beggars in NY subway on opposite sides of sidewalk. One is dressed in rags and has sign saying Homeless and hungry - please help. Opposite is a guy in pinstripe suit grinning smugly and carrying sign Filthy rich and want more! Strangely enough he's getting virtually nothing while guy in rags is creaming it. Turned out they were working together. If just one beggar people just ignored him. But the second guy catches eye because so incongruous, and sets up internal Q: "Why would I give to this smug rich guy when I can give to the poor guy? OK I better give something to the poor guy."

Importance of using the right words. If they're sports fans, they'll respond to persuasion laced with sports imagery. But if not, it will turn them off.

Anthony Hopkins story. Shortly after Silence of the Lambs released, he was in Wales with nothing to do so dropped into small local cinema showing the film and sat down the back. During the climax of the film when Hannibal Lector escapes and blood stained elevator comes into view, Hopkins noisily opened a bag of crisps. Pissed off, the two women in front of him turned round to give him a piece of their mind...... They had to all an ambulance to revive them.

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Capras delusion - belief that loved ones have been substituted by aliens. Cotard delusion - that you are dead.

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Incongruity overwhelms. Selling xmas cards, quoted price in cents, then immediately "It's a bargain!". Selling cup cakes by describing them as 'half cakes' then immediately "They're delicious!" - customers so bamboozled by the nonsense that's just preceded it that they forget to be sceptical of the next statement.

More books on Business and Selling

Smokers confront two facts 'I smoke' and 'smoking kills'. They deal with it by focusing on the perceived benefits 'It helps me relax' and 'all my friends smoke'and downplay the risks 'It only affects older people' 'I'll give up soon'.

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Religion involves a huge psychological investment. Years of self-identity and social network. Could you sell up and start again from scratch?

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