6 WAYS PEOPLE MANIPULATE YOU AND HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF
No one likes to be manipulated, but it’s really a part of life. We are all selling and convincing others about our ideas and ourselves every day! Where manipulation goes wrong is when it is used with “evil intent”. So, if we can learn about the most common manipulation tactics, we can become immune to them!
Once we go through these, you’ll see them everywhere: commercials, politicians, even pushy friends. Some people are naturals, others have studied the craft. These tactics all come from Robert Cialdini’s timeless book, Influence. So, let’s free ourselves from being manipulated.
Tactic #1: Reciprocating
We subconsciously feel pressured to repay those who have done something for us. Have you ever gotten a gift for Christmas without having anything to give back? Awkward, right? Sales people will do this by offering free trials, or giving away samples. Tricky friends will buy you a beer before asking for cash. Keep your eyes out, and remember, you CAN say politely say no!
Tactic #2: Commitment and Consistency
This is an absolute favorite in sales. Getting people to say yes to small stuff before asking for big stuff makes it more likely to get
another yes! Or, if someone asks how you’re doing, and you say great, they might ask if you’re great enough to give ‘em a ride somewhere. Tough to back out. Again, it’s fine to say no. Take pauses in between the questions people ask you to make sure you aren’t feeling pressured.
Tactic #3: Social Proof
Humans are pack animals, and this tactic can be really, really powerful. We tend to follow the leader and the crowd. But it goes deeper than that. The more people we see doing something, the more we believe it’s the right thing to do. It’s why laugh tracks make you think those terrible jokes might actually be funny, or why bartenders fill their tip jars with money before the shift. Don’t be a follower, be a leader. Whenever you see “the pack” moving in a certain direction, make sure it’s something that you know is the right thing to do.
Tactic #4: Likability
Probably the most innocent but powerful of these tactics, we simply trust people we like! People who look good, compliment you, stay positive, keep in contact with you, or are similar people to us are all likable. Likable people are awesome, and fun to be around! But keep the request seperate from the requestor. Just be wary that, even if they don’t know it, they might be steering you down the wrong path.
Tactic #5: Authority
We’ve all seen how badly it can go when we listen to the wrong authority figures. Combined with social proof, leaders can create irreparable damage. It’s really heartbreaking. Authority figures will turn their opinions into statements of fact. They will say these things forcefully, and with great passion. Ask yourself if this person is really an expert in what they’re talking about. Remember, authority figures are just people like you and I.
Tactic #6: Scarcity
Humans are more likely to avoid pain than to seek pleasure. Basically, the thought of losing something motivates us more than the thought of gaining something with similar value. This is why “limited time offers” and “only a few products left” work so well. We don’t want to miss out! This is a tough one to beat, but you need to realize that you are never getting a “deal”. 20% off something means you still spend 80% of your money on something you might not have wanted to if there wasn’t a deal.
You can battle scarcity by being proactive, and understanding what you really want in life ahead of time. Then, when opportunities come along, you can jump on the right ones and ignore the wrong ones.
Hopefully this has helped you understand and combat manipulation in your own life. You can use these tactics on your own for good or evil. We know you’ll make the right choice. 😉