Talking to George

Today I am going to tell you about an interesting combination of persuasion tools I discovered.

In my journey through the Persuasion Reading List, I came to Hypnosis and Accelerated Learning by Pierre Clement. For anyone new to persuasion, Pierre Clement is the hypnotist who taught Scott Adams when he was in his twenties. So I wanted to read whatever he wrote.

Unfortunately, the book is some combination of rare and popular, probably because everyone making their way through the reading list wants a copy. It’s priced at over $1,000 USD on Amazon. Whoa. So I had to find another way to learn from Clement.

The route I found was a (presumably smaller) writing by Clement titled Hypnosis and Power LearningIt’s only 138 pages long. The book is mostly self-hypnosis exercises which cover things from removal of test anxiety to memory to relaxation.

One of these exercises gifted me something incredible.

You are given a practice exercise. They mostly start the same way. Lay down on the floor, relax your body, and use one of three suggested methods to go deeper into a trance.

By this point, I had practiced the relaxation and the deepeners. The new part was trying to smell a rose on command. It worked for me but only mildly so.

Then I tried what Clement calls “Talking to George.” Something about the exercise immediately stood out to me. It involves imagining an army drill sergeant shouting at a private named George. You have the drill sergeant command George to make the rose smell stronger next time. And uh, lemme tell ya. At least in my head, it works really well

The realization hit me about a week later.

If you are studied in persuasion, you’ve probably read Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini. The book details six principles of persuasion. One of those principles is authority.

When you read sensory information in a story, or hear it in a conversation, your brain can only understand it by translating it into those senses. So my intuition is that, just like visual persuasion, the principles influence you even if it’s all in your head.

As an example, if you imagine President Trump telling a crowd of people that “Roly Poly writes a great blog, you can agree with that,” well. I appreciate you reading my blog, I really do. The crowd cheers in agreement.

If this works as well as I think it does, I hope the idea doesn’t travel too far. I like the Twitter persuasion sphere. Just keep it between us.

You can buy Hypnosis and Power Learning on Amazon here because you know exactly what I’m doing in this sentence.





Persuasion: Connecting the Dots

This blog post is going to connect some dots in the three dimensional world of persuasion. You need to understand Cialdini’s Influence principles and Presuasion to get the full effect of this blog post. Hypnotism training would probably handle the presuasion part too but I don’t know because I haven’t done that yet.

If you want to begin seeing things the way I do, I’ll tell you about a little bunch of pictures I’ve been looking at for almost a decade — since I learned that the brain is a bundle of neurons.

Simple image. You imagine a bunch of dots. Some are connected, some aren’t. You can rearrange the connections however you like. It’s just an image to represent other ideas later.

Part of your brain stores the things about you that you like. So give one of those dots a color to represent something you love to do with your time. It can be a happy little neuron all for you.

Now you’re talking to someone new. They start talking about their favorite hobby — and it’s one of those things you like. In order to understand what they’re saying, you probably look at them. Even if you don’t, at the very minimum, your ears have to send a signal to light up some dots and process the conversation. One is the dot you use to store things you like about you.

This is called Liking.

New scene. You have another arrangement of dots in the picture. Some are connected, some aren’t. In this case, one of the dots connects to somewhere off beyond the bounds of your imagination. You don’t know where it goes but you do know it controls your actions.

This dot also connects to a bunch of other dots, and all of those connect to one big important dot that is very, very old. This dot is the concept of your earliest caregivers. Your parents.

Now you’re talking to someone new. They start talking in a familiar tone of voice, or use a turn of phrase that you can tell has been around for many decades. And something about the way they’re standing tells you — in a subconscious way that would not consciously translate into these words — “Listen up.” In order to understand what they’re saying, your eyes and ears send signals to light up a bunch of dots. Some of them happen to be connected between your parents* and your behavior. And without question, off you go.

This is called Authority.

New scene. Your dots are all disconnected for now, but some have worked together before. You aren’t sure what the combinations all do yet.

Now you’re talking to someone new. You believe some things off in another part of your brain, and the person seems to agree with you. So you fire up a pattern of dots to agree back. And they fire a new pattern to agree a few moments later. One or two send a signal off somewhere outside of your imagination and your finger twitches. A moment has passed and some other possible combinations are gone for good.

This is called Commitment.

New scene with a bunch of red clustered in a corner. These are some dots your brain came with.

The stranger with similar hobbies, who suddenly seems to have a brighter smile, has to leave soon. Your bundle of red dots pulse quickly and your biochemistry changes.

This is called Scarcity.

New scene and we have just a few dots in two separate groups. One has a visual of another person next to it. The other is you.

This person gives you a gift. The dots next to your friend fire away and one of your dots lights up like a Christmas tree. You can feel gratitude flow through you. The rest gently wiggle as you imagine ways to make their dots light up in return.

This is called Reciprocity.

New scene with your group of dots from before, with many other groups of dots around it. Remember that all of these dots are in your head, even though you might think they aren’t.

You are standing with a group of friends and they are all agreeing about something you disagree with. The groups of dots in your head fire over and over. Even though they do not initially turn on in unison, they slowly begin to beat in sync. The ones that didn’t light up at all are shining bright.

This is called Social Proof.

You might believe I was discussing Influence here. That is true. But I also indirectly told you about a part of Presuasion.

Each of the examples describes a pattern of neurons firing together. That’s association forming.

Each of the examples also describes the effect of repetition. Your brain wires and rewires itself over time. Whatever configuration exists at the time is the one a persuader will work with.

You can also go back and find “acting together” and “being together” hiding in the pages.


*There are many classes of people I could put here. Just an example.

Handling A Fictional Objection

I have more ideas about persuasion than I have opportunities to practice. So my usual habit is to practice in my imagination.

This story is incomplete. I’m giving the minimum details required to make sense. If you like this format, tweet me and I’ll do another.

Now suppose someone just rejected an offer you made. Here’s one way you could handle it.

Agree with their objection and tell them, “I know you have a few reasons to decline. You can think of new ways this could work out in the next few days and let me know as they come to you.”

Then affirm that you’ll contact them at a later date to discuss the matter again.

“I know you have a few reasons…” paces the objection.

“You can think of new ways this could work out…” leads into a suggestion that stimulates creative thinking.

And finally “…in the next few days and let me know as they come to you” adds some time based scarcity. If your offer had some value, their mind probably picked up on it. So you can let the issue go for a few days while the recipient thinks about it before you come back.

I actually don’t know what to do after someone walks away from the table, so there’s that.

If you liked this post, follow me on Twitter. And you might like to check out these fellows too because they are more persuasive than I am: @ScottAdamsSays, @JasonL3d, and @x808beats.

Trump and Chimp Politics

Yesterday via Periscope, Scott Adams discussed President Trump’s recent trip to Asia. I’ll link it at the end of the post. The part I’m talking about is from the start to about 14:30.

If you are a student of persuasion like me, you know that Adams offers credible insight into world events. And as I listened to him speak, I recognized a pattern that I became familiar with in my early days of studying persuasion.

The Persuasion Reading List covers a lot of ground. I imagine most readers of this blog post have read at least part of the list already. I like that, so I’ll tell you about a book that is not on the list that you might be interested in.

Somewhere in the early days of Periscope, Adams mentioned a book that Newt Gingrich recommends to new congressional Republicans. It sounded interesting so I ordered it as supplemental material. It ended up being one of my favorite books on persuasion.

By now you’re wondering which book.

The book is called Chimpanzee Politics. Google shows me that Gingrich started recommending it as early as 1995. And you know might know that Gingrich was a great politician. But that’s the past. Let’s think about now.

You rarely get an opportunity to watch humans compete for power. The parts of the pattern are too spread out, and you get lost in your bias. Unless it’s televised and your leader is clearly the winner. Then you’re fine.

But the problem remains if you haven’t read the book. Before you can see examples of a pattern, you have to know what to look for. So I’ll tell you about the pattern and you can decide to learn more if you want to.

Chimpanzee Politics tells the story of an animal researcher, Frans de Waal, studying chimps in a zoo. I recall there is something like 34 of them in total. De Waal observes patterns in how they greet each other, ducking low after approaching to show respect.

I actually decided to cut something out about the chimps’ conflicts. I won’t spoil the details because the story is very good. But the researcher says his notes show a clear pattern: In the months leading up to a big fight, the frequency of respectful greetings dropped lower and lower.

It is clear that if chimps are similar to us, the respect you show for others is an important variable in your status. While De Waal does not directly say this, the idea is that if you want to climb the ranks, you give respect, gratitude and other social goods to the people you want to have your back later. This is a story you can see play out in office buildings, school yards and your nation’s centers of power.

Now we return to President Trump’s trip to Asia.

We watched Trump visit China for a special dinner. He was the first leader to dine in the Forbidden City since 1949. So the Chinese leadership showed him respect.

Then the Trump family brought Ivanka’s daughter, Arabella, onto the scene. She speaks Mandarin, which Adams points out as affirmable evidence that the Trump family believes China will be important in the future. That’s a form of respect. Arabella will probably be popular with the Chinese population too.

Another small but important detail you can pick up on after reading Chimpanzee Politics is the way President Trump addressed Chinese trade practices. Instead of trying to bully, shame, or scold, he treated them as equals. That would probably feel a lot better for the Chinese leadership than the alternatives.

I also saw @ThomasWictor point out that Trump seems to leave his own security and put his life in the hands of the host country’s, at least at times. This too is a show of respect that you can only see if you understand how to look. It sends a message of trust while being totally safe — you know that the country receiving him would be embarrassed and in for a bad time if something happened.

So that’s what I see through a lense of respect and power.

I recommend this book as a followup to Cialdini’s “Influence” because the concept of reciprocity ties in well.

You can buy Chimpanzee Politics here.

Observing Frame Games, A Persuader

This page details a twitter thread by @FrameGames. I am a big fan of his persuasion. All I know about him is that he supposedly is in law. I say supposedly because I have no way of knowing for sure. Whoever he is, he knows how to politic.


He writes, “Google/Facebook/globalist control of the Internet is THE biggest threat in the world. The Internet is the soil where the AltRight grew. Before the Internet, the only permitted world of ideas was MSM. It was CNN or nothing. Now, globalists can make the whole Internet CNN.”

That text is tweets 4 and 5 of a 30-something tweet long thread. It is context. But note the frame within which he presents the thread. “Control of the Internet,” “Threat,” and “Global.” The sentence excites the reader’s instinct to resist external control. (I do not consider the soil metaphor particularly important.)

“Before the Internet, the only permitted world of ideas was MSM.” He moves us into a story in the “Before [event], people had less power” prototype. It frames the MSM as a tyrant. And everyone knows that we must resist a tyrant.

“It was CNN or nothing.” A binary choice and one that you are inclined to dislike. Along with the “global” theme, FrameGames furthers his framing of this as a binary story. Simple, and so, your mind has less “exits” for resistance to take you out of it.

This context ties nicely with the sentence, “Now, globalists can make the whole Internet CNN.” A conclusion of the miniature story in the context. But, it is a cliffhanger. You might pick up on this consciously, or it could be subliminal, but it feels like you are invited to influence the outcome.

Unpleasant Truth

These next tweets reaffirm what was already in the reader’s mind, if they read this far.

  1. THIS IS A POWER STRUGGLE. They plan to kill our voice by de-platforming us for EVERYWHERE. There is only one option now:

  2. We must ORGANIZE. Like Alinsky in the 60s. We must meet in each other’s houses. In bars. In basements. Plot. Scheme. Campaign. COMMUNITY

  3. Recognize that the WHOLE battle starts & ends at the fight to speak freely & not be no-platformed or fired for it. Redpills would abound


This is a battle cry. First, he explains the context’s theme explicitly. A power struggle.

As a side note, my own commentary on this topic: In a colony of ants, there is no management. All of the ants are doing whatever they want to do. It just so happens that their programming collectively leads to a colony.

In this frame he portrays SJWs, globalists, deep state, etc. as a collective “they” with a plan. Each word in that sentence is persuasion genius. The reader is primed to view things as a binary us-vs-them “resist the oppressor” theme. And notice the verb choice, “kill,” which feels dangerous. As if “they” will actually end a part of you by limiting your expression (“voice”). That’s how it’s intended to feel, and it does just that. Then “de-platforming” fits because you certainly got to the message via a social media platform. So you are paced on that point before the conclusion, “EVERYWHERE.”

By now you are thoroughly on board with the writer, or not. He has a strong feeling and sense of values in the writing, so he either paces you really hard in preparation for leading, or you turn and click away immediately. So wherever he goes next, if you’re coming along too, he’s bringing every part of you with him. And he says there is only one option now. One frame that works, and some urgency too! Now…

  1. We must ORGANIZE. Like Alinsky in the 60s. We must meet in each other’s houses. In bars. In basements. Plot. Scheme. Campaign. COMMUNITY

A call to organize. Direction. You are being commanded now. The writer uses an Alinsky analogy to explain. By association, however, it gets the feeling right too. You are part of a resistance, and your help is needed to save free speech. You can do it, too. And as his short. Punctuated. Words. Suggest. It might even be fun.

And continuing in his commanding frame, “Recognize…” speaks directly to how he wants you to view the battle for free speech. It is the right to speak without being banned, moderated or being concerned for your job. Those are social fears, and fears rooted in a sense of security for your wellbeing. So he stirs your emotions, as good persuaders do, to resist an enemy. (Ties it with a red pill reference for the audience he probably knows he has. Anyone who’s made it this far and doesn’t know what red pill means, just got red pilled.)


Wherein the writer introduces his plan.

  1. We have to treat the struggle for AltRight speech equality on major networks/platforms like Blacks did the 1960s civil rights movements.

  2. To do that, we must FOCUS FIRE in TARGETED CAMPAIGNS. That means being ORGANIZED. That means when you tweet, tweet TOWARDS A CAMPAIGN.

This is a mindset edit and a call to action. Also a hilarious analogy if anyone on the left makes it that far into his thread. Imagine their face.

Anyway, the mindset is about keeping things secret. The frame itself adds a feeling of virtue to the message. “You are doing the right thing.” And as a call to action, the second tweet I pasted there includes strategy and direction for the readers he is leading. (This guy would do great with a larger audience.)

And some caution about what not to do, condensed for readability:

“DO NOT shout angrily into the abyss. Rather, find or create a COMMUNITY & have everyone in the community act as one. SHOW MARKET POWER. Shouting angrily into the abyss will just BLACKPILL you. It will make you disenchanted with life. You’ll lose friends, job, even spouse”

These two tweets show emotional and social awareness. He understands political tribalism, at least on an intuitive level. When people know you have polarized values that do not match theirs, they avoid you. So he is showing anyone who would be persuaded by him that there are hazards to be avoided. On a more meta level, it shows an understanding of persuasion.

Side note for any American readers: Are there people who get so into free speech activism that they lose their marriage over it?

This only gets us to tweet 12 in a 33 tweet thread. I might do part 2 later. You can read the whole thread by @FrameGames here.


It would be ironic if someone tried to get me in trouble for writing this.

Commercial Grade Analysis: Ableton Live

In this post I analyze some common tools used to make an ad more persuasive.

The ad in question is showing off a new music program called Ableton Live. I’ve actually been using the product for over five years and it is a great tool for music. So I’m glad they’ve got a convincing advertisement.

Click the video to get started.

Now the analysis…

The actress bobs her head in sync with the music.

You are more inclined to believe what a person tells you if their whole body is communicating it at once.

A liar might wave his arms feigning excitement while he tells you something about a product, but his forehead will sweat mysteriously. Subconsciously, you notice it’s out of place. Meanwhile, someone firm in their convictions sounds confident and acts naturally, because it comes from an internal source of sincerity. This is called congruence.

In the commercial, the actress is dancing to the music she is making. Musicians want to feel like they’re gonna dance to their own sounds, even if most of a producer’s time is spent in the same position, moving a mouse around. So when you watch her bob her head to the sound in the video, the feeling sells better, even if I know it’s an ad.

The actor’s haircut makes you think of The Weekend.

It seems possible that this is an accident. But I doubt it.

The Weekend is a huge icon in music at the moment. His success is massive. He is Hollywood gold, and most musicians are at least aware of him. Others, like me, have friends who are huge fans of his music.

By association, The Weekend communicates wealth, success, and status. And by association, that haircut communicates The Weekend.

You notice that the camera begins its shot of the actor from behind. That gives you a mental moment of anticipation. “Oh my god, could it be him? In an Ableton commercial?!”

Okay. Eminem is here now. Above section confirmed.

I was mildly skeptical of what I wrote above until I got to the next scene. It’s two white dudes and the blonde one has a dorky bowl cut. Total Eminem lookalike.

In this scene they’re channeling more celebrity associations via what you might call a “Stunt Double Maneuver.” This saves the ad agency the high fee of hiring the actual person, but channels the same recognition factor.

It might even work better because your brain has to do some work to get there. If addint a little typo in your sentences keeps your attention on it longer, and attention is influence, well…

A Few Questions To Ask Company Representatives

As a student of persuasion, I’ve had a few sales jobs to get in person experience.

Sometimes representatives of a company will deliberately withhold information to successfully book an appointment time or close a sale. They do this because disclosing certain details will lose them customers if they are communicated before enough commitments.

I know this, so I typically ask salesmen and service reps to figure out if they are being completely honest.

Note that it is impossible to communicate an exact idea of how something will go, unless you want a very, very long conversation. So you have to be selective about what you focus on. The difference is that you, the reader, will want to focus on things that matter to you, while the company rep will have their own interests in mind.

To be clear, a person can be honest with conscious effort and still leave out details that would be important to you. Sometimes details are left out because the person you are speaking to didn’t do a perfect job. That’s okay because nobody is perfect.

But sometimes the details are left out on purpose. When they are left out on purpose, it’s up to you to be aware, ask detailed questions, and be perceptive of how the person replies.

This example will be about booking a technical service installation at your residence. But it can generalize to anything.

Suppose you are talking to a representative for an Internet provider. You are about to agree to an installation date for their services. You ask how long it will take and they reply, “Installations take approximately two hours.” This is tactic number one, and a common response that would satisfy most people. But it leaves out some details, so consider the next two questions for your own use. Ask: How long can it take if there are issues? Will the company commit to a maximum length of time, so you can complain if they go over?

Or consider this possible response from the rep: “Our service team is trained to handle the installation as quickly as possible.”

Note that in this case, there is no specific length of time mentioned. Most people want the technician to take as little time as possible. Failing that, people generally prefer to have an honest estimate of how long an installation will take. They definitely prefer it to being lied to, or given incomplete information, even if it doesn’t feel good to hear it.

Salesmen seem not to know this, or pretend they don’t. What they do know is that you want to spend as little time as possible getting things taken care of (because it’s true). So they are usually trained to avoid telling you that it may, in fact, take a long time. But I have good news. You can squeeze the info out of ’em, if you know how. Questions like…

“What can I expect for a minimum and maximum length of time on the installation?”

Now that question is good, but we can make it even better. If you can pre-empt that question with this one:

“You are committed to honest and quality communication, right?”

And then maybe this one:

“Okay. Now how would I contact one of your superiors if the information you gave me was incomplete?” (Yes, I do enjoy this.)

Those two questions together make asking for a commitment on a minimum and maximum length of time way more effective.

Notice how asking for specific details is different after you’ve had them affirm their honesty and give you their manager’s contact information. It’s no guarantee if the employee knows their manager will be on their side, but it may help. Either way you can then say, “Your employee said he would be completely honest about the results, and this was not included.”

If you don’t want to remember specific questions, the simplified idea is:

  1. Notice when useful information is missing.
  2. If you notice anything missing, ask about it.

Bonus points if you confirm there will be consequences for misinformation. Your negotiating position is way stronger if you ask tough questions beforehand. If you don’t ask, they can say, “Oh, it’s too bad, you didn’t ask.”