Secret information? Okay, probably not much remains truly hidden or forbidden anymore, but there are little secrets about how things work. Salesmen, politicians, and others learn and use subtle techniques to influence you. “Lucky people” use little-known tricks to get that way. Here are some examples.
Controlling Through Words
There is a classic joke, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” It is difficult to answer without incriminating yourself. This technique of the implicit premise is used by politicians for more than jokes. Get everyone to argue about how to do something, for example, like win the “war” on drugs, and nobody questions if it should even be done. Implicit premises are a powerful method of control. Get in the habit of recognizing the premises hidden in political debate.
Another way to influence people is to control language. Since social security payments don’t come from actual investments, unless you call the government lending itself money “investing”, social security isn’t a “retirement fund.” Calling it that, however, makes it seem safer and more acceptable than what it is: welfare. You can see how the words used control the debate.
Our words matter. Could it be difficult politically to spend millions on “human shredder” bombs? Maybe that’s why they are called “daisy cutters.” Start paying attention, and you’ll see how words are being used to influence you.
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Hypnotic Sales Techniques
Read the following sales pitch:
“Does speaking before a crowd make you nervous? What if it was easy? Imagine standing there in front of a crowd, knowing exactly what to say to make them love you. Wouldn’t that feel wonderful? Just apply our simple methods, and you will have that power. Use the form below to ORDER RIGHT NOW.”
It starts by getting you to say yes, which is habit forming. It hints at the possibility of a solution. The word “Imagine,” in line three, gets you doing just that. Line four suggests positive emotion and gets another yes. “And” in line five infers cause and effect, that you’ll have the power BECAUSE you used their product. The last line directs you with “Use the form below.” The “order right now” is called an “embedded command,” because putting it in capitals influences you without you noticing consciously.
When I learned dozens of these techniques, I used them to re-write the sign-up page for one of my newsletters, and I got four times as many subscribers from the same traffic. Secret information or not, it is powerful stuff.
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More Secret Information
“Lucky people” create the right conditions for “luck,” by being in the right place, and around people who can help. Good salesmen use techniques like “mirroring,” and “leading,” to persuade you. Research from the new science of behavioral economics is applied by smart marketers to create methods of getting you to buy.
Secret information isn’t all about influencing others. Most industries and human activities have little-known “tricks of the trade.” Wise real estate agents sell expensive homes, for example, because they know it takes the same work as selling a mobile home, but the commission can be five times as much. Those who don’t use this “secret” struggle to make a living.
Certainly, subliminal techniques and other “forbidden knowledge” can be used for good or bad, so are they dangerous? Yes, especially if you’re not in on the secret. Why not start to gather some of your own secret information?