How to make someone feel really bad (and why you might want to)
The fact you’re reading this means you’re probably a nice person at heart, and a ‘people person’. You probably love to make people feel good. Warm smiles and infectious laughter are what people expect from you. And because people feel good when they’re with you, they want to spend time with you.
But sometimes, even you need to make people feel really bad. Sometimes, you just want to!
That bad feeling can be one of the most effective ways to motivate someone to change: to change their unhealthy habits, to ditch something that makes them unhappy, or to buy your product or service to solve their problems.
People may like the idea of going for positive goals, but in fact real action (and spending) is often more strongly motivated by our desire to avoid discomfort. Remind someone of the distress their problems are causing, have them feel that real-life pain, and they are much more likely to buy your solution.
David Grove, the inventor of Clean Language (on which this technique is based) called the deepening of pain “drawing the arrow back” – the further the arrow is drawn back by an archer, the more power it has when fired at its target.
So, how can you make someone feel really bad, quickly? Here’s how:
1. Focus their attention on a specific problem they have (or have had)
2. Ask questions which highlight the physical and emotional pain it causes
3. Continue asking questions for several minutes, keeping their attention focussed on the problem and their pain.
Use their words in your questions. Don’t paraphrase! This will help you to maintain rapport, even though you’re making them feel bad. Useful questions include:
• “What kind of X?” (where X is one or more of their words)
• “Is there anything else about X?”
• “And when , then what happens?”
• “Where could come from?”
For example, if the person’s problem is that their website is poorly designed, which means they get regular calls from angry customers, ask:
• “What kind of calls?” or
• “And when you get calls from angry customers, then what happens?”
This technique is even more powerful if you notice the metaphor they use for their problem or pain, and ask questions about that. For example, if they say: “It’s like we’re under siege, with burning arrows coming in from all sides,” ask “What kind of arrows?” or “Is there anything else about that siege.”
Take care! Pay attention to the person’s state: in most business contexts, reducing someone to tears is inappropriate and would lead to embarrassment. You should stop asking questions, and start working towards solutions, well before that point.
And before you end the conversation, why not use the opposite technique to make the person feel really good? Ask the same kind of questions about something they like, such as a hobby, a pet, or a sporting success, and you’ll deepen their joy.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Judy on 05/07/2010 at 8:19 am, and is filed under Manipulation, Posts, Sales. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
about 1 year ago - 1 comment
I talk a lot about Clean Language on this blog. But you may be wondering what Clean Language is, and why it’s interesting. So (thanks to a nudge from a friend on Facebook) I’ve decided it’s time for a few short introductory YouTube videos. Here’s the first one: If you prefer to read your introduction,…
about 1 year ago - 2 comments
If you were to have a “breakthrough session”, what kind of “breakthrough” would yours be? My friend James Tripp and I were talking yesterday about how various coaches and therapists offer “breakthrough sessions” – and I must have subconsciously asked myself: “What kind of breakthrough?” because a personal story sprang to mind. (James pointed out…
about 1 year ago - No comments
Have you ever been explaining to someone how they can solve their problem… when you realise their eyes have glazed over? They’re not listening. Your plan is probably brilliant. After all, you have all the knowledge, the experience, the qualifications to provide the perfect solution. But no matter how excellent it is, it’s just not…
about 1 year ago - No comments
Peter Wright’s very kind review of my brand-new video, The Mind Readers’ Guide To Metaphor Part 1: Hearing Hidden Metaphors, is below. Look out! The video will be published any day now. Sneak peek here Metaphor is all around us. And it’s our most widely used form of language born, as it is, out of…
about 1 year ago - 1 comment
At least 95 per cent of “thinking” occurs outside our conscious awareness. All kinds of things are going on in our bodies, and in the shadows of our brains, that we’ll never become aware of. And this unconscious processing is, to a large extent, what drives our behaviours. As Daniel Wenger puts it in The Illusion…
about 2 years ago - No comments
Why don’t you ask more questions? It’s a question that’s been nagging me for a while, as I’ve been busy both exhorting people to do more asking – for example, in this video – and training people to ask specific kinds of questions. And (doh!) one possible answer has just struck me. Presumably, something’s stopping…
about 2 years ago - 5 comments
Are you living your life according to your own metaphors? Or is your system being restricted by ill-fitting second-hand ideas, images and connections? As I’ve mentioned frequently in this blog, the metaphors you use in your thinking (including your subconscious processing) have a profound impact on your behaviour. It’s inevitable, because metaphor is the language…
about 2 years ago - 3 comments
I don’t know if you’re already aware of this, but your body is doing your thinking. In the Guardian’s excellent This Column Will Change Your Life, Oliver Burkeman summarises the basic idea of embodied cognition as “the striking idea that thinking, in some sense, is done by means of the body.” Which implies that if…
about 2 years ago - 7 comments
I’ve been blogging recently about the relationship between words, physical actions, metaphor and influence. One expert who really “gets” this, who I had the privilege of meeting recently, is Mark Bowden, author of Winning Body Language. Let me share my biggest takeaway from the many useful things he taught me. It’s something I started using…
about 2 years ago - 1 comment
Your colleague’s husband’s sister can apparently make you fat, even if you’ve never met. But how does that happen? In Connected, Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler explain that there are two main ways that people may influence each other. By changing what you do… and By changing what you think. My focus has mainly been on how…