The art of manipulation

Do you find yourself always saying´yes´to people when they ask for favours? There are certain tactics people use to get what they want. Beware. Manipulation is everywhere and most of the time we don´t even realize it.

 

I´m going to let you in on two different techniques of manipulation which will free you from the trap of being manipulated and help you to get what you want.

 

The foot-in-the-door technique (FITD)

The foot-in-the-door technique – tested by Freedman and Fraser – refers to when someone asks for a small favour before asking for a bigger and more important one. You are more likely to comply with a larger request after granting a smaller one. The small request is called the preparatory act: it is usually free, unproblematic and it doesn´t take a lot of time. The bigger request is what we really want to ask of someone, but it will take more time and it can be more costly.

 

Here is a daily example you can use to gain a cigarette, a snus or a small amount of money. By applying the previous method, the small request could be to ask someone for the time. This is unproblematic and free so the person will not refuse. Once you have obtained the time, you can ask for what you really want.

 

Why does FITD work?

One of the reasons it works is because people want their actions to be recognised and praised. A student will say that he´s preparing for his future, when in reality he´s making a simple revision sheet. So the person, after making the first request, uses the labeling function, which means that he identifies the other´s act like “if only everybody could be as helpful as you”. After that, the bigger request will be more easily accepted as he wants to maintain this good image of himself.

 

The door-in-the-face technique (DITF)

The door-in-the-face technique –as explained by Cialdini – works differently in comparison to FITD. You have to ask someone an impos – sible thing and this request will be refused. Don´t worry, this is the strategy. After that, you can ask your real request which will be more approachable and more easily accepted. Here is an example: you want your uncle to lend you his beautiful house to celebrate your birthday with your friends. First, you have to invent something you´re sure he will refuse like: “Uncle, I would like to borrow your house once a week this year to have a party with myfriends”. Feel free to invent something which includes a long period of time. Following his refusal, maybe a few hours later, you can ask your real request: “Could you at least lend me your house to celebrate my birthday”? He will more likely accept this request.

 

Why does DITF work?

In our society, the phenomenon of reciprocity (to pay back a favour) is a basic concept. Because you accept the person´s refusal and lower your request to a more reasonable one, this is seen as a favourable act. Therefore, the person will feel obliged to accept your second favour which is more reasonable than the first, but nevertheless still costly. He would feel guilty to reject two favours at once, as this would ruin both his image and his relationship with you.

 

To be or not to be (manipulated)

Obviously, these techniques can´t work every time but you will surely be more successful if you use the preparatory act. Be careful and look out for these tactics when people are trying to manipulate you. You can also train yourself to become someone to be wary of: someone who gets their way with others. But don´t over use these techniques.

 

 

 


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