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All others we monitor."

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Provocative Statement
Quid Pro Quo
  • I'll show you mine if you show me yours
  • First, you'll need to decide what you want to talk about so that you an convincingly transition to the point where the other person becomes the logical topic of the conversation while all the while remaining essentially oblivious to how you've gotten to this point.
  • This means you'll get to the point of shaping and directing the conversation so that the focus is really on the other person.
  • If you know you're going to speak with someone who is a retired military officer, some aspects of your own military career may serve as the opening gambit that allows you to get to his career.
  • There's the issue of what is called "backstopping." This refers to how well you can appear to be the person with the history that you say you have; how well this pseudo-history can withstand the harsh light of day if someone decides they want to check you out, so see if you are who you say have.
  • We know that it's not illegal to misrepresent who you are while collecting business information. It may well be unethical, immoral, and distasteful. But it's not illegal to misrepresent your identity in the business world. If it were, 50 percent of the people we know in...business...
  • You respond with an organized, maybe even a rehearsed, statement about what's happening to your organization. Not too exciting, not too compromising, yet enough to get him to the point of reciprocity - something about his company that you can guide, using other techniques that you've stacked up.
  • But instead of telling you about what's happening at his place, your source, either in all innocence or well-placed curiosity, asks you about some further detail. You realize suddenly that you really shouldn't go much further into the topic than you already have. You want to say to the source, "Don't you realize that it's your job to tell me something now?" 
  • Decide well in advance what you're going to say as the opening gambit. Then, decide on those additional things you'll be willing to contribute to the conversation to keep it from becoming one-sided.
  • For some of us, a variant that I call the Reflected Quid Pro Quo may be the best approach. In this approach, you are referring to someone else's experience, and it becomes even easier for you to claim ignorance of the actual details - details you would be expected to have some mastery of if you had been claiming the experience as your own. And the beauty of this approach is that you can make all manner of mistakes in the construction of your relative or friend's experience. Mistakes that are natural in someone who hasn't had the experience; mistakes that can be especially useful if you're using this technique as a foundation upon which to stack some other techniques such as Naiveté or purposely False or Erroneous Statements. 
Simple Flattery
Exploiting the Instinct To Complain
Word Repetition
Quotation of Reported Facts
Oblique Reference
  • The range of potential criticism can start at the level of the most friendly, poking fun when a source is describing his military service as a helicopter pilot.
  • Your response refers to the general apprehension you'd have if you were to be flying around in an aircraft that it constructed of twenty thousand parts assembled by the lowest bidder.
  • Your source will give you a fairly quick and accurate reading on whether he deals well with criticism of something in which he has an investment. Based on that reading, you'll have calibrated his responses and you'll know whether or not to put that into your bag of tricks the next time around.
Bracketing Techniques
  • Most of the time Bracketing is one of those techniques that you keep in he back pocket of your mind until it's time to use it.
  • Let's go back to our conversation in The Cable Guy. Prior to sitting down and talking to him, we chose certain intended outcomes: What changes in programming were going to occur and what, if any, rate change hikes were going to occur?
  • Deciding on the range of numbers is critical to the use of Bracketing...The basis of good Bracketing follows the Goldilocks model of Not Too Big, Not Too Little: provide your source with a realistic range of numbers. Realistic in terms of both width and narrowness.
  • E: So, this new programming is going to be a good deal for everybody, including us. We'll probably be seeing a nice rate hike for all these lovely new programs.
  • S: Well, we've got to pass along the cost of the program content to the customer.
  • E Sure, program content costs like between five bucks and thirty-five bucks.
  • S: More on the lower end, I'd think.
  • E: Lower end like $15.
  • S: Well, closer to ten or eleven.
  • E: So, if it's ten or eleven, you'll pick up the difference for the increase in my cable service.
  • S: Actually, it's more like $13 or $13.50.
Feigned or Real Disbelief
  • Nearly everyone has a desire to be believed, regardless of whether or not they have high standards.
  • But you can't just walk up to someone and directly challenge them with your disbelief about a topic or issue.
  • The time for disbelief is well into the conversation, once you've established that elusive condition we refer to as rapport.
Purposefully Erroneous Statement
  • You'll capitalize on characteristics we have already seen: a desire to correct someone, a desire to teach someone, a desire for detail, precision, or closure.
  • The Purposely Erroneous Statement allows you to get many of the hardest pieces of the puzzle without having to attack frontally.
My Friend John
  • The "my friend John" variant came under prominence under the late great psychotherapist Milton Erickson.
  • For Erickson, my friend John meant ascribing something to someone  else altogether - some experience, some frailty, some misunderstanding, some foolish characteristic.
  • It allowed him as the psychotherapist to remove himself from active involvement in the matter at hand, to maintain a professional reserve as it were, in the interest of getting one of his more resistant clients to open up to him.
  • This variant also allows you to say quite earnestly that you really don't know the ins and outs of it, since it was your friend who had the experience, not you yourself.