…on Facebook, Twitter, and Email
By Adam Kornblum
Trying to influence human behavior is hard enough to do in person, but at least when you’re in person you can take advantage of bio feedback and body language to come up with a strategy. In the online world, though, trying to persuade someone to do something or get someone to like you is a whole different matter.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or good old-fashioned email, online communications are tricky because you have to rely solely on text to strike an emotional chord and create rapport.
As some background, I invented my first board game and kindly convinced the CEO of Hasbro — the company behind such board game classics as Monopoly, Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, Battleship, etc. — to buy the rights to it (via Facebook messages) and then release it to the public [Wall Street Journal]. During the course of this, I discovered an Internet persuasion method – utilizing Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques. (For those of you who don’t know, Neuro-Linguistic programming is a form of psychological hypnosis.)
Whether you’re trying to meet someone online, trying to pitch a journalist, or are attempting to get a job, these methods can be effective, and I urge you to give them a shot.
So where do you start in trying to create rapport with someone online?
1. Mirror their language.
Keep this in mind as a universal truth – everyone’s favorite topic is themselves. So hold up a mirror to the person you’re speaking with and let them see that you’re just like them. Just as in in-person meetings, mirroring someone’s body language, if done naturally, can create strong rapport.
Using a similar method with words can be just as effective. This means use similar words to the ones that the people you’re communicating with use, make your format and paragraphs appear like theirs, but don’t be obvious. If you notice they obsessively use dashes, use some dashes, too. The trick here is to make it appear natural and make the person believe you are just like them.
2. Pay Attention to Detail.
Do the people you’re communicating with start a message with “Hi,” “Hey” or “Hello”? Pay attention to these details because they matter. You’re trying to speak on the same wavelength, so make sure when they read your message, you’re using similar words so they subconsciously think to themselves, “I think the same way.”
3. Categorize the person you’re speaking with.
This uses a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique, a form of psychological hypnosis. Let me explain.
You can categorize a person’s communication style according to four different categories:
How do you know what person is in what category? Look at the words they use in their messages, tweets, emails, etc., and see which of the categories below they fit under.
People can certainly fit into more than one category, but they will let you know what they are by the words they use. But never assume if someone writes to you in a more auditory way one day, they’ll do the same the next day. Always pay attention, be prepared to adapt, and don’t make assumptions.
Observe Patterns: Observe the pattern in which people use the words in a sentence as well. Personally speaking, when I’m not sure how to categorize a person, I tend to default to digital or kinesthetic words. Take these examples:
A person sends you this message: “Thanks for reaching out. Let’s chat soon.”
Analysis of Message
They used a kinesthetic word (“reaching”) in their first sentence, and an auditory word (“chat”) in their second sentence.
Response to Message
Follow this pattern with your response and change the words up using the Online Hypnosis Thesaurus above. You could reply with this:
“Thank you for being in touch (kinesthetic word). I’m available when you’re ready to talk (auditory word).”
Something to keep in mind, each category (visual, auditory, kinesthetic or digital) has stereotypical personality traits. Knowing these personality traits will help you create rapport or, in a worst-case scenario, break rapport.
That being said, once you create online rapport, play it cool, seem interested, appear to have value that you can bring to their life, and make a suggestive hint at meeting. Make them ask you…
Influencing behavior through online communications will never be as easy as they are through face-to-face meetings, but these methods can give you an inside track.
It has revealing personality tests, fun physical challenges, social intelligence questions, secret persuasion missions (Neil’s favorite), handwriting analysis and palm-reading games, partner-based conspiracies, and more.