Tell The Truth in Your Story

I’ve always been fascinated by Influence, how leaders or influencers get us to take an action they prefer. Which means I’ve sat through more “get-rich-quick” pitches than you likely would. It was interesting, and I’ve learned a lot. Naturally, many of these pitches simply lie to make us believe something will work for us.

Some, however, tell the truth, but in a way we don’t expect. So we naturally tend to omit it as it doesn’t fit our expectation. Literally, one such “commercial” on a YouTube video I watched said, “If you’re saying to yourself ‘this is too good to be true’, just click the link below and I’ll show you it is.”

In NLP, we’d call that a scope ambiguity. Was he saying he’d show you how “it is” too good to be true? Or that in fact “it is” true?

He could claim the latter, but he also just admitted to the former.

One of the interesting things in our social-media-driven world is that even skilled content producers let the curtain slip. Remember The Wizard of Oz and how The Great and Powerful Oz said to “ignore the man behind the curtain!” The truth is that, unless we are true sociopaths, our human decency wants to speak the truth–as far as we understand it.

For those of us who were working with perceptions prior to the advent of social media, that comes as no surprise. We too found that, when searching for commonalities with our clients, finding shared experiences upon which we could bond, pace, prior to leading, that truth matters. I’ve observed people who hadn’t yet learned this, and miraculously, they would find shared experiences with anyone, pacing elements so far-fetched as to obviously be manufactured. People are actually pretty smart, and most catch on to such gambits. Meaning, it’s not worth it. For the momentary illusion of connection, your credibility is lost and the other person not only doesn’t find rapport with you now, they know not to allow it, going forward.

On the other hand, once we train our minds to seek out commonality, common experiences, shared group memberships, and so forth, by all means, use them. But that’s the difference–they’re real. Once people realize that there’s “a man behind the curtain”, they begin ignoring the Wizard and focus on the silly man putting on the show.

Don’t be that guy. Wield your influence just as you claimed it–with integrity, legitimacy, and valid authority.

If you are a creative person who’s lived a bit, you likely have a diverse background, filled with experiences that can serve you in a number of different ways. Making the lie mere laziness. Like logical levels, consider the “levels” of association each of us has. Maybe you’re both the same gender. Maybe not. But that one isn’t likely fooling many people, so let’s not worry about that one. Maybe you have a similar racial background, nationality, or political affiliation. Maybe you share the same profession or attended the same school. Maybe you came from the same home town. Do you see what we’re doing there? We’re “chunking down” from a very broad category to a more specific one. Maybe you both were born in the same year or in the same month. Maybe you’re both married, have kids, maybe you both share some of the same hobbies or interests.

We can begin by sharing with others, though also scanning for indications from them. Are they wearing a hat or t-shirt suggesting a favorite sports team, political leaning, or alma mater? But also pay attention to their shifts as you share your own information.

No two people are identical, so there will always be some differences. If you find none, I’d suspect you were being conned. Someone was doing what I mentioned earlier–deceptively posing as you so as to reduce any resistance or critical thinking.

But as you find legitimate commonality, share that, explore it, be open to it. Also don’t be afraid of the differences that are there. If you respect others enough to allow for such differences, just accept them and continue working toward whatever goal you’ve chosen for that interaction.

Just please, save yourself the frustration and embarrassment, by doing it honestly. It isn’t just noble. It’s the best way to keep the interaction alive, whether that be a sales situation or just enjoying time with a new friend.

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