Posts filed under ‘Coaching advice’

Successful Thinking.

We humans work in a set pattern of ways. We input information, process that information to create an understanding then we output the finished product. No matter how complex the input we can only process it then spit it out again for someone else’s input. The way we do that is based only on our five senses. Our brains can only process information taken in through the five senses and output it again as a different permutation of the input.

e.g. 2+2 = 4; Input 2 and 2; Process (ADD) Output (WHAT IS OUR INPUT THE SAME AS i.e. EQUAL TO ?) Answer 4.

The complexity comes with the amount of information or understanding the process that needs to be carried out on that information to ensure an acceptable output (answer).

The mind skills needed for successful thinking are similar to those of the artist. This applies whether the task involves scientific reasoning, or a flight of imaginative creation – because art is not, essentially, about things but about ideas. The end result, whether a painting, a sculpture, a play or a symphony, is a physical expression of ideas that have been manipulated and transformed by the human mind.

Successful thinking is the highest form of intellectual artistry and to describe it as an art does not mean that the process should be regarded as a haphazard process – far from it. Behind the spontaneity of most great ideas one generally finds careful preparation. There is a lot of truth in the old saying that genius is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.

Without planning the processing of information becomes random and confused. Yet this is the way many people think. Given an intellectually challenging task, they set off in search of a solution with no real idea of where they are going or how to get there. Having arrived at a conclusion or found an answer, they are frequently unclear, if it turns out correct, why is it correct, or if wrong where they went wrong. Faced with a challenging task can and does create anxiety in some individuals. Their minds fill with negative ideas, such as ‘I don’t know where to begin’, or I can’t cope with this sort of problem’, which inhibits constructive thinking.

In essence we humans are comparitors. We assess information only by comparing it with what we already know or understand. These comparisons are taken against local, national, international, moral and acceptable standards. If no standard exists we create one which takes us out of our comfort zones. It is easy to compare the existing information or condition against the previous information or conditions, but when there is no previous we feel exposed, we cannot compare. To assist in overcoming the problem of comfort zones and mental exposure we have invented – The Checklist, or The Flow Chart, or The Algorithm. Superb tools for establishing virtual comfort zones but unfortunately they stifle the creative process. If it is not on the list then its not considered. Obviously the better the list or flow chart the less likely that errors will occur. They also gives us something to blame when we get it wrong.

E.g. Once upon a time there were two brothers. They owned an aeroplane, and did not fight about whose turn it was to drive it. One day, Grant, the elder, was preparing for a flight. He meticulously walked round the plane, with clipboard and check-list, merrily ticking off all of the preflight safety checks. All was well. All the boxes now contained the mandatory ticks. Flight plan submitted, Grant jumped into the plane and taxied to the end of the runway. Ready for take-off, he increased his revs, released his brakes and shot down the runway. He pulled back on the controls, took flight, and nose dived into the neighbouring field, giving the cows a terrible fright, and curdling their milk for at least the next week. What could possible have gone wrong?

Although being meticulous with the pre-flight checklist, Grant had failed to notice that good old Phil, his younger brother, partner, and DIY enthusiast, had removed the rudder. The moral of this true story is, the use of a check list is no substitute for thinking.

If you need a checklist then you must realise that it cannot be relied upon to fit every situation. Checklists can develop of mental atrophy. The mind is like a muscle which needs exercise, if it is not used then it will find it difficult to work when stretched. Using checklists is like getting someone else to get fit and do your training for you. What is needed is a strategy for solving problems.

Mind Planning

Learning the strategy of mind planning ensures that you avoid the confusions and anxieties associated with poor thinking. You feel in control of the thought processes and answers are found by brainwork rather than guesswork. Mind planning can be applied to any kind of mental activity, whether practical or theoretical, related to work or personal problems.

Mind planning involves three stages, each posing a question for you to answer.

Stage 1 – Fact Finding          Ask: What do I know?

Stage 2 – Goal Setting        Ask: Where do I want to go?

Stage 3 – Action Taking        Ask: What do I have to do?

To illustrate the procedure in action, we will apply it to the fairly trivial mental task of converting a temperature from centigrade to Fahrenheit. As you may remember the conversion involves multiplying the temperature in degrees centigrade by 9, dividing the result by 5 and then adding 32 (Fahrenheit = (centigrade x 9/5 ) + 32).

The problem is. The outside temperature is 20o centigrade. What is the Fahrenheit equivalent?

Stage 1. Fact finding

What do I know?

At this stage we know the outside temperature = 20o C.

The formulae for making that conversion = ( C X 9/5 ) + 32

We also know how to substitute the values into the formulae and how to calculate the basic maths.

Stage 2. Goal setting

Where do I want to go?

This is quite straightforward.

From degrees centigrade to degrees Fahrenheit.

Stage 3. Action taking.

What do I need to do?

This draws our attention to the manipulation and transformation that must be performed on those FACTS at Stage 1 in order to arrive at the desired goal in Stage 2. Here all that is required is the application of the formulae correctly.


F = (20 X 9/5 ) + 32

F = 36 + 32

F = 68.

When applied to so straightforward a problem, mind planning may seem like an over-complicated way of thinking. Yet even with such a simple task many people make careless mistakes, especially when their perceptions and attitudes lead them to respond impulsively to mental challenges.

In this problem confusion could arise at stage 1, where a hasty reading of the problem might cause the individual to convert the wrong temperature, or at stage 3, where they might apply the formulae incorrectly – for instance, adding the 32 before multiplying and dividing.

Stage 1 Fact Finding – requires you to gather the information which is pertinent to the task at hand. The greater the information the greater the probability that you will determine the correct choice of action at stage 3. But do not assume that all your gathered information is correct. Always check its validity, its appropriateness, its suitability, its accuracy, its source, its quality and its quantity.

Information must be clearly evaluated and this can be done by asking the following questions:

  1. Have I considered all the possible meanings and implications of each item of information?
  2. Am I making any unjustified assumptions about any items of information?
  3. Could I look at any of those items differently?
  4. Is there a synergistic relationship between this information?

Review all the facts before moving onto stage 2.

Making unjustified assumptions about the information is a very common source of error.


Two scientist at the South Pole were sitting in their heated cabin. What is the temperature outside asked one. His partner went outside and the gauge read minus 40 degrees but forgot to check if the scale was Fahrenheit or Centigrade. Fortunately he didn’t have to go back outside and check. Why?

Stage 2
Goal Setting – requires the nature of the problem to be clearly understood. What tends to happen here is that when people fail it is not because they do not know how to think but because they correctly work out the right answer to a different problem!

Errors are easily made when working under pressure. One of the problems of working in the computer dominated environment is that, increasingly, information will have to be mentally processed under such conditions. The only safeguard is a methodical examination of the task to ensure that no such misinterpretation occurs. The questions to be asked at this stage is:

“Do I fully understand what is being asked?” and “Could other equally valid answers exist?”

In the question ‘What is half of 2 + 2?’, equally correct answers could be either 3 or 2.

If you did not give both possible solutions, it would mean that you failed to identify that two valid outcomes, or goals existed.

Stage 3 Action Taking – This stage of thinking is where the information is processed to achieve the desired result. You should ask ‘What can I do with what I know?’ ‘Have I looked at all possible ways of using what I know?’ ‘Do I need to have further facts before continuing?’

Since the most appropriate action to take must depend on the goal sought, strategies for improving the mind skills involved in stages 2 and 3 can best be explored together.

Just as the artist will have many techniques of transforming the raw material into the finished work, so should you learn the mental skills for manipulating ideas and concepts. What actions are going to prove most appropriate, and which goals will be involved, however, depends on the type of problem being tackled.

Some problems have only one correct solution, and these are called convergent problems. Others, known as divergent problems, have a number of equally correct or useful solutions.

Convergent problems demand methodical analysis and logical reasoning to solve them. Usually the goal is clearly stated as part of the problem, and the questions tend to be narrow ones starting with When, Where, Why and Who – e.g. When was the great fire of London?; When did Wellington defeat Napoleon?; etc. Convergent problems are usually tests of knowledge rather than of thinking, and demand accurate recall of information.

The problems of divergent problems is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Solving this type of problem is more of a right brain than a left brain skill. They demand creativity, brainstorming, mental images, etc.


Our lives have their fair share of both types of problems but as was mentioned earlier we tend to solve the easier ones, the convergent solutions. We must extend our comfort zones to allow us to develop the skills required to solve our divergent problems. The creation of checklists is a way of transforming our divergent problem into a convergent solution. This unfortunately should not be an option because we fail to spot the multiplicity of answers available to our problem.

January 21, 2014 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

An Introduction tо Trоjаn Horse Mаrkеtіng

Whеn thе Trоjаnѕ ѕаw thе hugе wooden hоrѕе, they perceived іt аѕ a gіft of ѕоmе value. Hеrе’ѕ pointing out thе gеnіuѕ bеhіnd the idea of uѕіng a ‘gіft’ as a wау tо gеt to уоur рrоѕресt’ѕ wаllеt.

Trojan Horse

Break Down Barriers – the easy way.

Thе Tale оf a Fоrtіfіеd Cіtу

Pаrіѕ, a Trоjаn Prіnсе, kіdnарреd Hеlеn оf Trоу who wаѕ reputed tо be thе mоѕt bеаutіful wоmаn who еvеr lіvеd. Whеn hеr huѕbаnd dіѕсоvеrеd that she wаѕ mіѕѕіng, all оf Grеесе tооk part іn the еnѕuіng war. Thеу ѕіеgеd thе hugе сіtу оf Trоу fоr уеаrѕ, but thеу соuldn’t fіgurе оut how tо gеt inside thе gаtеѕ.

Wе аll know nесеѕѕіtу is thе mother оf аll іnvеntіоn. Aftеr 10 fruіtlеѕѕ years, thеу саmе uр with thе Trоjаn Horse. It wаѕ a bіg wооdеn horse on wheels, bіg enough fоr a bunсh оf Greek ѕоldіеrѕ tо hide inside. Thеу рrеtеndеd to retreat аnd sail hоmе, асtіng lіkе thеу had gіvеn uр аnd lеft.

Whеn the реорlе of Trоу ореnеd their сіtу gates аnd thе fоund thе horse, thеу dіdn’t knоw whаt іt wаѕ. The Greeks рlаntеd a ѕру tо trісk them іntо believing іt wаѕ a gift, ѕо they brоught іt in. It wаѕ ѕо bіg that іt соuldn’t go thrоugh thе gate ѕо thеу tоrе down a ріесе оf the сіtу wаll tо gеt it in.

Durіng the nіght аftеr еvеrуоnе hаd fаllеn аѕlеер, the Greek soldiers саmе out of the Trоjаn horse, kіllеd thе guards on thе wаllѕ, аnd signaled tо the оthеr Greeks tо соmе attack Troy. Thе Grееkѕ соuld get in now because thе walls were torn down. Trоу wаѕ соnquеrеd аnd thе wаr wаѕ wоn.

Hоw does the Trоjаn hоrѕе аррlу tо mаrkеtіng?

Whеn thе Trоjаnѕ saw the hugе wооdеn hоrѕе, thеу brought it in. Whу? Because they реrсеіvеd it as a gift оf ѕоmе value. Thеу took іt inside. Thе Greeks used thе Trоjаn hоrѕе tо wіn over thе Trоjаnѕ. I’m nоt аdvосаtіng vіоlеnсе, but I am роіntіng оut thе genius bеhіnd the іdеа оf using thе ‘gіft’ аѕ a way tо get tо уоur рrоѕресt’ѕ wаllеt.

Trоjаn Hоrѕе Marketing

Let me introduce уоu tо a mаrkеtіng рrіnсірlе саllеd Trоjаn Hоrѕе Mаrkеtіng. Thе rеаlіtу іѕ, when реорlе ѕее a mаrkеtіng mеѕѕаgе or a рrоmоtіоn, thеіr wаllѕ go uр furthеr.

Trоjаn Hоrѕе Marketing іѕ dеfіnеd as gеttіng уоur promo message асrоѕѕ, past thе рrоѕресtѕ’ bаrrіеrѕ which have bееn еrесtеd to block out thоѕе promotional mеѕѕаgеѕ tо begin wіth.

Trojan hоrѕе mаrkеtіng wоrkѕ іn thе rеаl world. Why? Bесаuѕе еvеn іf уоur prospect has ѕtrоng wаllѕ and fоrtrеѕѕеѕ, when they ѕее уоur Trоjаn horse, thеу ѕее it аѕ a gift from heaven, and they bring that gіft іnѕіdе thе barriers. Thаt’ѕ whаt Trojan Horse Mаrkеtіng іѕ about.

It’ѕ аbоut hоw tо роѕіtіоn your mаrkеtіng аѕ a Trоjаn horse; as a gіft; as a welcome distraction frоm lіfе; as аn answer frоm heaven.

Aѕk уоurѕеlf – Am I a Trоjаn hоrѕе іn my mаrkеtіng?

If the answer is No or I Don’t know. Then contact me for a chat and I will help you build your own Trojan Horse to get behind your buyer’s walls.

December 31, 2013 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

Zero Hours Contracts and Cоgnіtіvе Dіѕѕоnаnсе

Recent studies have shown that the majority of those on Zero Hours Contracts were actually in favour of them. This got me thinking as to why that would be the case. Don’t get me wrong – ZHCs are an excellent opportunity for many people but only those that can afford them. ZHCs are impossible if you are employed and rely on them to run a budget. Imaging for a second having to plan for your monthly shopping, household bills, Christmas, etc. How can you if you are on a Zero Hours Contract? This equates to Zero Income if you are unlucky enough to be one of the chosen. So why would someone choose to be on a ZHC of employment if they had a budget to manage?

As a Behavioural Engineer and one of the country’s leading exponents of behavioural change I need to understand the motivation for a chosen belief. The only answer for the statistics that suggest the majority support ZHCs is either they can afford it or if they cannot then we are left with – Cognitive Dissonance.

Fеѕtіngеr’ѕ (1957) соgnіtіvе dіѕѕоnаnсе thеоrу suggests that we hаvе an inner drіvе tо hold аll оur аttіtudеѕ аnd beliefs іn harmony and аvоіd dіѕhаrmоnу (or dіѕѕоnаnсе).

Cognitive dіѕѕоnаnсе refers tо a situation іnvоlvіng conflicting аttіtudеѕ, bеlіеfѕ or behaviors. Thіѕ produces a fееlіng оf dіѕсоmfоrt lеаdіng tо аn аltеrаtіоn іn one оf the attitudes, bеlіеfѕ оr bеhаvіоurѕ tо reduce the discomfort аnd rеѕtоrе balance etc.

For еxаmрlе, when people ѕmоkе (bеhаvіоur) аnd thеу knоw that ѕmоkіng саuѕеѕ саnсеr (соgnіtіоn).


Attіtudеѕ may сhаngе bесаuѕе оf fасtоrѕ wіthіn thе реrѕоn. An important fасtоr here іѕ thе principle оf cognitive consistency, thе fосuѕ оf Festinger’s (1957) thеоrу оf cognitive dіѕѕоnаnсе. Thіѕ theory starts frоm thе idea that wе ѕееk consistency іn оur bеlіеfѕ аnd аttіtudеѕ іn аnу ѕіtuаtіоn where twо cognitions аrе іnсоnѕіѕtеnt.

Lеоn Fеѕtіngеr (1957) рrороѕеd cognitive dіѕѕоnаnсе theory, which ѕtаtеѕ that a роwеrful motive tо mаіntаіn cognitive consistency саn give rіѕе to irrational and sometimes maladaptive bеhаvіоr. Aссоrdіng tо Fеѕtіngеr, we hоld mаnу cognitions аbоut thе wоrld and оurѕеlvеѕ; whеn thеу сlаѕh, a discrepancy іѕ evoked, rеѕultіng іn a ѕtаtе оf tеnѕіоn knоwn as cognitive dіѕѕоnаnсе. Aѕ the еxреrіеnсе оf dissonance іѕ unpleasant, wе аrе motivated to rеduсе or еlіmіnаtе it, and achieve consonance (i.e. аgrееmеnt).

Cognitive dissonance was fіrѕt investigated bу Lеоn Festinger, аrіѕіng оut of a раrtісіраnt observation study оf a cult which bеlіеvеd thаt the еаrth wаѕ gоіng to bе dеѕtrоуеd by a flооd, аnd what hарреnеd tо its mеmbеrѕ — раrtісulаrlу thе rеаllу committed оnеѕ whо had given up their hоmеѕ and jobs tо work fоr thе cult — whеn the flood did nоt hарреn. Whіlе frіngе members wеrе mоrе іnсlіnеd tо rесоgnіzе thаt thеу hаd made fools оf themselves аnd tо “put іt dоwn to еxреrіеnсе”, committed mеmbеrѕ wеrе mоrе lіkеlу to re-interpret thе evidence tо ѕhоw thаt they were rіght аll along (the еаrth wаѕ nоt dеѕtrоуеd bесаuѕе of thе fаіthfulnеѕѕ оf thе cult mеmbеrѕ).

Cоgnіtіvе Dіѕѕоnаnсе Example

Whеn someone is fоrсеd tо dо (publicly) ѕоmеthіng thеу (рrіvаtеlу) rеаllу dоn’t wаnt tо dо, dіѕѕоnаnсе is сrеаtеd bеtwееn their соgnіtіоn (I didn’t wаnt to dо thіѕ) аnd thеіr bеhаvіоr (I dіd іt). Fоrсеd compliance оссurѕ whеn аn individual реrfоrmѕ аn асtіоn that is іnсоnѕіѕtеnt wіth hіѕ оr her beliefs. Thе behavior can’t bе changed, ѕіnсе іt is already іn thе раѕt, so dissonance wіll nееd to bе rеduсеd by rе-еvаluаtіng thеіr аttіtudе tо what thеу hаvе dоnе. Thіѕ prediction hаѕ been tеѕtеd еxреrіmеntаllу:

In аn intriguing еxреrіmеnt, Festinger and Cаrlѕmіth (1959) asked participants tо реrfоrm a ѕеrіеѕ оf dull tasks (ѕuсh as turning реgѕ іn a реg board fоr an hоur). As уоu can imagine, раrtісіраnt’ѕ аttіtudеѕ tоwаrd this tаѕk were hіghlу nеgаtіvе. Thеу wеrе then paid еіthеr $1 оr $20 tо tеll a wаіtіng раrtісіраnt (relay a confederate) thаt thе tаѕkѕ were rеаllу іntеrеѕtіng. Almоѕt all of thе раrtісіраntѕ agreed tо wаlk into thе wаіtіng rооm аnd реrѕuаdе the ѕubjесt ассоmрlісе thаt the boring experiment would bе fun.

Zero Hours Contract

Are they good or are they bad – only the individual can decide. After all it is their circumstances that determines their beliefs and attitudes. However, what is of real concern is the threat that an unscrupulous employer holds over their workforce. Holding them ransom. They also mean that for the employer they do not have to invest in retraining as all they need to do is cherry-pick the already trained. ZHCs have an advantage for some but I predict that they will destroy growth and deter investment in people.

December 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

Bullying Management and Psychological Manipulation

Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behaviour of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. This is done by advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another’s expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious, deceptive and bullying. Yep psychological manipulation is often the modus operandi of the workplace bully. Knowing their mindset allows you to nip at source their power and rendering them weakened and ineffectual.

However, before we begin I should point out that not all Social influence is necessarily negative. For example, doctors can try to persuade patients to change unhealthy habits. Social influence is generally perceived to be harmless when it respects the right of the influenced to accept or reject and is not unduly coercive. But depending on the context and motivations, social influence may constitute underhanded manipulation and bullying. In the case of our manager/employer you can decide for yourself whether they are socially influencing you for the right reasons or manipulating you into a destructive mindset for their own agenda.

If you are resistant to the social influence and the manipulator applies undue pressure and assault then you are probably being bullied and you need to take charge and learn the skills necessary to turn the tables before you become ill.

What the Bully requires for successful manipulation

According to psychology author George K. Simon, successful psychological manipulation primarily involves the manipulator:

  1. concealing aggressive intentions and behaviours.
  2. knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim to determine what tactics are likely to be the most effective.
  3. having a sufficient level of ruthlessness to have no qualms about causing harm to the victim if necessary.

Consequently the manipulation is likely to be accomplished through covert aggressive means.

Motivations of bullying manipulators

Manipulators can have various possible motivations, including:

  • the need to advance their own purposes and personal gain at virtually any cost to others
  • a strong need to attain feelings of power and superiority in relationships with others
  • a want and need to feel in control (aka. control freak)
  • a desire to gain a feeling of power over others in order to raise their perception of self-esteem

How bullying manipulators control their victims

The following basic ways that manipulators control their victims:

  • Positive reinforcement: includes praise, superficial charm, superficial sympathy (crocodile tears), excessive apologising, money, approval, gifts, attention, facial expressions such as a forced laugh or smile, and public recognition.
    • Negative reinforcement: involves removing one from a negative situation as a reward, e.g. “You won’t have to do your homework if you allow me to do this to you.”
    • Intermittent or partial reinforcement: Partial or intermittent negative reinforcement can create an effective climate of fear and doubt. Partial or intermittent positive reinforcement can encourage the victim to persist – for example in most forms of gambling, the gambler is likely to win now and again but still lose money overall.
    • Punishment: includes nagging, yelling, the silent treatment, intimidation, threats, swearing, emotional blackmail, the guilt trip, sulking, crying, and playing the victim.
    • Traumatic one-trial learning: using verbal abuse, explosive anger, or other intimidating behaviour to establish dominance or superiority; even one incident of such behaviour can condition or train victims to avoid upsetting, confronting or contradicting the manipulator.
    • Lying: It is hard to tell if somebody is lying at the time they do it, although often the truth may be apparent later when it is too late. One way to minimise the chances of being lied to is to understand that some personality types (particularly psychopaths) are experts at the art of lying and cheating, doing it frequently, and often in subtle ways.
    • Lying by omission: This is a very subtle form of lying by withholding a significant amount of the truth. This technique is also used in propaganda.
    • Denial: Manipulator refuses to admit that he or she has done something wrong.
    • Rationalisation: An excuse made by the manipulator for inappropriate behaviour. Rationalisation is closely related to spin.
    • Minimisation: This is a type of denial coupled with rationalisation. The manipulator asserts that his or her behaviour is not as harmful or irresponsible as someone else was suggesting, for example saying that a taunt or insult was only a joke.
    • Selective inattention or selective attention: Manipulator refuses to pay attention to anything that may distract from his or her agenda, saying things like “I don’t want to hear it”.
    • Diversion: Manipulator not giving a straight answer to a straight question and instead being diversionary, steering the conversation onto another topic.
    • Evasion: Similar to diversion but giving irrelevant, rambling, vague responses, weasel words.
    • Covert intimidation: Manipulator throwing the victim onto the defensive by using veiled (subtle, indirect or implied) threats.
    • Guilt trip: A special kind of intimidation tactic. A manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish or has it easy. This usually results in the victim feeling bad, keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious and submissive position.
    • Shaming: Manipulator uses sarcasm and put-downs to increase fear and self-doubt in the victim. Manipulators use this tactic to make others feel unworthy and therefore defer to them. Shaming tactics can be very subtle such as a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, rhetorical comments, subtle sarcasm. Manipulators can make one feel ashamed for even daring to challenge them. It is an effective way to foster a sense of inadequacy in the victim.
    • Playing the victim role: Manipulator portrays him- or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else’s behaviour in order to gain pity, sympathy or evoke compassion and thereby get something from another. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffering and the manipulator often finds it easy to play on sympathy to get cooperation.
    • Vilifying the victim: More than any other, this tactic is a powerful means of putting the victim on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent of the manipulator.
    • Playing the servant role: Cloaking a self-serving agenda in guise of a service to a more noble cause, for example saying he is acting in a certain way for “obedience” and “service” to God or a similar authority figure.
    • Seduction: Manipulator uses charm, praise, flattery or overtly supporting others in order to get them to lower their defences and give their trust and loyalty to him or her.
    • Projecting the blame (blaming others): Manipulator scapegoats in often subtle, hard-to-detect ways.
    • Feigning innocence: Manipulator tries to suggest that any harm done was unintentional or that they did not do something that they were accused of. Manipulator may put on a look of surprise or indignation. This tactic makes the victim question his or her own judgment and possibly his own sanity.
    • Feigning confusion: Manipulator tries to play dumb by pretending he or she does not know what the victim is talking about or is confused about an important issue brought to his attention.
    • Brandishing anger: Manipulator uses anger to brandish sufficient emotional intensity and rage to shock the victim into submission. The manipulator is not actually angry, he or she just puts on an act. He just wants what he wants and gets “angry” when denied.

Vulnerabilities exploited by bullying manipulators

Manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities (buttons) that may exist in victims:

  • the “disease to please”
  • addiction to earning the approval and acceptance of others
  • Emotophobia (fear of negative emotion; i.e. a fear of expressing anger, frustration or disapproval)
  • lack of assertiveness and ability to say no
  • blurry sense of identity (with soft personal boundaries)
  • low self-reliance
  • external locus of control
  • naïveté – victim finds it too hard to accept the idea that some people are cunning, devious and ruthless or is “in denial” if he or she is being victimised.
  • over-conscientiousness – victim is too willing to give manipulator the benefit of the doubt and see their side of things in which they blame the victim.
  • low self-confidence – victim is self-doubting, lacking in confidence and assertiveness, likely to go on the defensive too easily.
  • over-intellectualisation – victim tries too hard to understand and believes the manipulator has some understandable reason to be hurtful.
  • emotional dependency – victim has a submissive or dependent personality. The more emotionally dependent the victim is, the more vulnerable he or she is to being exploited and manipulated.

Bullying Manipulators generally take the time to scope out the characteristics and vulnerabilities of their victim.

Here is a list of those who are vulnerable to psychopathic manipulators:

  • too dependent – dependent people need to be loved and are therefore gullible and liable to say yes to something to which they should say no.
  • too immature – has impaired judgment and believes the exaggerated advertising claims.
  • too naïve – cannot believe there are dishonest people in the world, taking for granted that if there were they would not be allowed to operate.
  • too impressionable – overly seduced by charmers. For example, they might vote for the seemingly charming politician who kisses babies.
  • too trusting – people who are honest often assume that everyone else is honest. They are more likely to commit themselves to people they hardly know without checking credentials, etc., and less likely to question so-called experts.
  • too lonely – lonely people may accept any offer of human contact. A psychopathic stranger may offer human companionship for a price.
  • too narcissistic – narcissists are prone to falling for unmerited flattery.
  • too impulsive – make snap decisions about, for example, what to buy or whom to marry without consulting others.
  • too altruistic – the opposite of psychopathic: too honest, too fair, too empathetic.
  • too frugal – cannot say no to a bargain even if they know the reason it is so cheap.
  • too materialistic – easy prey for loan sharks or get-rich-quick schemes.
  • too greedy – the greedy and dishonest may fall prey to a psychopath who can easily entice them to act in an immoral way.
  • too masochistic – lack self-respect and so unconsciously let psychopaths take advantage of them. They think they deserve it out of a sense of guilt.
  • the elderly – the elderly can become fatigued and less capable of multi-tasking. When hearing a sales pitch they are less likely to consider that it could be a con. They are prone to giving money to someone with a hard-luck story. See elder abuse.

Help for Those Feeing Bullied.

If you feel you are being bullied, harassed, harangued or stressed by a bullying manipulator then you need to learn how you can regain the controls of your life. Learn to Stop the Bullies Now! It is time to put an end to your suffering.

Get in touch and together we can build your strategy.

October 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm 1 comment

7 Public Speaking Survival Tips

7 Public Speaking Survival Tips

I used to be terrified of public speaking – now it’s natural and fun.

Dry mouth, fast heart, sweaty palms, blank mind – yeah I’ve been there! It’s easy to fear public speaking. But I was never just content with overcoming fear. I wanted to be a great speaker. What I needed was a way of calming down and applying simple techniques and strategies to talk like a pro.

When I’d learned to relax (more of that later) I learned and applied the following four steps.

  1. Reassure your audience – they need to know you know your stuff and you are human!
  2. Hook them by being interesting and relevant. Tell them why what you are saying is relevant to them.
  3. Inspire them by giving them information and ways of seeing that are new and applicable.
  4. Leave them on a high by telling a story them encapsulates your central message.

How do you become confident enough to apply the four steps?

Here’s some tips some of which are practical some of which are to do with the way you think about your public presentations and also how you can start to change the way you feel about them.

Tip One

Breath your way to calm. When you breath out you relax that’s why people sigh when they’re stressed.

Breathing in without breathing out causes hyperventilation and worsens anxiety. Just before your speech take five minutes breathing in to the count of seven and out to the count of eleven (quick count-not seconds!). On the out breath hold it a second before breathing in again. This will produce quick and lasting calm. Remember extending the out breath calms you down.

Tip Two

You have a responsibility as the presenter but relax you don’t carry all the responsibility. Presenting is a team effort. Audiences are responsible for politeness, extending their attention and attempting to learn. It’s not all you-it’s a meeting of two halves. Never mind how they judge you. How do you judge them?

Tip Three

Use metaphor and stories. We all experience life metaphorically. The most technical logical person spends at least two hours a night dreaming! Talk detail if necessary but present patterns with metaphors. Folk from 4 to 104 love stories. Use em.

Tip four

Captivate attention by using words that evoke all the senses. Describe how things look, sound, feel, smell and taste. Paint pictures and sensations in their minds with your words.

Tip Five

Vary your voice tonality and speed of delivery. Keep them alert and engaged. Convey energy when need be and slow down when you need to ‘draw them in close.’ You are the conductor to their orchestra. And pepper your talk with humour. Your willingness to be funny shows personal confidence and confidence is contagious.

Tip Six

Tell them what they are going to get. What they are currently getting and then what they have got from you. Sell your sizzle!

Tip Seven

Watch and learn from other great speakers until compelling, relaxed speaking is a part of you.

Rehearse positively. You need to rehearse how your going to feel as well as what you are going to present. Don’t think about your forthcoming presentation whilst feeling nervous as this creates an instinctive association between fear and presenting. This natural negative self-hypnosis is very common with nervous speakers.

Hypnotically rehearse your speech whilst feeling relaxed. This produces the right ‘blueprint’ in your mind. In fact when you do this enough times it actually becomes hard to be nervous!

All great speakers know how to use great self-hypnotic rehearsal. Hypnosis changes attitudes and can bring emotion under control. I used hypnosis, to change my instincts around public speaking. Now I just can’t get nervous whether it’s 50 or 500 people. The world needs great communicators. Go for it!

Cure your fear of public speaking at

Article by Mark Tyrrell of Hypnosis

January 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm Leave a comment

What does it take to be creative?

Here’s a riddle:

The king and the poison…

A ruthless, paranoid king was afraid that one of his aides was going to poison him so he needed to come up with a creative solution to ensure he could survive any poisoning.

Fortunately it was a well-known fact in the kingdom that the only way to survive drinking poison was to drink an even stronger poison.

So the king thought to himself:

“I just need to get my hands on the most powerful poison in the land. That way, I’ll be able to survive if someone tries to poison me.”

The king thought up a wicked plan to get his hands on the most powerful poison. He summoned two pharmacists known for their ability to concoct powerful potions, and told them, “Come to the palace on Sunday with the most powerful poison you can make. Each of you will drink the other’s poison and then your own.

Obviously, the one who has prepared the stronger poison will survive. The other, I promise a respectable burial…”

The king thought that in this way he’d be able to get his hands on the most powerful poison in the land.

The two pharmacists went home lamenting about their poor fortune. One pharmacist, who was old and poor, told his wife to prepare for his death as he told her the story about the relentless king.

“But can’t you concoct a stronger poison than the other pharmacist?” asked his wife.

“No,” he answered, “he is richer and more knowledgeable – there’s no doubt that he’ll be able to mix the stronger poison.”

Suddenly the pharmacist’s wife came up with an idea… “I know how you can survive,” she told him…

What was her idea?

December 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Who is your target audience, and what do they want?

(This is a vital question for your marketing, and the ideal starting point for making your marketing effective)

In a recent survey (by Anne Seig) NONE of the entrepreneurs asked (~22,000) could actually answer – Who their target market was. So if you are struggling to find your target market then here is an exercise that walks you through

“Who is your target audience is, and what do they want?”

It starts with asking and then answering the right questions:

  • Who is your target market?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What are they thinking about?
  • What are they talking about?
  • What problems are they facing that you can solve?

To make this even more real a scenario, let’s pretend we’re selling a nutritional shake that is designed to help people lose weight. And our goal is to sell as much of this product as possible.

In order to be successful with this, we have to know who we’re talking to. It should be so tight that you could almost name them, if you knew their name, but you should be able to recognise who they are. Therefore your definition has to be ULTRA SPECIFIC.

I am going to call this a campaign because we can create multiple campaigns that target different audiences. There are always several audiences we can consider. We just have to choose ONE and start.

Here are three SPECIFIC examples for two DIFFERENT audiences we could consider targeting:

  • Post pregnancy woman who would like to lose the remaining pregnancy weight that they’re still carrying 6+ months after having given birth.
  • Woman who want their husbands to lose weight, be healthier, have more energy and have a quick replacement for lazy fast food decisions when they’re in a hurry.
  • People who have purchased weight loss products before, but are always frustrated with the results.

Do you see how you’ll “speak” to these audiences differently?

Do you see that for each group you will relate differently to their pain?

It’s significantly different for each of the target audiences.

There isn’t really anything complicated about this, but it does require effort.

Your message has to be tailored to each of these audiences.

That means your capture pages, your emails, your blog posts, your Facebook updates, your webinar presentations, your offline presentations, YOUR ADS, even your conversations … must zero in on this specific audience.

Let’s take a closer look at the first example from above…

We’re going to target post pregnancy woman who would like to lose the remaining pregnancy weight that they’re still carrying 6+ months after having given birth.

Let’s think about this even closer. We have to if we hope to reach any audience.

Here are the deeper thinking characteristics of this audience:

  • They’re nursing. Therefore they burn a lot of calories and get extremely hungry — fast.
  • They’re consciously mindful to eat healthy. It’s an emotional value.
  • So they read books and magazines popular for good health, preparation of healthy “green” recipes. Take the spinach smoothie recipe for example. They like it. It’s so healthy it feels healthy. But whenever they do drink them, it doesn’t fill them up enough. They quickly get hungry again, and it’s this perpetual hunger that is both an annoying frustration as well as culprit for not being able to lose those nagging last few pounds (or more).
  • They don’t work. They are stay at home mums.
  • They arrange play dates with other like-minded mums that have kids near or at the same age.
  • This audience has their own social network both offline and online (primarily Facebook). It’s the offline activity that feeds the online social activity that initiates more offline activity – unique cycle. This creates a lot of word of mouth social proof about any number of things – weight control is one of them.
  • Money IS an issue for most of this audience. They have influence on all major family purchases, but hold absolute dominion over smaller purchases including food.
  • They justify purchases with logic. Not prone to emotional purchases – most of the time they’re not anyway.
  • If they were to purchase and sustain using the health related weight loss product, and if they received results, they’d become active evangelist, and spread the word to their peers.
  • This potentially makes them great referrers.

Do you see how deep we’ve gone here? Do you see what I’ve done here?

If not, please reread the paragraph section above. It’s a perfect example of plunging deep to understand a target audience.

September 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

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