The Law of Resonance: The 12th Law of Persuasion
The Law of Resonance: When someone resonates with another at a level of uniqueness or proxemically shared experience they feel compelled to comply with the other.
The first nine laws are discussed in the book, The Psychology of Persuasion. The next 28 laws are discussed in my next book on influence. Here’s #12.
I was talking with the #1 HVAC sales trainer, Scott Bell.
I asked Scott what the biggest challenges of training new sales people are.
Kevin, a lot of them do not know how to have a conversation. They learned what to say in a sales process but no one has ever taught them how to have a conversation.
Scott is in a unique position because he goes out on calls with the guys he trains. He knows that the common problems of objections, impression management, presentation, closing, etc. all matter a lot. What he has discovered is that the real reasons sales do not happen are deeper and more complex than what can be solved with traditional sales training.
Having a Conversation that Matters
Real conversations are one of three basic ways to trigger resonance.
Most people have a number of friends or family who they can talk at. I mean, talk too. I mean talk with. Well you know what I mean.
Precisely how you listen is going to determine a significant portion of your success with others. Real listening begins before anyone speaks.
Ultimately, listening allows you to capture what matters most to the person who is speaking.
I suggest you ask a lot of questions. I have a bias toward making good decisions. I desperately want others to make good decisions. That means I have to do a lot less work to fix the problems that result from crummy decision making processes.
Asking questions allows you to get some semblance of answers.
These two factors play into having a real, sincere, vulnerable conversation.
Conversations make sales, generate change, bring people together. Conversations can influence.
Usually people reserve their most important conversations for friends and family. Usually.
But quite often you engage in intensely personal conversations with people you have never met before. Quite often you tell or hear people tell you secrets that no one else knows about.
What happens on the plane, the train, the bus?
QUESTION: Why do people tell the strange person in the seat next to them, everything?
And I really do mean everything. What is it about that person?
Just in case it has been awhile since you have experienced this, here is what happened the last time I did.
I was coming back to Minneapolis from Munich a couple of weeks ago. I think everyone knows that I have a track record of saying zero words to people I sit next to on airplanes. Exceptions do occur and they can be exhausting.
I stood so he could slide into the window seat in Business.
Then I became the lucky person who would get to listen to him chat about his career at Medtronic, his life challenges, the department he works in, his consulting work he did in France on this trip. I could have written a book about the man’s life. I said less than 300 words in 5 hours.
Meanwhile, I tell people nothing about me that is not found on kevinhogan.com. He talked for 2 hours and 45 minutes out of the nearly three and a half hours I was stuck next to him.
No resonance here. We shared the experience of flying right next to each other, but felt no compulsion to spend even one more minute listening when we arrived at the International Arrivals Gate.
Why did this man tell me EVERYTHING about his business, life, past and present?
I must have been partially responsible. I could have told her to be quiet and go sit on the wing, but I didn’t. So what happened. How did he gain COMPLIANCE from me? Compliance to listen.
Key Point: Not being “interested ” is not the same as not listening for five hours.
Salespeople hear people say, “I’m sorry I’m not interested,” all day long… and of course it turns out that as far as the result is concerned, it doesn’t always matter that they are interested.
I had my Samsung out. I was hunched over the phone and texting home immediately after being the first person on the plane.
I am not anti-social. I only wish I were.
The guy felt connected to me. His wife was sitting in the seat behind him. And that is all fine. But I wanted to work.
He was talking without a MUTUALLY PERCEIVED connection.
There are a few important elements in the 12th law of persuasion (The Second New Law). The first aspect is a SUBTLE awareness on the part of the person to be influenced of something the two people share. It could be a person, place or thing or an experience.
The second aspect is that the thing that is shared not be highlighted by the influencer. If it is highlighted the probability of agreement or compliance is knocked in half.
Scott was right.
People really don’t know how to have a conversation. At the office, people are taught to speak the language of their building but not how to have a conversation.
Those who learn to have meaningful conversations have a big advantage in persuasive communication. The same is true in their personal relationships. Most people were never taught how to have a conversation that binds people together. Real conversations allow for an easy exchange of mutually respected ideas.
The experience or element of resonance is one that can be quickly understood by you and I. This resonance has only recently been seriously studied and now known to be absolutely critical to influence across a broad spectrum of contexts.
The Shared Experience, Person, Place or Thing
>How does one generate this so called resonance?
It happens in all kinds of different ways. Sometimes on purpose. Other times, not.
You want to ask someone for a favor. You want to ask someone on a date. You want to ask for the sale.
The person who gets right to business vs. having almost any shared experience with the other first, is in for a rude awakening.
Again, the first aspect in this new law of persuasion is the notion of the shared experience.
But that is only the beginning. All by itself, as we discovered, that is not enough.
The next step?
The person who has the shared experience which could be as simple as sitting next to each other on a plane or a bus to the ball game, in church or school. This random person hears yes to difficult requests about half of the time. Those who are randomly asked by someone at first encounter? Those requests succeed about 1/4 of the time.
What happens if the two people did not talk to each other on the plane but they did when they were heading for the taxi line or limo?
Words do not need to be exchanged. Not even one.
An experience is shared. If it is shared TOGETHER in a relatively equal fashion, a resonance is likely to occur.
The experience of merciless discomfort at 34,000 feet for 1, 2 or 10 hours is enough to cause half of people to comply with ridiculous requests….when two people are silent or they engage in an equal conversation of talking and listening.
A shared experience, no matter how benign is enough to connect two people. Research shows it can take less than 90 seconds for this bond to form.
But there are other threads in the shadows that bring people closer, faster.
If you find out, in some offhanded fashion, that you and I have the same birthday, about 3 times out of 4, I will agree to go quite a distance for you when asked.
Just TALKING about their birthday is enough to increase the probability of another person saying yes, to you.
You recognizing the significance of their birthday is enough to cause some people to identify with you. But this is not a “technique.” It is a law of influence. In the fashion of a background the minor connection generates compliance. Bring it to the foreground and it takes away from agreement.
If I discover in a similar offhanded fashion that you and I share the same astrological sign, even if you find no value in astrology. I am very likely to say yes to all kinds of different requests. After all Scorpios have to stick together.
If you and I share something simple in common like a similar shirt, the book we are reading, pretty much any single thread carries influence. It means I will comply with most requests most of the time.
And if that thread is rare or obscure, it will be unusual that I would decline your request.
What is the caveat?
If all it takes is for you and I to share similar rare finger print types (there is no such thing) and I stumble upon this information I will comply about 5/6 of the time to most reasonable and some unreasonable requests.
There is a big prerequisite in this new law of persuasion.
If you point out the similarity to me, everything falls apart.
Tell me that you are just like me or that we share an interest in handicapping, wealth accumulation, influence, or whatever and I will say no. So will you. So will almost everyone.
This is why Kevin, I am just like you, does not work in selling, asking for a date or anything else in life.
It is in fact an almost guaranteed door in the face that will not get opened again. Why? It is overtly manipulative. I see it for what it is. Everyone does. Threads however, do not have to be absolutely invisible. They do have to be in the shadows. Imagine that I was going to ask you for a favor, or whatever it is I might ask you to do or think.
Imagine you say, “Hey, Kev, I know you like Christmas because I saw all the cool photos on your Facebook page before we met for lunch. But hey, it is 90 degrees and the middle of August!”
I might just pull out my Samsung and show you this photo of me at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.
Christmas has lots of shared global metaphors. One of those is lights around trees.
Hey Chris, you ever been to Vegas and seen the Wynn? It is gorgeous. The trees are decorated with lights. Check this out. (Hand the person your cell phone and let them scroll a few images.)
Threads in the shadows.
What if I knew the person I needed agreement with was not into Las Vegas? Would I still share that specific photo?
Maybe, but if I did, it would need to be re-contextualized.
More likely, while commenting on the weather I would bring up the contrast between August and winter and I would say, Hey, this is what Christmas time is like outside at my house. Check it out!
But maybe you, or this other person I have alluded to is not a fan of Christmas at all.
Not to share. We all share many connections and threads.
Perhaps they are a fan of baseball.
I might bring up how their favorite team is doing. (Having a great season!)
Then I mention how I bet some of the guys on the team played winter ball in Mexico. and hey you know what winter ball in Minnesota is like right?
In all cases the threads are in the shadows.
I have not said, I am just like you I like the holidays too.
I have not said, I am just like you, I really enjoy baseball.
I have not said, Hey you are just like me about ANYTHING.
Because once you bring a thread into the light, AS A THREAD, it loses potency as a point of connection. The resonance is gone.
The subtle implication is all that is necessary.
So what photo might I swipe to on my iPhone now?
Perhaps I scroll to this picture of my son and I playing catch at Christmas.
How can you remember just what to weave into a conversation that will lead to influence?
Imagine your neighbor lady comes into your yard chasing Lucky. That happened right after I got back from Munich.
Had he wanted a favor and he said, This is a dog and I know you are like me because you like pets, Kevin
You can see how weird that sounds right?
I simply ask, How did Lucky turn out to be such an amazing dog when all the others around here need fences to keep the kids on the street safe?
Key Point: Asking someone how good they are at something creates a self generating and self looping thread in the shadow.
It also reveals a great deal to me as I watch a person tell me about their love, their hobby, their skill. Regardless of what I am looking for, it creates the thread in the shadow that makes influence close to certain when you choose to ask or tell.
Let’s drive some of these concepts deep into your brain so they stay there forever.
You’re at a nice enough resort with me. We’re hanging out in the suite which happened to be on the main level. (Bear with me, I know main level suites don’t happen in real resorts) I’m busy working on a project at the desk.
You’re looking out the window and there is this attractive raven haired beauty out there by the pool all by herself.
You are sitting there at my computer reading this article but there he is right out there.
I want you to get a real sense of what your chances would be of hearing yes if you walked out and asked her to dinner. Just the three of us.
You walk out there and of course she says she is busy tonight but thanks for asking.
Later that evening you convince me to go to the sauna at the spa. This takes a bit of work but you finally pull me away from my project and off we go.
We walk in and guess who we run into?
We say hello. She has long forgotten about you and the invitation. She gets invited out 10 times every day. You were a face in the wilderness.
We all sit back at various corners of the sauna getting hot and sticky. I complain about the heat. She smiles. You laugh. We all exchange our names, where we are from, what we do for a living, talk about how nice it is outside, why we are in town, what convention we are working and on and on. 10 minutes of polite chit chat.
You give me that look that wonders if you should ask her to join us for dinner.
I nod knowing what the likely answer is.
You are a bit clumsy as you say, Would you like to join us at the steak house for dinner tonight?
You are dumbfounded that this woman turned you down two hours ago and is now, essentially agreeing to have dinner with us.
Not wanting you to be the only person I look at across the table tonight, I say, 7 PM. Reservation is under Hogan.
You begin to talk and I am forced to cut you off because nothing good can happen at this point.
I have to get back to preparing my presentation for the morning. Meet us at 7 sharp. Text me if anything comes up.
She asks for my number. I tell her to call my phone right now. Yes people keep their phones with them in the sauna.
My phone rings.
See you tonight.
Parting smiles are given. I get up. You get up. We leave.
Dinner is pleasant.
End of story.
How did it happen and feel right in the second scenario when the first failed?
The Law of The Resonance: Applied
1) Shared experience of sitting in sauna.
2) Idle chit chat before asking for agreement.
(Silence would have also been almost as effective.)
3)Similar garments being worn. Towels. Gray. Rather dull stuff.
4)Everyone was heard as to why they were here at the convention, what was going on, capturing the names, and so on. More threads.
5) She keyed in my cell phone as she has all people she trusts and cares about that are currently in her phone. More threads.
6) You didn’t ask for her number. No reactance triggered.
7) The implied message of calling if a mind is changed is given thus removing any reactance or resistance.
You only need one thread to gain significant agreement. When a tapestry is woven there are only a few triggers for someone to say no. Those were all erased when you and I left the sauna.
We had a nice conversation.
A real conversation.
No lines. No concern about what words need to be said. Just threads. The little tiny things that make us all feel comfortable when we identify with someone else. It’s not about friendship. It’s identification. The Law of the Synapse.
More on this next week.
Oh, and dinner was pleasant as well. You got all the attention and stayed for drinks after I went and crashed. I can not wait to find out what happened after I left.
Reserve your spot now!
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First Twelve Law of Persuasion
1. Law of Reciprocity
2. Law of Consistency
3. Law of Friends
4. Law of Scarcity
5. Law of Conformity
6. Law of Contrast
7. Law of Expectancy
8. Law of Association
9. Law of Power
10. Law of Time
11. Law of Inconsistency
12. Law of Resonance
13. – 37. Keep watching!