Category Archives: Style

fashionable fun in daily life

Why “Why?” Works Web Well

Surfing Why

Simply putting the word, “Why,” in a headline is the second greatest way to attract attention exceeded only by that other three letter word, “Sex.”  I’d like to jump on that “Sex” headline more often, but I’m a happily married man and my wife reads my blog.  So, we’ll have to content ourselves with the “Why” game rather than the “Sex” game.

So.

Why.

Or rather, Why “Why?”

“Why?” attracts your attention because clicking on Why? makes you feel intelligent, open-minded, and thoughtful.

You.  Feel.  Intelligent.  Open-minded.  Thoughtful.

If you click on “Why?” you confirm your intelligence even if you don’t carefully read the answer, understand the answer, or think critically about the answer.

If you click on “Why?” you confirm your open-mindedness, even if you don’t consider alternatives, forget past counter-arguments, or avoid additional viewpoints.

If you click on “Why?” you confirm your thoughtfulness, even if you are a prisoner of Low WATT processing, a child following a Cue, just a happy camper on the Peripheral Route.

Stated the Persuasion Way, “Why?” headlines posed to Internet surfers function most frequently as Cues for Low WATTers.  Surfers ride the wave of Thoughtfulness, never diving in, as Thoughtfulness requires, but enjoying the splash and surge of Cognition just beneath the surface.  It’s like watching an intense war movie and thinking you know the agony of combat as a result.

“Why?” is also the perfect hook for the Just So Story – that folk tale like Jack and the Bean Stalk, the Three Little Pigs, and most of the Brothers Grimm tales (the Brothers Grimm would be a great name for a new boy band!).  When you see “Why?” you can be assured that you will read an elegant, clever, and insightful answer that explains the mystery of Why in less than five hundred words.

Isn’t it nice that so many of the mysteries of Why can be answered in elegant, clever, and insightful essays of five hundred words?  It’s as if Shakespeare wrote Cliff’s Notes style rather than that clunky iambic pentameter.  Think how much easier Hamlet would be.  All that poetry and insight compressed into 500 words!

All you have to do is read “Why?” stories and you feel intelligent, open-minded, and thoughtful.

Now, let’s consider the Greatest Headline.

“Why Sex?”

Celebrity Endorsement Works! Except When It Doesn’t

One of the simplest persuasion plays is the Celebrity Endorsement which translates the Comparison, Liking, or Authority Cue into success.  Just get the right Famous Person, connect them with your product, service, brand, whatever, and away you go.

Except success at persuasion requires more than that.  Consider this case.

Michelle Obama Pinto Dresses

Right, that’s Mrs. Michelle Obama.

She’s wearing dresses by one of her favorite designers, Maria Pinto.  Gee whiz, could you get a better celebrity endorser if you’re doing women’s fashion?  And, Mrs. Obama wasn’t paid or paid off to wear these dresses.  She really likes them and tells everyone about it.

Yet, Maria Pinto’s business is Going Out Of Business.

But Ms. Pinto acknowledged having made some typical startup mistakes in building her brand, in areas like financial management and operations.

When things are going well, as they were for Ms. Pinto in 2008 when she started to build her business based in part on Obama’s affection for her designs, it is easy get deceived at your persuasion skill.  When the bottom line is good, the persuasion must be good, too.  And when you’ve got the First Lady touting your dress, you’ve got Great Persuasion.  Right?

Consider the Rules now in understanding this business and persuasion failure.

It’s about the Other Guy, Stupid.  Ms. Pinto described the loss of the Other Guy, the customer here.

The real problems started right after the introduction of the spring 2010 line in New York last September, Ms. Pinto said. “They loved the line,” she said. “I was like, where are the orders? O.K., this is not a good sign.”

If You Can’t Count It, You Can’t Change It.  While she could count the Other Guys (not enough!), she appeared to have trouble counting other elements of the persuasion process, most notably financing.  Persuasion cannot be better than its resources and you must be able to count everything that counts!

Persuaders Can Either Be Famous or Effective, But Not Both.  Ms. Pinto got famous through her relationship with the famous Mrs. Obama and appears to have let that fame dominate her planning and execution.  Doubtless, the fame interfered with her skill, too.

Great Persuaders Don’t Need Rich Uncles, Kindness from Strangers, or Third Party Vote Splitters.  Ms. Pinto ran a successful small business before the 2008 election which catapulted her into a bigger business model.  With no one else, Pinto had a good thing going with her small Chicago shop.  But, when she tried to go Big, she depended upon the Kindness of Strangers for her success.

There’s a Difference between Persuasion, and Smoke and Mirrors; With Persuasion the Illusion Lingers.  Turns out that sometimes Celebrity is Persuasive and sometimes It is just Smoke and Mirrors.  Pinto and her partners did not figure out how to take all that Celebrity and make it work for them.  Fame does not have an automatic persuasion function.  You have to put it in a persuasion play.

Success with persuasion is never easy even when you have a surging market.  I suspect that Maria Pinto will return to the basics, rebuild, and might try for expansion again someday.  She’s gained valuable, if painful, persuasion experience that will stand her in good stead.  Plus, she’s got a great eye for color and design that is attractive and functional.

Why Awards Are Bad for You!

Consider this gorgeous quilted wall hanging over Melanie’s right shoulder.

MBB Quilt Award

Note that pretty ribbon on the upper left corner!  An award winner!  And for a large, regional quilt show at Sauder Village.  Quite an accomplishment, especially for an amateur.  See, Melanie is a professor of some renown.  She’s one of the most published scholars in the history of communication research, former chair of her department, and president of a large professional communication association.  So, she just quilts for fun . . . and now wins awards for that, too.

What can be wrong with this?  Melanie can tell you.

“I was shocked and happy when I first saw the ribbon.  It made me very happy.  Then I found myself walking around looking at the other quilts and seeing that some got higher awards and I found myself nitpicking them.  ‘Why did the judges like that?’  ‘Didn’t they see that flaw in the work?’   I was looking at things differently with a more critical eye.  Now I was competing.  And, I found myself planning my next project so I could do better than the ones who placed higher.  On the other hand it did provide a bit of excitement and incentive.  How crazy is that?”

And that is exactly what happens when you move from an Internal Attribution to an External Attribution with an Award.  This is just persuasion human nature.

Consider that Melanie quilts for fun, for relaxation, for the joy of the thing itself.  Ask her why she quilts and she can tell you.  “I want it for myself.  I like it for myself.  The sheer act of doing it is fun.”  In other words, an Internal Attribution.  The locus of causality for her action rests within her own control and motivation.  She likes it.

Then she gets an Award.  She knew this could happen, but since she’s an amateur and does this for fun, she doesn’t expect it.  Just to be in the quilt show is enough . . . at first.  Now, after the Award, when Melanie asks herself, “Why do I quilt?” the answer gets complicated.  Instead of the joyful, simple Internal Attribution of “I do it because I want to for the fun,” she now has other obvious explanations.

She does it to win Awards.

She does it for recognition.

She does it because other people expect it of her.

In other words, External Attributions.  The locus of causality for her quilting behavior shifts from her self to forces outside of her.  And, in so doing, her evaluation, her motivation, her expectation of herself, the activity of quilting, and the event of doing quilt shows changes.

What’s especially telling about this, is that Melanie teaches Attribution Theory and is well aware of this effect.  It is a classic finding in the research, but even with her knowledge and skill, she, like all of us, cannot escape her persuasion human nature.  I can report the same kind of weird experience in my own life when I’ve received awards for things I just loved to do for my own reasons and motivation.  And, afterward, I found myself not loving that thing in quite the same way and becoming more interested in what other people thought about it and what other awards I could get and, “Hey, why did the other guy get that?”

It seems such a simple thing.

Why do you do what you do?  I love it and, yeah, I may get an award for it.  What’s the difference?

Don’t be surprised when you win an award, then find yourself with a different point of view.

NBC: National Buddha Company?

If you live long enough, the ironic becomes an unavoidable response to life.

For many years I taught a media effects class that contained a long unit on a scientific analysis of the impact of media violence on human aggression.  Yes, the science finds a bad effect – more exposure to media violence, more human aggression – but the effect is small and clearly disconnected from large scale societal crime.  Of course, back then, all the media sources from TV to movies laughed at the claim.  NBC in particular strongly disputed the “research” and conducted their own to prove that media messages had no effect on viewer thoughts, feelings, and actions, especially at a large social level.

Office Water BottlesToday, NBC sees it differently.  In a nice Wall Street Journal story, we learn that NBC is subtly and with great nuance weaving into its broadcast comedies and dramas positive portrayals of characters doing good things like reducing the use of plastic in the Office, exercising more, and eating less.  They try not to preach, but through a constant, subtle, and nuanced drumbeat of positive behaviors in the media models, NBC wants to do its bit to make the world a better place.

So, from 1965 through today, media violence has no effect on viewers, but from this season on, NBC will glow with a thousand points of light and illuminate the path to a healthier, safer, and Greener world!

Past the obvious irony, you also need to know that NBC’s ratings have collapsed since the grand days of the 1970s and 1980s as audiences flock to any of the myriad media choices we now have in the world.  And, gee whiz, using lifestyle themes in the shows to attract niche audiences for advertisers actually works, so one might more wisely look up the other sleeve with NBC’s pious programming.  This isn’t prosocial; it is profitable.

Recall, my earlier Visual Persuasion post on the many faces of Buddha.  NB-see it!

Remember:  All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere.

Hollywood Parts the Amazon

Charlton Heston Parts the Red Sea

The New York Times offers this idolizing article over James Cameron’s recent trip to the Amazon river to meet with local tribes about the impending doom of a planned dam.

They came from the far reaches of the Amazon, traveling in small boats and canoes for up to three days to discuss their fate.  James Cameron, the Hollywood titan, stood before them with orange warrior streaks painted on his face, comparing the threats on their lands to a snake eating its prey.

You should check out the audio slide show the Times provides.  Great shots of the white haired Cameron in jeans and white Nikes.  And, orange streaks on his face to mark his warrior status.

In the 15 years since he wrote the script for “Avatar,” his epic tale of greed versus nature, Mr. Cameron said, he had become an avid environmentalist. But he said that until his trip to the Brazilian Amazon last month, his advocacy was mostly limited to the environmentally responsible way he tried to live his life: solar and wind energy power his Santa Barbara home, he said, and he and his wife drive hybrid vehicles and do their own organic gardening.

This story is so transparently over the top, it must have been written by Cameron’s mother or at least his press agent.  Consider that Cameron has been working on Avatar, the ultimate epic story of greed against the environment, for over 15 years.  Hey, this is a guy who’s looked into the evil eye of greed and seen the Devil.  He knows the Truth and lives the Truth, the Green Truth.  Yeah, baby.  Cameron’s got a Prius, a solar panel on a roof, and an organic garden Someone Else certainly tends.

As a persuasion wizard I must question Mr. Cameron’s sincerity here.  No sincere person would permit such a buffed up piece of puffery to appear in the Times – the brazen hagiography undermines even the appearance of sincerity.  No sincere person would merely buy the symbolism of Green – a Prius, no less – to represent sincere Green.

And, this.

Now, Mr. Cameron said, he has been spurred to action, to speak out against the looming environmental destruction endangering indigenous groups around the world — a cause that is fueling his inner rage and inspiring his work on an “Avatar” sequel.

A sequel.  To a movie that has done $2.7 billion to date.  Oh.

Please realize that I do not doubt that Mr. Cameron may hold Green beliefs, but I don’t think he’s a Green Warrior.  He’s a Hollywood Warrior who understands,

All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere.

I streak my face with orange in persuasion admiration and offer a Peithos Award to him for an Outstanding Persuasion Performance by a Hollywood Titan for Parting the Amazon.

Peithos Standing

Appalachian Meme or Cool Table Prejudice

I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, grew up as a child in rural, small town Missouri, then adolescence in suburban Chicago, Illinois, followed by young adulthood in urban Kansas City with second tours of rural, small town Missouri again.  In my early thirties, I moved to Morgantown, West Virginia and from that base I’ve traveled extensively across the State, the Heart of Appalachia, for twenty-five years.  I’m not a West Virginian by birth, but I am a West Virginian by choice.

AppalachiaFrom the moment I moved here, I’ve been acutely aware of a cultural prejudice about and against West Virginia and Appalachia from virtually everyone I meet outside the area.  Usually I’m wearing the Blue Suit with a Sophisticated Blonde on my Arm.  Whether as a Professor, Scientific Fed, or Fabulous Consultant, folks think I’m funning them when I claim Mountaineer Status.

The psychology of this prejudice is the same mechanism that drives racism, sexism, and every other thoughtless and biased Ism:  No direct personal experience in the formation of the bias, a reliance on a key salient beliefs that over time cohere into a well-connected and reliable story or framework or meme or just plain old prejudice.  Just good old Biased Processing from the ELM.

Shootfire, just look at a Google image search on “Appalachia.”  Barefoot.  Shirtless.  Hollers.  Rusted cars and washing machines.  Moonshine.  Tobacco fields.  Deliverance.  Incest. Snake handlers.  Mountain Men.  KKK.  Ancient pickup trucks.  Proud, but hapless, Coal Miners.  Sick and hungry children.  Hillbillies.

You might recall that the downfall of the infamous New York Times journalist, Jayson Blair, began with his in-depth story behind Jessica Lynch, the young West Virginia servicewoman who was captured in the Iraq War then rescued or “rescued” by Special Forces.  Blair opened his fictional news story about Lynch’s hometown with a description of tobacco fields.  I vividly remember reading that agricultural designation and hooting because I’ve been in that neck of the woods before and there ain’t no tobacco fields in them there parts.  Indeed, there’s precious little tobacco farming anywhere in the State, but if you’re a Cool Table elitist, you don’t know that and you don’t need to know that because you already know the Appalachian Meme.  And all other Cool Tablists and CT Aspirants know it, too.  Prejudice serves up easy, fun, and popular communication between and among Those In The Know.

Many years ago when the newsmagazine, Slate, was launching as the first online journalism venture, they had a fun columnist, Prudence, who responded to reader pleas concerning manners and morality.  Prudence, a paragon of virtue, taste, and style, always managed to navigate the perils of PostModern Political Correctness with good sense and old fashioned manners, until she served up a negative example of bad manners that was nothing but Appalachian racism.  The prejudice was small and discreet, but First Order Prejudice nonetheless.  Prudence would have been looking for a new line of work if she had responded similarly with Lesbians, African-Americans, or Muslims, but Appalachian trash, well, that’s another matter.

And, now, with the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion I am once again treated to Cool Table foolishness parading as Truth.  We are still in the midst of rescue and recovery at this writing, yet the Cool Table is casting the story as predatory King Coal sucking the life out of the miners, their families, and the land of West Virginia in a pitiless and eternal grab for profit.  And always, “hardscrabble,” which is the Appalachian counterpart to words like “clean” for African-Americans, “family-oriented” for Hispanic-Americans, and “ambitious” for Asian-Americans when you can’t say what really comes to mind because you’re writing in polite company.

West Virginia is one big small town.  We have barely two million citizens and a State government budget just past four billion dollars.  On Game Day, Mountaineer Field in Morgantown becomes the largest city in the State with 65,000 residents for a weekend.  The land was part of an original colony, Virginia, but broke away from the Old Dominion during the Civil War over slavery.  We border Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Yet, we are not Southern or Northern or Rust Belt or Midwestern even though you find those markers in the State.

We are Appalachian.  Rural, small town, traditional values, close to family, community, and land.  If your car breaks down almost anywhere in this state, you’re safe.  Somebody will stop by soon and offer to carry you where you need to go.  We rarely commit crimes against strangers, especially strangers in distress.  In fact, we rarely commit violence against anyone.

This is not an aspirational, elite, upwardly mobile, highly educated, sophisticated, nuanced kind of place.  People are nice, humble, straight, open . . . good folks, salt of the earth folks.  They didn’t and wouldn’t invent the Internet, but they will use it.  We missed the Tech Bubble of 1999 and the Wall Street Bubble of 2008 and our employment rate is holding good in this recession.  We’ve got a diverse economy from coal to tourism to high tech corridors, light manufacturing, and lots of services like education and health care.

Things are going pretty good right now and we’ll handle the disaster in the Upper Big Branch mine.  We’ll rescue and recover.  We’ll do the public hearings and investigations.  We’ll do the science and engineering and make it better.  We will.  Mining is a damn dangerous thing and if you spend a good day with miners on their job, not the day after a disaster, but just a normal day, you know they know it and they keep that in mind.  They are friendly, but serious men and women who love each other and the work, even with the risk.  They are not Pawns, Puppets, or Patsies.  Just people who care about each other.

If you aspire to the Cool Table, you understand none of this, but fortunately you have the Appalachian Meme to protect your ignorance, inexperience, and intolerance.

And, y’all wonder why we don’t offer you a taste of White Lighting?

Daddies and Daughters; Boys and Birds (T-Birds)

Today’s persuasion theory comes through a close reading of a long forgotten text, “Fun, Fun, Fun,” by Professors Wilson and Love, and colleagues, also known as the Beach Boys from the Department of Surf at the University of Endless Summer.  Refresh your memory at YouTube or analyze the relevant album cover.

Beach Boys Fun Fun Fun

Now, the text.

Well she got her daddy’s car
And she cruised through the hamburger stand now
Seems she forgot all about the library
Like she told her old man now
And with the radio blasting
Goes cruising just as fast as she can now

One can reasonably infer that She has a positive attitude toward her Daddy’s car, now.  And her Daddy’s car wasn’t no stinkin’ Oldsmobile, but a T-Bird that looked something like this.

1962 Ford Thunderbird

No wonder She forgot all about the library like She told Her Old Man, now.  Wouldn’t you love to cruise your hamburger stand in that Red Chariot today?  Fifty years out the T-Bird still soars. And, realize, too, the social advantages from the roadster.

Well the girls can’t stand her
‘Cause she walks looks and drives like an ace now
(You walk like an ace now you walk like an ace)
She makes the Indy 500 look like a Roman chariot race now
(You look like an ace now you look like an ace)
A lotta guys try to catch her
But she leads them on a wild goose chase now
(You drive like an ace now you drive like an ace)

She drives better than Charlton Heston, the standard for chariot driving from Ben-Hur.  You remember the scene (YouTube clip).

ben-hur-chariot-race

Girls envy Her skill.  And the boys?  She’s outruns them. They can’t catch Her now cause She’s got Bird and it’s no Goose.  But . . .

And she’ll have fun fun fun
‘Til her daddy takes the T-Bird away
(Fun fun fun ’til her daddy takes the T-Bird away)

Well you knew all along
That your dad was gettin’ wise to you now
(You shouldn’t have lied now you shouldn’t have lied)
And since he took your set of keys
You’ve been thinking that your fun is all through now
(You shouldn’t have lied now you shouldn’t have lied)

Daddy finally gets wise to Her and takes Her set of keys which we know aren’t just a set of keys but freedom, envy, and out-running boys.  Which leads us to our persuasion theory:  Reactance.  We’ve seen Her living life free, autonomous, and independent in Her Daddy’s T-Bird, but He unfairly took her freedom away and now . . .

But you can come along with me
‘Cause we gotta a lot of things to do now
(You shouldn’t have lied now you shouldn’t have lied)

And we’ll have fun fun fun now that daddy took the T-Bird away
(Fun fun fun now that daddy took the T-Bird away)
And we’ll have fun fun fun now that daddy took the T-Bird away
(Fun fun fun now that daddy took the T-Bird away)

Daddy may want to rethink his persuasion strategy with the car keys as He tries to make Her a Better Girl.  She evaded all the boys before, but now, what’s a Girl to do?  With a Daddy-induced Reactance, Boys won’t be chasing her Wild Goose.  Instead, baby, “We gotta lotta things to do now” won’t include visits to the library, but will require stops at the hamburger stand now, both before and after They have Fun, Fun, Fun.

The persuasion lessons:  Women, like Men, make different decisions when they feel autonomous (internal attributions, baby) than when they feel controlled (external attributions, Daddy).  Daddies, and Mommies, elicit Reactance not Restraint when They take away freedom of action.  And Boys, like Girls, want to have Fun, Fun, Fun.

Parents, remember the Rule:  If You Can’t Succeed, Don’t Try.

Endless Summer.

Endless Human Nature.

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Footnotes

1. No CGI in the Ben-Hur clip.  That scene is all human and horse with skillful editing.  Heston and the bad guy, Stephen Boyd, actually learned how to drive chariots and were filmed in action at speed in the movie.  There were a lot of stuntmen, but Heston and Boyd both took chances that are no longer possible in a Hollywood movie of this scale.

2. The T-Bird is a great image in cars.  Bob Seger immortalized the car and the people who made them on the Line in Makin’ Thunderbirds (YouTube rock video).  The newest Ford attempt a few years ago doesn’t come close to the early 60s version or the even more compelling late 1950s T-Bird immortalized in American Graffiti with Suzanne Somers as the Blonde.

the Blonde in the T-Bird - Suzanne Somers in American Graffiti

3.  Nothing but Steve’s Sincerity here, but I’d love to have that 1966 GTO from the Beach Boys album cover above.  Just add Melanie and Fun, Fun, Fun.

66_Pontiac_GTO

Spring Break 10 – Persuasion and Performance at Seabrook Island, SC

Alternate Uses of Plunger
Our recent vacation to Seabrook Island, SC provides a sad lesson on the difference between persuasion and performance also known as the say-do gap.  Businesses use persuasion to attract customers and that persuasion can be crucial to success.  But, if their performance is poor, then persuasion provides only irony.  Consider this say-do gap.

We drove to Seabrook from Morgantown, so I had my beloved 1999 Ford Explorer safety checked and inspected at my Ford dealership.  Ford is fully in the future with an active Internet presence and I was able to book my inspection online!  And, when I showed up on time, I surprised everyone in the garage who apparently hadn’t been brought up to speed on Ford 2.0.  They looked at me like I was from 1890, dug through a box of paperwork until, sure enough, they found a computer generated printout of my inspection appointment and tasks.  After some consternating, they slid me in and had me out in 90 minutes, performing the inspection . . . but nothing else on my task list including three Ford recall repairs, an oil change, and a sensor light failure.

We belong to AAA Auto Club and use their travel map service.  That, too, is now online with AAA 2.0.  I defined the start and end point, confirmed the dates, and the AAA computer determined they’d have a Trip-Tik in my mailbox three days before departure so I could study up!  Of course, it didn’t arrive exactly on time, so I did my map study through Google.  And as I’ll relate in just a moment, we cut short our stay on Seabrook and came home two days early.  The Trip-Tik arrived in our mailbox on what would have been the day we were scheduled to return home.  So, AAA needed almost a month to deliver a product they confirmed would be available in 10 days.

Now, to Seabrook Island and our stay at Pelican Watch 1396 as booked through the premier management team at ResortQuest.  We took a top end one bedroom unit and paid a top end price in advance.  That was the best part of the experience.  The unit was in a top end development, but the bottom had fallen out of this particular condo.

There were minor technology problems:  you could call out on the phone, but couldn’t get calls in; there were no DVD or VCR players and the low end “big” screen displays couldn’t handle VGA inputs from computers which actually worked out pretty well because there was no wireless in the room so we couldn’t access Netflix or Hulu on the laptop to display on the “big” screen displays.  And, there were some plumbing problems with a toilet that ran on and on and had the added benefit of a loose seat; and lighting problems with fixtures and lamps that had the wrong or mismatching bulb in it; and kitchen utensils and gear purchased during a drunken yard sale spree so that nothing matched, coordinated, or worked; a fully functional clothes washer that created clean wet clothes that revealed a dysfunctional clothes dryer with a broken door latch.  (Oh, now I get that top photo!)  And a broken lock on an exterior sliding glass door.  And . . . you get the point.

Best of all, ResortQuest was staffed by a group of friendly, polite, and attentive folks who did their best to leave every contract violation understood and unfixed.  In particular the Property Manager did what she could to make sure I knew I was part of her problem!

The upshot of all the problems with the unit is that I spent a lot of time on a phone (the condo phone when calling out; my cell when receiving) trying to get things functional rather than enjoying a spectacular early Spring week.  ResortQuest was nothing but say-do gaps the first three days of the trip.  Facing more of the same for the remainder, we left two days early.

My persuasion point is that each of these businesses – Ford, AAA, ResortQuest – uses persuasion to attract customers and make profit, but then has serious performance problems.  The only thing worse than a performance failure is hyping the performance with persuasion, then failing.  The mismatch between what They said They would do (persuasion) and what They did (performance) intensifies the effect of the failure.

For my part, I’ll never again use my Ford dealership for service and maybe not for another vehicle (and with a 1999 Explorer you know I’m close to needing a new vehicle).  Triple A is nothing but a joke, taking a month to create and deliver something so simple as a map.  I’ll handle that problem with Google.  And ResortQuest?  We’ve stayed at Pelican Watch five times in the past fifteen years.  We’re in the Come Back Club.  Now, we’re in the Never Again Club.

Remember the Rule:  If You Can’t Succeed, Don’t Try.

The trip was not a total lesson in persuasion failure.

Jasmine Porch MBB

Thanks, Jasmine Porch!

And, sunsets on the beach were alright, too.

Melanie Sunset Seabrook 10

Changing Other People Scale (COPS)

Persuasion and sex have this in common:  Everyone thinks they are better at both than they are at either.  We tend to take an optimistic view of our efforts – who aims sex or persuasion toward failure?  Thus, we think we’re pretty good, yes, indeedydo, thank you Sir and Madam, when we’re not.

We clearly suspect our weaknesses at sex.  Look at the magazine covers you read.  All of them offer quizzes and tests, tips and hints from your Uncle Irv or Aunt Shirley although never with those names but rather something like Amir Rastar or Mamimi LaZimi even though the advice is the same.  So, you admit your weaknesses in bed if only to yourself.  Why not admit them about persuasion?  That’s the first step on the journey of recovery.

So, how good are you?

Take this quiz.  Respond to each statement with your agreement or disagreement on this 5 point scale.

1 = Strongly disagree
2 = Disagree
3 = Neither agree nor disagree
4 = Agree
5 = Strongly agree

1.  When I try to persuade, the Other Guy changes in the direction I seek.

2.  I have a variety of tactics.

3.  I observe the Other Guy to size up opportunities.

4.  I think about persuasion.

5.  I read persuasion sources to learn more.

6.  The Other Guy rarely realizes when I’m trying to persuade.

7.  Most people probably don’t think I’m very good at persuasion.

8.  I can control my thoughts and feelings as needed when I’m trying to persuade someone.

9.  Given a choice between persuasion and power, I’ll take persuasion.

10. Machiavelli is a misunderstood genius.

Interpreting your score.

Score under 35: You’re normal.
Score  35 to 40: You’re effective.
Score  40 to 45: I’d hire you.
Score   over 45: Who are you fooling?

At some level would an effective persuader even take this quiz?  All bad persuasion is sincere, after all.

A Snowy Day Report

Let’s drop the Blog Wisdom pose and just accept it for what it is:  A Snowy Day.

Snow with Setting Sun.

Snow Front

Snow Angel with calisthenics.

Snow Angel

Snow Steve with gratitude.

Snow Steve

Snow Zooey with attitude.

Snow Zooey

Snow Melanie after I promised to take her to Acapulco next year.

Snow Acapulco