If you can get the Other Guy to make self disclosures – sharing information about yourself that is not obvious, easily accessible, or well known – you can make more persuasion plays. Disclosure not only reveals personal information it also demonstrates trust. If you don’t get the persuasion value of that, you need to leave this post now. When the Other Guy believes in you enough to self disclose, you are in a golden Box. So. How do you build this Box. Consider this abstract.
The present study examined whether nonconscious priming could increase an individual’s willingness to disclose personal experiences and thoughts to a stranger. Fifty volunteers between 18 and 35 years old were randomly assigned to one of two priming conditions. Group disclosure (n = 25) unscrambled sentences containing disclosure-related words and gave ratings to self-descriptive statements emphasizing their willingness to talk to others. Group nondisclosure (n = 25) was exposed to words and statements expressing a lack of willingness to talk to others. Following priming, both groups were asked to write two essays focused on recent personal experiences and self-reflections.
We randomly assign Other Guys to one of two priming conditions: Disclosure or nondisclosure. Here’s a list of the key words the researchers used for the priming.
A single page contained 10 sets of five words in scrambled order; individuals were told to make a sentence using four of the five words in each set. The word sets were identical except for the disclosure and nondisclosure items. Participants in group disclosure saw the words opens, talks, free, announced, long, shared, communicate, word, and candid in the sets. Participants in group nondisclosure saw the words closes, listens, restricted, concealed, short, kept, refuse, quiet, and shy.
The priming hides in plain sight as the Other Guy creates sentences based either on words like, opens, talks, free, or words like, kept, refuse, quiet. It is that simple. Now, the Other Guys engage in that writing task about the self. The researchers then counted and coded the sheer amount of writing, feeling disclosures, and personal qualities disclosures. Count the Change.
The disclosure priming produced more writing (d = .67, a Medium+ Windowpane), more feeling disclosure (d = .61, another Medium+ Windowpane), but no difference on personal quality disclosure. These are obvious and practical differences, ones that would be apparent to an attentive observer. You could take the two stacks of writings, scan through them, and easily observe the amount and feeling difference without having to carefully count.
While this is an experiment and we can be pretty sure the priming did produce the outcomes, the more interesting consideration is generalizability. Will this work in other Locals?
Realize this is a writing task where the Other Guys are motivated as experimental participants to try and comply and do a good job. Writing isn’t speaking. And that experimental compliance can be tough to reproduce in real life. This study was published in a clinical psychology journal and was aimed at tactics for getting clients to be more disclosive in therapy. That’s a lettle beet different from a sales situation. So, how do you work around this? Let’s sell a car.
As part of the sales pitch you provide a word jumble task to customers presented as New Car Discount Game. For completing the Game customers get stuff you would give them anyway or maybe you just give them free stuff like a cold drink or a cupcake! Figure it out. But give them a good reason to complete a word scramble task. “Imagine how you’d feel driving a new Car. Complete the word jumble!” Now, as part of that scramble include the Disclosure words: open, free, shared.
You might put up banner sized posters that contain the scrambled words with a mere exclamation on the poster: Solve This! Then just watch the Other Guys who walk by the poster and pause to Solve This. You know what to do next.
The creative part of persuasion is often in building the Box that contains the actual persuasion play. How do you maneuver the Other Guy so you can deliver the tactic? Building the Box requires your knowledge of the Local and the kind of Other Guys you attract and is the hardest part of persuasion. It’s pretty easy to learn about various plays – jeepers, just read the Primer or click the How-To category in the Persuasion Blog. The hard part is getting your Other Guy to walk into the play. It illustrates the Rule:
Drive with Science and Putt with Persuasion.
Clearly this Disclosure Priming Play works best in face to face Locals. You might throw it online with a web-based delivery, but I doubt the effectiveness in more traditional print or video delivery. You need to get a lot of Processing from the Other Guy on the scramble task. It’s easier to both make that happen and know that it happened face to face compared to mediated channels (except online where you could monitor time and clicks from the Other Guy).
And, you’ve got to deal with the values clash inherent in this play. You are deliberately generating trust in people as a means to set them up for your persuasion plays. Trusting people typically do not expect persuasion. But, as Professor Nietzsche teaches us, persuasion is beyond good and evil, so that’s no problem for you. It may, however, present a problem for the Other Guy who could perceive a violation of trust. You might want to develop an Outro Cover Story that maintains the trust even with successful persuasion. Remember the Rule:
There’s a Difference between Smoke and Mirrors, and Persuasion; with Persuasion the Illusion Lingers.
Elizabeth Grecco, Steven J. Robbins, Eleonora Bartoli, and Edward F. Wolff. (2013). Use of Nonconscious Priming to Promote Self-Disclosure Clinical Psychological Science, first published on February 20, 2013
P.S. Priming note. You cannot conduct priming in just a few seconds with a word, a glance, or a smile despite all the web wisdom out there (you might recall this post as an illustration). Priming requires cognitive effort from the Other Guys even though They are unaware of either the effort or the risk. Anytime you see a maven selling Effortless Priming, you see a panther on the hunt. Remember, the hunter is most vulnerable when he thinks he’s moving in on a kill.
P.P.S. Do you think the Pickup Artist could use this to pick up Other Guy chicks? Wow. Trust games in a bar! Combine opens, talks, and free with liquor then get toujours l’amour, tonight for sure.