Archive Monthly Archives: June 2016

When Words become Weapons

How to spot manipulation

Words have a lot of authority, and they change our brain. Negative words as well as positive words.

The Power of WordsCurrently, our society is brutalizing. That makes it even more important to keep in mind the power of words. We are living in times when hate speech becomes socially accepted. We hear words of hate, negative and limiting words on TV. Even in political debates.

I usually write and teach about the positive power of words. And how we can use words and thoughts to send active marching orders to our brain to get us what we want. To make us happier and more successful.

This article is about negative words and manipulation. Some of us do not seem to be as aware of the damaging effect of negative words as they are of the power of positive ones.

Words ...

  • can shatter souls
  • are sharper than knives
  • can break people
  • can make us sick
  • make us suffer
  • are like traps and loops
  • build walls
  • can destroy and ruin

Just try this little experiment: Say aloud "I love myself" 20 times. Does it change how you feel? I bet you are feeling better than before. But negative words have the same influence. 


Influence, Manipulation, Propaganda


Not just our words influence us but also the words of others. Many people know about this power and use it against us. In normal times, I would say "Just remove yourself from people attempting to influence you by using negative words, words of hate."  But these are not normal times, and I would tell you to stop watching the news or political debates. 

There are many ways to use words to manipulate and influence us: 

Disinformation


Disinformation means the act of suppressing information, playing down the importance of information or change its meaning. 
  • Twisting the meaning of a fact
  • Exaggerating
  • Leaving information away


Word Manipulation


Pseudofacts

Example: 60 % of clients are happy. How many have they asked? How did they ask? Did they maybe just ask ten buyers at the checkout to nod if they are happy? 

Emotional words

Words that stir our emotions have a very influential effect. For instance: "family", "quality of life." 

Reinterpretation

Instead of "guest worker" you use the term "foreign worker" or even "alien worker."

Twisting words and meaning

Instead of terrorist you call it "freedom fighter."

Elimination of harmful words

Goebbels (Nazi) for instance disallowed the use of the term "assassination."

Repetition


Just like with auto-suggestion repetition is a powerful influence-enhancer. Repetition is often used in the context of influencing us towards negative feelings. By the hate speaker who might also attempt to invite the crowd to hate chants. A very powerful weapon. 

Choice of words


Doctors and therapists use this method as well. Author Paul Watzlawik wrote about a surprising phenomenon: A doctor helps a kid to get rid of his warts with the following trick: He gave the kid a coin and told him that he will buy the wart from him. 

This absurd statement causes psychosomatic reactions. The blood vessels shrink, and the wart dies off. With the coin, the ownership of the wart changed. 

Any absurd negative statement would have a similarly strong effect. For instance: "I will build a wall, and they will pay". 

Qualitative and quantitative information


"The big tragedy of our society is that we have too much quantitative information and too few qualitative. We know way more than our ancestors, but we know it less good. We need better information by getting the information in a better way - not by getting more information." P. Lévy. 

Way too often the spectacular comes before the important, the meaningful gets suppressed by the sensational. 

That keeps us from seeing clear and coherent. 

Our perception of quantitative results can be influenced. Example:

Test result of a heart treatment pill:

A = Number of heart attacks reduced by 33 %
B = 1.4 % less heart attacks
C = 95.9 % of the test group given placebo has not had heart attacks, while 97.3 % of people who used the medicine where heart attack free

Naturally, we would prefer alternative A that decreases the number of heart attacks by a full 33 %. 

The funny thing is that it´s the same medicine and the same study. The results of the "Helsinki Heart Study" were: 

4081 patients have been observed for 5 years
2051 received the real medicine. 56 of them had a heart attack
2030 received placebo. 84 of them head a heart attack

The treatment was successful in 28 additional cases. That is 33 % of 84 heart attacks without the medicine. The placebo was ineffective in 84/2030 cases = 4,1 %. The treatment only in 56/2051 = 2,7 % of cases. That is a reduction of 1,4 %. The treatment made 2051 people attack free = 97,3 % - as opposed to the placebo with 95,9 %. 

Suspicious wording


Travel agencies are masters in questionable wording:
  • Natural beach (probably full of seaweed and stones)
  • Easy going guests (they will hit on you hard in the hotel disco)
  • Ideal for guests who love great beach holidays (enjoy the day, because it´s dead here at nights)


Insecurity can increase trust


Sometimes we perceive statements as more believable when the speaker signals uncertainty. Unpolished speech, searching for words can come across more trustworthy than a perfect, polished speech. 

Speaking in pictures


Not just in hypnotherapy pictorial speech is used. Who speaks in pictures, speaks more forceful. The pictures get stored in our long-term memory. Word and image (right and left brain) get connected. 

Example: It has been proven that creating a picture of fat cells can influence: 
"The greedy cells are white-yellowish, oval, and they build up in high, honeycomb-like layers. They grow and grow incessantly."

Even though this statement is incorrect from a scientific and medical point of view, obese people have been found to be influenced by it. 

Politicians use this form of pictorial speech with great success. 

How to spot propaganda


Typical manipulation techniques: 
  • overstating advantages
  • understating disadvantages (or not mentioning them)
  • censoring or ignoring other opinions
  • knowingly stating false facts
  • getting personal
  • missing indication of sources
  • strong emotional appeal (prejudice)
  • denigrating opposition

People that are afraid or insecure can be manipulated the easiest. Everyone is looking for stability in times of uncertainty. 

Nobody knows this better than the pipers. 

What can you do?


To make sure that you cannot be manipulated against your will you will need a high level of Emotional Intelligence. A high EQ allows you to understand your own feelings, the feelings of others and be in control of both, your emotions and your actions. 

If someone with a hidden agenda tries to manipulate you, you will see right through it. You will also be in the know about the source of your emotions so that you are immune against manipulative speech. 

That said, a high EQ also comes with the power of influencing others. It allows you to have better relationships in business and life. 

You are invited to join my free EI training, just click on the picture below to learn more and join:




Continue reading

Monchu – Successful Networking

Wisdom from Okinawa (Japan)

"You cannot choose your family." That´s what people say. The people of Okinawa (an Island in Japan) have a different point of view. The word "Monchu" means "own family." It invites people to put their family together independent of blood relation. The good thing about this is: One supports each other, helps each other and aims to share wisdom and knowledge from generation to generation.

Surrounded by supporters

Imagine that: You are surrounded only by people that aim to support you in all of your projects - in business and life. As you know, we have limited capacities for tending relationships and friendships. With the Mochu method you use all of your capacity for positive relationships that you have chosen and created. 

How does Mochu work?

What are the advantages of this method? How does this work? How can it support my growth as a private person and business person?

Step 1 Imagine three circles

In the smallest, inner circle are the people you love and honor the most. The relationship is deep, sincere, intimate and intense. When it is about interaction, you do not need reminders or appointments for this group of people. Often, this group consists of members of your real family - relatives, life partner, children.Put into the second circle all of the people you have to tend a relationship. Maybe your colleagues or clients. For this group, you will need occasional reminders so that you stay in touch on a regular basis. But through your job you are already in contact with these people regularly.The third group is your Monchu. The family that you have chosen.

How can you figure out which belongs to your Monchu circle?

It´s not a simple question, and the answer takes a bit more energy and time. To fill this circle in a way that helps you with your personal growth we will have a closer look:

Step 2 Develop your Monchu

The third circle consists of people
  • who support you for no reason
  • you want to help
  • you want to learn from
  • you feel you can help
  • you care about
  • who can benefit from your network
As you can see - it is not just about people who can help you but especially about people you can help. You do not look for chances and opportunities like you would do with regular networking.
You know what I am talking about when I talk about "regular networking"? You also meet those people at networking events where everyone is looking for clients, but nobody wants to be the customer of someone else. We love showing off our network. We count the number of connections and measure our influence with it.
To fill your Monchu circle, you are not looking for control and power. Also, you do not attempt to find as many connections as possible. You are looking for people you already feel connected with that can enrich your life.
People for whom you are willing to share your time and experience. That is a classical family concept.

Where do you find those people?

Check the lists of recent callers. Who called and asked you for advice? How about your emails? Was there anyone you would like to help? How about your friends? Is there someone who is in a rough spot or career transition right now?
Whom can you serve with your experience and knowledge?

How many should be your Monchu?

10 - 20 people are enough. The number needs to stay small enough for you to keep an oversight. Bear in mind: You will have to be in regular touch with these people.

Step 3 Serve your Monchu

Let´s say you only have 20 minutes of spare time to allocate each day. Maybe it´s just the amount of time that you used to spend on tasks that do not do anything for you. Or the time you are currently allocating to time- and energy thieves or negative people. It´s an amount of time everyone, no matter how busy, has.
  1. Spend 10 minutes on people of your Monchu circle and offer help and support. A call to a person in need or great articles, inspiration - whatever helps your peopleMaybe you had an idea after someone told you about their problems? Perhaps you share an experience that made you think of that person.If you can only manage to write to one person in this 10 minutes, that is fine.
  2. Allocate 5 minutes to ask people from your Monchu for feedback. You can ask if your suggestions helped another person or maybe get feedback on an article you wrote.Individuals who know you well could give you pointers on what your strengths are. Asking people for feedback might be the most difficult suggestion, but you will gain valuable insights.
  3. Use the last 5 minutes to consider whom you can introduce to someone from your circle. And why.If the people chose to get to know each other or not is their decision. But it´s a great feeling to know those people you value know each other.
If you like, you can start a (handwritten) diary of people you have helped, asked, introduced, etc.

Step 4 Give without expecting return

To give is the new way of taking. Who gives (support, time, advice) gets validation: "I am valuable because I can help others."
And don´t forget: One step is "ask for feedback." Some are so ecstatic about step one (helping others) that they forget about themselves.The important thing: Do not expect anything in return. Connect with people because you want to connect. Help because you want to help. It´s your family - not your business network.
And, yes, anarchy does not work, and it´s possible or even likely that there will be people who take more than they give back. Step by step you will learn whom you want to keep in your Monchu.
Maybe you will discover how enlightening it can be to receive feedback from someone that is not your friend.
Feedback from someone from your Monchu circle can open your eyes faster and more intensely than friendly pointers from people who know us for a long time. Because you are not that close, it is easier to give feedback.
From the comments, you can extract new learning goals and work on them. The feedback you will receive from your Monchu will be provided without hidden agenda most of the times. It still makes sense to look at every piece of advice people are giving you with the "third eye".
One thing is for sure: When people from your Monchu circle notice that you offer support without asking anything in return they will want to stay close to you and only talk about you in a very positive way. And what can be better than be surrounded by a likable, supportive family?

What´s the point of Monchu?

It is no secret anymore that to give makes us happy. With the Monchu method, you decide proactive whom you want to give to.
In our jobs, services and duties are regulated by a contract most of the time. We are in the reactive mode.
By being there for others and by receiving feedback you will grow and have terrific support for both, your personal growth and developing your career/business.
You learn about your potential (whom can I help and how?) and your blind spots (feedback from others).
Is this worth 20 minutes of your time?
Try and decide for yourself.

Continue reading