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Can you Learn to be Manipulative?

Answer: Yes. Manipulation is a skill like any other. First you learn how it works. Then you practice each skill that makes up manipulation. Finally you put those elements together into easy to use processes.

Manipulation requires careful planning and accurate information.

Learn how Manipulation Works

Manipulation gets a bad rap.

Skills of Manipulation

Manipulation includes many different skills. Here are a few core ones. If you want to know more, check out our social warfare course.

  1. Profiling through listening and observation. Profiling unlocks the “mastery” level persuasion and manipulation skills. If you don’t have a good model of the person you are dealing with, you can’t change their behavior. Start on the road to mastering profiling by focusing on watching and listening to people carefully. Look for what causes them to show strong emotions. Figure out what they want, here.
  2. Planning or strategizing. Strategy is a difficult but rewarding skill. It can allow you to out maneuver enemies before they even know a battle has begun. Game theory is an important part of becoming a strategic master, which you can learn some basics of here. The key to strategy is to think about the results. Then work backwards to bring about the result you want, and to avoid the ones you don’t want.
  3. Breadcrumb persuasion, sometimes called priming. Priming is when you place small elements in front of a person, expecting those elements to lead to the result you want.
  4. Acting – confidence and playing dumb. Sometimes you need to be able to be confident. Other times playing dumb will be an advantage. Learn about acting here.
  5. Momentum is the key to persuasion. If you can turn people’s behavior to your advantage, you will win. Ask yourself “how can I use their common behaviors to my advantage?” Learn more here.

There are many more, but this article can only be so long.

Easy to Use Processes

The final step is to combine the manipulation elements into easy to use processes. Think of problems you have each day, and ask yourself how you can use the skills we spoke about above to solve those problems. Here are a few examples.

Get someone to change their mind. Use the manipulative techniques of profiling and breadcrumb persuasion. What are the small beliefs that you can establish with little conflict, that will then lead them to the larger belief? 1. Figure out what belief you want people to have. 2. Figure out the minor beliefs that will necessarily lead to that larger belief. 3. Study the person and find their motivators. What do they want? 4. Present the smaller beliefs in terms of the things they want.

Deal with a stubborn person. Use profiling and momentum. Study what motivates them to act. What makes them emotional? Consider using the key to manipulation, momentum. If they won’t do anything you want, how can you use that inaction to your advantage? 1. Study what motivates people to act. 2. Study their typical behavior patterns. 3. Ask yourself how you can use those patterns to your advantage. 4. Take steps to set up that situation.

Stubborn people are only difficult if you don’t know how to handle them.

Establishing a useful image. Use acting and planning. Sometimes you will do better in a social situation if you emphasize certain traits and downplay others. Study the situation and ask yourself what people want in that situation. How can you emphasize the things people want to see to you get the result you want. 1. What do people want in this situation? What types of people do they surround themselves with? 2. How can you present a side of yourself that emphasizes those traits? 3. What stories can you tell that imply those traits?

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