This blog is essentially regular people repellant. The average person takes one look at the name of the website and eyes begin to roll. Instead of reading through and finding out we’ve already met several people in real life and this is not run by a bunch of broke people, the average person moves along quickly. In essence, this website encapsulates what we call “rapport breaking”. Everything about it is set up to push away and detract regulars (also known as mosquitoes).
Now unfortunately… you’re going to have to interact with regulars on a daily basis and no one should take on the tone that we use in this blog (although it’s what we actually think!). We’ll go ahead and summarize the best way to go about your day to decrease your interactions with these value leeches …. Deflect or Agree.
Two Key Principles
Principle #1 – The Blame or Praise Game: The average person believes in superstitions. Make no mistake about it. The typical person has lucky socks or lucky shirts or some insane item categorically unrelated to success or failure. This is an absolute necessity to understand. People will attribute “value” to obscure objects that are unrelated to success or failure.
If you said hi to someone in the hallway and they got fired 20 seconds later… There is a chance they will blame you for the event! In addition, if you said hi to that same person 20 seconds before getting a promotion, they might view you as “lucky”.
There is a reason why weather women routinely get hate email in volatile climate areas and it has nothing to do with logic or reason. They are just looking for someone to blame.
This strange phenomenon is also known as “Shooting the Messenger” or blaming the person who delivers bad news. Unfortunately, the phrase is not entirely correct. The correct way to understand this phenomenon is “Shoot or Praise the Messenger”. If you need an example of praising an unrelated messenger… just look at Television Game shows where people hug and kiss the host of the show even though he had nothing to do with them winning the prize. All of the people who win the prize will say “the host was amazing!”.
Hopefully, with the short paragraphs above, you’ve already identified a few people who view you favorably or unfavorably for unrelated reasons.
Principle #2 – Forced Connections Cause More Hate: This is the second most important item to understand. Due to some sort of “sixth sense” people do not like it when others attempt to become the messenger (or avoid being the messenger). If a good event happens and an individual comes out of the woodwork to praise them… a baseline value of contempt is built. In the reverse scenario, if you witness a negative event and run away suddenly, the person will then believe you had something to do with it and… a baseline value of contempt is built.
Now we see the clear conundrum. Fortunately, there is an answer which is the *Deflect or Agree* framework.
Deflect or Agree
Avoiding the Blame or Praise in the First Place: Once we all agree that there is an implicit blame or praise dynamic at play the first step is to play offense. Like practically everything else in life, playing offense sure beats playing defense because you can continue to put the pressure on the opposing team to recover. Playing offense in this case requires you to *deflect* situations where Blame or Praise will take place. The last thing you want to do is have a group of regular people blaming you for their problems (regular people have a TON of problems with nothing to lose). In addition, you don’t want them asking you for help either (time suck).
#1 Steer the Conversation: Since you’ll develop a solid baseline set of sales skills, you will have solid conversational abilities to help steer any and all conversations. You’ll naturally find yourself mirroring the body language of everyone you speak with, helping you establish a baseline level of rapport and nothing more. Now your goal is to avoid being associated with anything positive or negative. *Deflect* the conversation to irrelevant pop culture or headline items.
For one reason or another, this seems to work and there is always some meaningless article on Yahoo, Twitter moments or otherwise to pull from. The most consistent item to use is a “widget description” conversation. During the rare times where you’re forced to interact with regulars you will ask them about the latest “widget” that came out. New iPhone, New Oculus Rift, New Restaurant… so on and so forth. Now you’ll see what we’ve done with this set up!
After steering the conversation to something “new” that came out you get to ask questions about it since 90% of people will know about it. Pretend you don’t know much about it and have them *explain* the widget or what food the restaurant serves, so on and so forth. This is key as you become the “student” in this situation and the person will feel like they added value by giving you information. Importantly, do not ask them for any actual advice. All you are doing is asking for *descriptions*. This will make it extremely difficult for them to claim that they added any value to your life since all they did was regurgitate something you could have learned with a five second google search.
In short, ask for descriptions of innocuous items and be happy/jovial about the response so you can be the “normal” guy in their eyes.
#2 Deflect All Advice Related Topics: Unless you’re asked for it, never give any advice. People don’t want advice they just want to hear what they already believe. Since you’ll rarely be asked for any advice (a good thing), don’t dig your own grave by giving out advice on any topic. Never have an opinion on sports games, politics, making money or otherwise. In fact, if at all possible, your default deflection response is “I don’t know anything about XXXX to be honest, I really wish I knew but I’ve never learned about XXXXX”.
There is a strange part of human nature where it is difficult to watch someone do something incorrectly (your instinct is to help)… Don’t do it! They won’t want the help and even if you’re right they typically won’t listen. Again, don’t give any advice and deflect all advice related topics.
You know you’re moving in the *wrong* direction when regular people are asking you questions all the time in your day to day life. Deflect *all* topics away from anything opinionated.
#3 Physical Deflection: You know who regular people don’t trust? They don’t trust clumsy people (psychology). So you’ve guessed it! Appear a bit clumsy. If you know you’ll be forced into a regular person interaction mess things up a bit. Make your collar unaligned, carry a glass of water far too full of liquid so you’re walking around carefully and spilling a tad and of course carelessly drop irrelevant items here and there.
People will not ask for advice from someone they view as clumsy so physically acting the part can certainly help deter any questions. To add to the clumsy-ness you can ramble when asked basic questions so people become a bit frustrated that it takes you five sentences to say something that could have been communicated in 10 words.
Final Note on Deflection: While we’ve kept it short, these three items alone will make it excruciatingly difficult to be involved in any blame or praise situation. We’d wager you’re safe 90% of the time if you follow those cardinal rules: 1) steer to description related conversations – them talking not you, 2) avoid opinions by pointing to a certain aspect where you know “nothing about it” and 3) physically act a bit off or clumsy to avoid direct questions (bonus: they will talk secretly about how they can’t believe you’re so clumsy!)
De-coupling the Connection: Life isn’t fair. No matter what you do you’re going to have “regular” people ask for your opinion at some point. There is no escaping this situation. Sure we would all rather physically peel back each and every nail from our fingernails to our toenails than be in this situation… but… like paying your taxes, you’re going to be forced into this situation from time to time. We’re now in agreement mode to avoid the contempt framework where you’re associated with some sort of an event where you want no responsibility.
#1 Guess Their Opinion: This requires a lot of quick thinking but you may be able to knock it out quickly. Anyone who asks for advice just wants to hear their own opinion as stated above (reason for avoiding advice). Your goal is to guess their opinion… the one that they have *already* formulated. Typically the structure is *start small and agree*.
If someone is asking about making money, start with some outrageously small way to earn money off their current skill set (time for money exchange for the win!). If it is about physical change add some meaningless item that adds a couple minutes to their exercise routine (add a few sprints!). So on and so forth.
Notice… the framework is exactly the same as advertising directed towards regular people. It involves some small “trick” that will “transform or shock” the person. What this really means is that people are looking for small changes. No one wants real advice that requires work, they just want some tiny change that will “change things”. The enormous benefit of this line of thinking is that your small edit or suggestion won’t hurt or help them. It will be neutral. This helps you avoid future requests and helps you avoid contempt (their feelings towards you).
#2 Suggest a Third Party: Have a quick list of large popular websites and forums to refer the person to. This is a great way to avoid repeat advice. You’re going to bank on herd mentality. By recommending a large popular website or forum for the answer you can guarantee at least one person on the website/forum knows what they are talking about and you avoid burning one of your actual contacts who knows the answer inside and out.
#3 Keep the Smile and Nod Consistent: Keeping everything together, once you find that you’re in “agreement” with some innocuous change lock into the smile and nod set up. “Hmm yeah that makes a lot of sense” should be your gut reaction and make it seem like they got something out of the conversation.
Final Note on Agreement: You’re going to find yourself in this situation a few times and you’ll be forced to provide an opinion. If you can zero in and agree on some small meaningless change you’ll reap the following benefits: 1) no impact in being blamed or praised and 2) correct deflection to a “good source” saving you time
– This set up is specifically for dealing with regular people since they will not change
– Regular people are extremely emotional and irrational and will blame or praise you for association
– Don’t try to be involved positively or negatively *stay neutral*. If you try to swing it to be a positive you could build contempt and on the flip side they may ask you for more advice (time suck!). No winning in swinging the pendulum.
– Play offense by deflecting all conversations to description based items when possible. If you’re forced into those boring topics like sports then go ahead and play “neutral” which is something regional based (home team fan for example).
– If forced into advice situations, start SMALL. No regular person actually wants to improve their life they want some small trick that could change everything for them. By making small irrelevant changes the impact is neutral and you can refer them to a larger resource beyond yourself.
Good luck in dealing with regulars, it isn’t easy! It took many years to avoid arguing with idiots on the internet and giving advice to people who desperately need it. Remember these rules and you’ll save hours of your life (more likely months or years).
As usual NO questions. A new Q&A will be sent to email subscribers shortly (this week).