3 Ways to Manipulate People

No matter what you’re trying to have someone do or stop doing, the most effective method is EMOTION. For example, if you are concerned about the safety of the parking lot at your shopping center… let’s call it Crossroads Mall… Good, you should be. Remember, customers like shopping places that look good, feel good. Danger doesn’t feel good and it’s not welcoming. Crossroads is the coolest mall in town, but right outside there have been several cars broken into during the last month, so people won’t come. Step one for you: LIGHTS. Install LED bulbs that are bright and point to the ground. These illuminate the parking lot and will naturally deter lots of crime. Step two: SIGNS. Word these in a way that give information about cleanliness (“NO DUMPING – Violators will be prosecuted”) and help customers feel safe (“SMILE – You’re on camera!”).

After emotion, people look to FACTS. Still assuming we’re talking about Crossroads Mall, you might use statistics and studies in a press release showing your mall outpacing all others in your region. With over 400k square feet of air-conditioned retail space including 5 upscale restaurants, countless services, and new state of the art IMAX theatre, Crossroads Mall is the social hub of Somewhere, Florida. Facts are facts, no matter who speaks them.

Finally, we come to CREDIBILITY. Another word for this is respect. The classic example for this is “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” This may be used after a request is made, like “Go on a diet.” But so far, you and your mall haven’t asked very much of the customers. I said it earlier, people like to shop places that look good and feel good. But the bad guys probably won’t listen to you if your sign just says pretty please. Put some FEAR into them. Use your sign to state how your mall is monitored by 24-hour ADT Security and the local police department. They’ll think twice when you warn them not to park somewhere or dump their trash while mentioning violators being towed or fined.

So just remember, if you’re trying to change someone’s behavior, use the elements that affect them the most, and use them well. Emotion, facts, and respect – but the greatest of these is emotion!