“Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles.”
― Ian Fleming, Casino Royale
You interact with
people every day and proper use of social dynamics changes your understanding
of people forever. This is all about turning any interaction to your advantage
and get what you want. That’s how you get to “connect” with an asset or even
simply get things done.
The lesson learned from any successful deep cover story such as Jake Falcone is that in order to integrate a group and be just like one of them, you need to build rapport and do your homework.
It all hinges on the clothes you wear, your attitude, the way you talk and the way you handle yourself. Those things are of paramount importance. They express your social standing, origin and place in a group's pecking order.
We all have prejudices. This is just a simple fact of life. No matter what your conscience says, you have them and we all have them. Every day of your life, without even noticing, you profile everyone you meet at a single glance. You don't notice because it's encoded deep inside your subconscious mind. You do that and a lot of other things naturally, without any type of conscious intervention, no matter what the “politically correct” dogma says.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioners use that fact as a baseline for influencing behaviours and to "read" minds, but most importantly to build rapport.
Rapport is what makes you feel comfortable with someone. It's this “we've know each other for a long time – you're from the old neighbourhood" feeling. This feeling is triggered by a bunch of social elements you share among your group. You tend to resemble the people you hang out with, use the same expressions and adopt similar postures and mannerisms. A good example is when long time friends will turn to look at each other looking for validation, virtually at the same time.
These social dynamics patterns were referred to in my circle of friends as "The Game" and later found out it is heavily used in PUA (Pick Up Artist) circles after Neil Strauss book of the same name. Even though its primary aim is related to dating, its knowledge certainly can be used for other purposes.
To create the impression of a long time relationship and build rapport faster, you need to understand how it works. Everything social isn't set in stone, but more akin to patterns in a kaleidoscope. I needed to understand those patterns and how to use them to influence my social encounters favourably.
To get what you want, you have to bond with the asset enough to trust you.
Hey! You're from the old neighbourhood!
What does someone's posture tell you? To the trained eye, posture can reveal nearly everything about a person. Self-confidence, openness, deceptiveness, nearly every move you make reveals something about you. From the way you shake a person's hand to how you sit, stand and carry yourself in general.
Don't push it. Just like a bad actor in a movie, sometimes it doesn’t feel right. The actor who tries too hard (overacting) somehow doesn’t look and feel natural. For those of you who have seen “Full Metal Jacket” try to recall the drill instructor at the beginning of the movie. Everything about him screamed Drill Instructor didn’t it? His character felt right and nothing about him betrayed a non-military background. The reason is that he was the real McCoy. Ronald Lee Emey is a retired United States Marine Corps drill instructor that was originally supposed to be hired as a consultant for the movie. Instead, he got the part.
Authenticity is the key For M. Emey it was really easy, but you will have to learn to program yourself to live these experiences for real, and not as if you were an actor in a play.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming allows one to “connect” with strangers using techniques that allow you to simulate you're a genuine member of their social circle.
Adopting someone else’s posture is the first technique. In NLP it’s called mirroring. You'll need to conscientiously adjust your breathing and posture to that of the person with whom you want to create rapport. But don’t mimic, it’s creepy and it serves no interests. You’ll be exposed and lose your target.
Think of a social situation in which you felt connected with someone and review the whole thing in your head, as if you were rewinding a scene from a movie to look at it all over again. Notice how you were “like” the other person but also remained yourself. That's what you want to achieve. Learn to pace your breathing as well; though it's harder than adjusting your posture, you'll have to make an effort at first, but it will soon come naturally.
The purpose of this is to create nearly instant rapport or empathy, so that once you have this connection you will then be able to change or induce changes in the other. This is a very useful skill, especially for a teacher. You certainly remember the bad teachers, those with whom you had no affinity. Whatever he/she would say or do, it would always rub you the wrong way. You just couldn’t connect. An adept at NLP may surmise that you had a pacing problem.
Creating a genuine character is based on that. Do your homework first and then just jump in and get wet.
Soak up the subculture You could get yourself into a social setting that is known to be a hangout for people who have a personality similar to that of the person you need to build a rapport to, and pace yourself to them.
Soak up the subculture. Literally. If you're trying to become a goombah, don’t ever make the mistake of doing and saying thing like they do in the movies. It most probably will look and sound off-key.
Just go out there, drink what they drink, and listen. Listen as much as you can, don’t talk, just absorb. Look at the TV hanging from the ceiling; turn your eyes off and your ears on. Go back home and reproduce the feeling of being there, of being one of them. Listen to the music they listen to and learn to like it. If you heard words that are not in your vocabulary, write them down in context to the best of your recollection.
Do that for a few days and you’ll start to become one of them. You’ll be faking it at first but it’ll become natural after a while. Establish a pattern and anchor (we’ll get back to this later) so that you can morph back into your goombah mode as needed.
Don’t lose track of yourself; tomorrow you may have to become someone else altogether. So, here are the keys to successfully create rapport:
- Pace yourself with the target
- Adopt a similar posture but don't mimic
- Use the same language