Expression Games – Why Erving Goffman and Malcolm Gladwell Believe We’re All Secret Agents

In his brilliant new book “Talking To Strangers”, Malcolm Gladwell takes an extremely close look at how we’re often deceived by others – until it’s too late. He does this by recasting in vivid detail a wide range of famous cases, including the stories of the exposed Cuban spy Ana Montes, Bernie Madoff, Jerry Sandusky, …

Positive Politeness – Strategies & Tactics

According to Politeness Theory, there are three key strategies that salespeople and negotiators use to minimize FTAs: claiming common ground, conveying cooperation, and fulfilling wants. Claiming Common Ground  Within this first strategy are the tactics of noticing, exaggerating, seeking agreement, and avoiding disagreement. Noticing is accomplished by paying compliments, such when we comment on something …

Why “Let me check with my Manager…” is an incredibly effective ritual

Last weekend, I went car shopping and was offered a slight discount on the initial price under two conditions: First, the salesperson had to convince his manager to approve this special discount. Second, I had to commit to purchasing on the spot if his gamble was approved.  After I affirmed on both counts, he disappeared …

Giving freedom when it counts

One time, a customer asked if they could try my product. I responded, “You can…but I don’t recommend it. I recommend getting started now, and here’s why.” Two minutes later, they bought. Sales Trainer Grant Cardone responds to “I’m not buying today” with “That’s fine, most people don’t buy on the first day. Most people …

3 Key Factors in Politeness – Distance, Power, Impositions

Distance  In Politeness theory, distance describes the degree of social familiarity between parties, such as the difference between a close friend and a complete stranger. When distance is high, we tend to minimize our FTAs (face threatening actions), and focus on off record (implied) requests. Conversely, when distance is low and familiarity high, we tend …

Why there’s more to Politeness than meets the eye

According to Politeness theory, selling and negotiating are among the most delicate of social interactions. This is because our offers and requests – the essence of what we do – are experienced as “FTAs” (Face threatening actions) by both parties. Having built on the work of Erving Goffman, the authors of this theory distinguish between …

Vegans – Masters of Social Influence?

As someone married to a vegan, I’m lucky to have a front row seat to frequent conversations about her lifestyle and the always required saving of face between differing parties. Interestingly, a researcher at Central CT State University in 2012 studied how vegans (and vegetarians) handle these exact situations with the goal of identifying the …

Seth Godin Talks Face

On Wednesday’s episode of his Akimbo podcast, Seth Godin dedicated his monologue to the precarious difference between truth and belief. He argues that because this difference is often overlooked, we have a tendency to talk past each other and miss the opportunity for real conversation.  In explaining the difference between truth and belief, he gives …

Why I’m starting this Blog

For 10+ years now I’ve worked in various types of sales.  Like many Sales Professionals, I became quickly addicted to reading books, watching videos, and listening to audio materials by popular sales and ”success” gurus.  Thinking I had covered enough ground and looking for the next hidden advantage, I began exploring the subject of negotiation …