What This Book Covers
Take the Opposite Direction. This is the heart of using reverse psychology. In fact, it is
pretty much the dictionary definition of it.
You encourage the other person to do the opposite of what you want to do with the full
expectation that they will rebel against you and end up doing what you really wanted them to
do in the first place. Of course, as with all techniques like this, the devil is in the detail.
Your tonality will affect things a lot. If you whimper and sound as though you do not care
what the other person does, they are in control. But if you can make yourself sound as though
you really do want them to do the opposite thing then they will think they can get the upper
hand by disobeying your command.
It is a very fine line and one that needs some practice to use to full effect. But when you spend
some time getting it right, the effects are superb.
One of the tricks of using reverse psychology is to make it sound convincing. The chances
are that you’re not going to get it right first time, so practicing is essential.
After all, you do not want to burst out laughing just because your mind has raced ahead and
seen what is likely to happen when your chosen victim carries out the task that they thought
you were totally opposed to.
The more you practice, the more whatever it is you’re suggesting will come out naturally.
Which, in turn, is the most convincing way that you can say it.
Scarcity is often used as a reverse psychology technique. The Futurama episode where the
new “must have” gizmo is allegedly in short supply but is actually available by the lorry load
is often not far from the truth.
But the illusion of scarcity works in lots of cases. We react to a perceived shortage by buying
up the item, almost regardless of whether or not we want it. Fashion retailers do this all the time – there’s only one of each size on display and they do not replenish the display until the item has been sold.
You can use people’s inbuilt desire to get the upper hand by creating the perception of scarcity
and letting human nature take over.
Use Their Ego
You did this as a child when you dared someone to do something. It works the same way as an
adult, maybe even better.
Find a way to challenge someone to do something that they wouldn’t ordinarily do.
Whether it is completing a project on time, coming in on a budget or just being nice to you as
a life partner. Stroke their ego and throw in a challenge – it works well.
Of course you do not want to read this book, do you? Which is a decidedly blunt use of
reverse psychology. And maybe not the best way to start off this book as it runs the risk of
putting a few people off reading it – they’ll look at the first sentence and think “OK, I’ll press
the back button.” But hopefully more people, yourself included, will be intrigued enough to
read on and find out how they can use reverse psychology.
What This Book Covers