In Short

Throughout history, people have found the need to get others to change their minds. Writers, politicians, business people, advertisers, and special interest groups, to name a few, use persuasion techniques to manipulate their audiences. Therefore, you encounter (and use) many of these tactics every day. When you recognize them and understand how they work you can not only resist them when you need to, but use them to your advantage.

Skill Building Until Next Time

Go through the latest issue of your favorite magazine. Pick out two advertisements and fill out an evaluation (like the one found on the previous page) for each.

Misusing Information— The Numbers Game


In this lesson, we will explore some of the most common ways in which numerical information is misused. They include incorrectly gathering numbers, drawing the wrong conclusions, and misrepresenting the data.

We are bombarded with facts and figures every day. At work, at school, and at home there is information about what is going on in the world, who we should vote for, what we should buy, and even what we should think. If we take it all for granted as factual and objective, we are, in effect, letting someone else do our thinking for us. The problem is, facts and figures are not always factual. Information is manipulated all the time. Whether by deliberate misuse, or through negligence or plain incompetence, what we see, hear, and read is not always the truth.

Lesson 8 dealt with how to differentiate between accurate, objective information, and that which is false and/or biased. In this lesson, we will look more closely at the numbers used by those sources and how they can be manipulated. We have all heard the phrase "numbers don't lie." But the fact is that they do, all the time. If we rely on numbers, whether presented as statistics, polls, or percentages, as the basis for our decisions and opinions, we could be making a serious mistake. Keep in mind that researchers who work with numbers and those who analyze or interpret research data can also be biased, less than competent, and negligent. Therefore, you must be just as concerned with the source and quality of the numbers you rely on as you are with words.

The good news is that it is not difficult to get a basic understanding of how numbers can be misused. It all happens in one, or both, of two key areas. First, numbers must be gathered. If they are collected incorrectly, or by someone with an agenda or bias, you need to know that. Second, numbers must be analyzed or interpreted. Again, this process can be done incorrectly, or misused by an individual or group. Once you learn what to look for in these two areas, you can evaluate the numerical data you encounter, and rely on it only when it is objective and correct.

The Art Of Cold Reading

The Art Of Cold Reading

Today I'm going to teach you a fundamental Mentalism technique known as 'cold reading'. Cold reading is a technique employed by mentalists and charlatans and by charlatan I refer to psychics, mediums, fortune tellers or anyone that claims false abilities that is used to give the illusion that the person has some form of super natural power.

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