Loc: My suburban lair
Another consideration is whether or not the flattery or complement appears sincere.
And of course there are also the subconscious, psychological aspects of it. As that article that you linked to alluded to, just because someone doesn’t react immediately to the flattery doesn’t mean that a seed hasn’t been planted, which can eventually germinate into future opinions, reactions and behaviors.
I'll call a fat ugly bitch a beautiful swan. I'll call the dumbest man on Earth a brilliant son-of-a-bitch. I'll call a cat a lion. A plant a tree.
I'm a Closer!
As long as they sign their name on that dotted line, I could give a fuck less if my flattery is "sincere" or not.
Agreed. I've worked 20 years in the medical field as a paramedic and if it's one thing I've learned, it's how to turn some angry bitchy patient into someone who is walking away singing praises about the help I've given them. While 'disarming' someone may be viewed as being Lesser Magic, it's truly an art form nonetheless and should never be underappreciated, especially come promotion time...
As long as they sign their name on that dotted line,
The OP explicitly said "beauty supply store".
Now... correct me if I am wrong, but if you go into such a shop it must be because you want to do things to your "beauty". Real or perceived. Or at least you want to tweak your feelgood factor. Which means that you are conscious about your "lesser magic" of self representation when you walk in; thus being susceptible to manipulation along those lines.
I personally don't see that there is such a thing as "sincere flattery". Admiration, yes. Compliments, yes. But all in good taste and at the appropriate moment. Flattery seems to me to be insincere by default, and even at its best only a prop-up (or confirmation) of doubt that is already moving along the edge of insecurity and self-doubts.
As far as I can see, all beauty shops and beauty parlours, hairdressers, nail designers and that sort of thing, MUST provide "insincere flattery" for the simple reason that they have more of a therapeutic than a realistic effect in the beauty compartment. (I once had a gilfriend who was a hairdresser and she claimed that her "real" job was that of getting men laid. All it would take was for the guy to be smart enough to say "Oh! You have done something with your hair! It looks faaaabulous!" and voila, he will get laid.)
If, however, you try to flatter somebody who's savvy in the art of lesser magic, they will just laugh at you. It only works as a means to prop up an already fragile self image.
Of course it can but your shrewd observation of the human animal should tell you if the intended victim is truly gullible or not enough to fall for it. P.T. Barnum said there's another sucker born any minute, and laying down some falsehoods work for some people, that’s how sales people make a living.
But too much insincere flattery, and to the wrong people can be equally disastrous. That’s why I tend to avoid it myself. People as a whole don't mean much to me and I guard my own reputation pretty well, so I can't afford to be caught unawares by someone who points out publically, ‘oh he's that guy who lies!’
When you seek to charm, beguile or use psychology on people, do so sparingly or you'll look the fool for it. Read The Art of Seduction some time by Robert Green and his other book The 48 Laws of Power.
Loc: A Trailer Park
I was under the impression that he never actually said that. I've only read one book about him though (The Fabulous Showman: the Life and Times of P.T. Barnum, by Irving Wallace; excellent, highly recommended!) and definitely learned something in the process. Among so many others, Barnum also had a rich, deep talent for word-craft.
I don't think I'm good at selling but I can be extremely diplomatic with a very careful choice of words. People hear the same things differently so I think it's critical to be able gauge your audience and adapt.
A lot of people have commented that insincere flattery only works on the attention-starved, weak-minded, low self esteem crowd. The article I posted implied that it may also work on the sharper tacks, the people that know that it's insincere. It may reach those people on a deeper subconscious level like John Prophet said. The fact that it's not seen as a threat may make it more effective than we realize. Piqued my interest because it's something I'd never considered before.
I'd always had the same feeling as you that insincere flattery in the wrong situation could backfire. Get you two steps back instead of one step toward your goal. I mean, it sure puts me in a bad mood. No one wants to be treated like a dupe.
I pride myself on having a fairly well-attuned bullshit detector, on having a fair amount of sales resistance, but maybe I've been too dismissive. I posted the article because I thought it was useful to re-evaluate a few things: how malleable I might be; the indirect results of this sort of manipulation I may've been unaware of; and the stealthy nature of insincerity in general.
All of my thoughts on this subject are pretty vague right now. I will definitely read the books you suggested, thank you!
_________________________ "What happens in the shadow, in the grey regions, also interests us – all that is elusive and fugitive, all that can be said in those beautiful half tones, or in whispers, in deep shade." ~ The Brothers Quay
It does in fact work, however I'm not really fond of bogus flattery. I much prefer the delightful art of razor ended compliments. This especially works on stupid people and that look of "Thank you...I think??" or the smile at the realization of the compliment that fades once they take into consideration exactly what I said always brings a smile to my face, however if they're really goofy then they don't even catch it. Sometimes I just enjoy being a smart ass, when the situation calls for it.
Insincere flattery is used by those who lack talent in manipulation or...maybe they are attempting misdirection.
Instead of commenting on the great tie (which is a single colored cheap piece)and an obvious "kiss ass" move, try something like "Hey...saw your (give ownership) memo the other day on blah blah policy. Thanks for letting us know. You've saved me a lot of future headache" You all ready knew abou this policy, but they don't know that and now they feel good about what they did and about you. Pick something they want to feel proud of and stroke their ego.
As far as the "feel good" factor of insincere flattery. As stated in the article, there is an effect on even those who are aware of the obvious attempt at manipulation.
Its similar to training a dog. Rather than have them associate bad feelings (by punishment) with the wrong action, help them associate good feelings (praise, treat) with the proper action. They'll soon forget the wrong action and associate the good feelings with the proper action and want to get the good feelings again. And it works on people too. We are all animals, after all.