In Human Hacking, author Christopher Hadnagy introduces and describes techniques he uses as a security consultant. Hired by companies to test their security by breaking into buildings and secure areas, Hadnagy uses influential techniques to gain the trust of “gatekeepers.” It’s a book that comes with a contract in the first pages, asking readers to use the techniques within for the purpose of “leaving people better off for having met them.” While not obviously applicable to bowling, the techniques in this book can bear fruit both for bowling coaches and for teammates looking to provide the right support to each other.
The primary piece of advice from the author is that in order to influence others, you must cultivate an empathetic mindset. In his work, Hadnagy is trying to influence people to let him do things or give him information that they otherwise wouldn’t. If you understand what a person will respond to, you can tailor your communication to be far more effective. Many people make the mistake of talking with others the way they prefer to be communicated with, instead of thinking of what the other person prefers. This kind of awareness is of primary importance when you want to influence people.
Hadnagy also discusses the concept of “pretexting.” Establishing a pretext for a conversation is essentially deciding what your goals are and how you are going to achieve them. For example, as a parent of a child who has just done something wrong, you can choose a pretext of the sympathetic parent with a goal of getting an explanation for the behavior, or you can choose to be a disciplinarian handing out punishment. Both are reasonable approaches that will yield different results, but once a pretext is chosen, it’s important not to change. A sympathetic parent getting the explanation can’t shift into discipline mode as soon as they get the information they want, or the trust will be broken for next time. In this case, it is better to have the discipline conversation later. Hadnagy’s point is that you can approach any conversation this way, be it as a parent, ...
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