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The "public recruitment" strategy: to obliterate your opponent, recruit the crowd

There are many ways to recruit the crowd.

You can either power align with what the crowd already stated it wants, or you can shape a consensus.

The middle road of pacing and leading is also a great approach: start with something everyone (subconsciously) agrees with (power-aligning), and then lead them in new directions.

Examples: Chris Rock & abusive father

The other day I was writing down how Chris Rock could have "punished" Will Smith for the slap.

And I said that he should have framed Will Smith as having issues, and then taken a stance against violence and bullying.
These -"no" to violence and no to bullying- are things everyone agrees with, and he would have led the public outroar against Will Smith, who would then be framed as the guy with issues who takes it out on others with violence.

Another example:

Some weeks ago talking to a friend, I advised him that to defend against his father's power move, he should have said out loud something like:

"dad, why are you treating your own child so poorly".

That would have worked more than any aggression back because of the "bystander power".

The reason was that everyone would find a dad abusing his child disgusting, so everyone would side with him, against the bad father.

Higher-level: strategy

The above 2 are very different examples, but the dynamics of the solutions are similar.

And it's a recurring pattern for many situations with people, bystanders, or friends around.

So finally, from the subconscious, it became conscious to me that many techniques have one thing in common:

You want to say, do, or frame things in a way that the majority of the people around would agree with.

Ideally, not just agree with, but nod along, confirm, and conform (in case you're leading a change), but have them potentially ready to stand up and take action to support you when needed.

When you can get the public opinion on your side, when you can get the people around nodding, you won.

And, if you do it well, you set a dynamic where you and everyone around agree against your opponent

In the example of Chris Rock, if Will Smith had walked back on stage to attack him, people would have been clamoring for him to be kicked out.
People around would have also been far more likely to intervene to physically stop, restrain, or even attack Will Smith.
Same for the abusive father: if he had continued disrespecting/abusing his son, the people around would have been far more likely to intervene.

I'll have to work on this concept, and it'll probably find its way into PU as its own frame control / self-defense technique.

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Mats GBelleaderoffun
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If in the meanwhile any of you has any other examples or can re-connect the dots with past approaches we used, happy to read.

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Yes, this reminds me of a brainstorm we had about "frame spreading".

Quote from Ali Scarlett on May 26, 2021, 10:09 pm

Yes, thanks for starting this thread, Matthew.

Quickly, I'll share a bit of what brought me to this "frame spreading" concept.

I remember one day in high school when I was talking with a friend of mine, and I prevented a potentially long-winded debate (and loss in social status) by using this frame control technique.

The conversation went something like this:

Ali: (talking about dating and relationships)

M: (loud, seemingly defensive, and almost offended) "Is there something wrong with a girl wanting a guy who has money?"

[Entire classroom falls silent, some eyes fall toward Ali]

Ali: (confident) "No, but if a girl leaves a guy because he [the other guy] has more money, then she's a gold digger."

[Entire room remains silent, curious how M will respond]

M: (calms down and goes back to work)

Ali: (turns back around in chair and goes back to work)

  • "...if a girl leaves a guy because he [the other guy] has more money, then she's a gold digger." (= outspread frame: women who are only in relationships for the man's money are gold diggers)

And, leveraging that frame that's widely held by society helped me resolve the situation in what felt like a powerful manner.

*Note: One could say that the frame used was already "outspread" (i.e. widely held), hence the name: "outspread frame".

I've been making notes on this technique, referencing a popular example from Lucio about a man buying a girl flowers. Maybe we can brainstorm the concept a bit more here.

Thanks again, Matthew, for starting this thread.

Then, Lucio came up with some more intuitive names for this term that underline the dynamics better:

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on May 26, 2021, 10:40 pm

So far the current entries for "power borrowing" in the dictionary are:

  • Appeals to “proper rules of conduct”: which ends up being a judge power move (ie.: “you’re not being proper”)
  • Appeals to rules/laws/SOPs, etc: recruiting the power of sanctioned “rules”
  • Appeals to the group: simply speaking in terms of “we” rather than “I” can also be a manipulative form of power-borrowing
  • Appeals to a specific higher authority: “the boss said”, “expert X says”, “this is not what the CEO wants us to do, the CEO wants… “

"Proper rules of conduct" presents the deepest overlap with what Ali mentions, but it's not exactly the same, plus a real name is missing.

"Frame spreading" is alright, with the downside being that it's not exactly intuitive.
So just to throw some potential names:

  • Social-norms pacing
  • Cultural power-alining / social power aligning
  • Virtue-alignment: sometimes the technique is a form of virtue-signaling, but not always and necessarily

It feels like any of the bottom three potential names could be great here.

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Lucio Buffalmano

I see points of contact with many of the concepts in PU.

Two in particular come to mind: (i) responding to microaggressions and (ii) responding to people insulting you in public.

Many of the techniques to respond to microaggressions are geared toward bringing the public to your side, e.g. "give them rope", "shame them with vulnerability", etc. These are powerful precisely when there are other people present.

The same applies where you deal with responding to public insults, and explain that this should not entail insulting back, but rather going to a higher level (i.e. shaming them for behaving in an ill-mannered way) and, if the insult continues, refusing to interact anymore. This is powerful because people present will see you as superior, and the insulting person is publicly shamed.

Personal episode digression: when I was a teen, I went to see a movie at the movie theater. Three guys in the row before me were talking incessantly, and I was building up anger because I did not know what to do. Finally I turned around and said:

Me: We have three talking comedians here.

Them: And you instead are a know-it-all.

Me: Look how well-mannered you are.

Them: (total silence).

I did not understand it at the time, but I was using the technique you explain in PU, and they probably felt shamed that people around could see them as ill-behaving. 

Also the lesson on dealing with public shame-attacks, where you mention that to turn the tide it is often useful to begin with a strong counterattack - it also recruits the public to your side, but in a more forceful and aggressive way.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you guys!

Just a quick note that I'm processing this.

I don't rush important stuff that might end up in PU, instead I make a note that I need to come back to it.

You're right Ali, we had somewhat already touched on this one in talking frames.

And yes, you're right Bel, there are many techniques that leverage this approach -which is why I thought it makes sense to make it its own technique with its own name and examples for "poor executions" and "good executions", and then potentially even find more applications to it or even a go-to solution for any time there are people around-.

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Mats GBel
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Adding to this thread:

Was remembering an old Tai Lopez ad for MentorBox the other night and it made me think.

Tai claims to read a book day. I bought a few of his courses a long time ago (way back when I didn't know any better, I wouldn't recommend him now and I make no secret about that) and he taught his method of how he reads a book a day in one of those courses.

To my surprise though, it was actually a process of skimming the book for the parts that are most relevant to you and your current pains, and then moving on.

So, it's more of an outcome of only reading a few pages each day than a whole book.

And yet, Tai never said that he reads a whole book a day. He only ever said that he reads a book a day.

So, technically he's not lying if we do a little frame control here (the "change the meaning" technique) and reframe from:

  • "I read a (whole) book each day" to
  • "I read (from) a book each day"

Still, the implication is that he was reading a whole book. (And, he knew that and how impressive it is, which is why he used it in his marketing.)

So, despite Tai's frame, the social norm is that if you say you read a book a day, you're really saying you read a whole book a day (and that's how most people would and did interpret it).

Now, as Lucio points out in PU:

Lucio: "When a frame becomes ingrained at a social level, it’s more difficult for individuals to buck the trend."

So, rather than bucking the trend and trying to convince the public that only reading a few pages from a book is better than reading an entire book, he follows the social norm and makes a claim that implies he does read a whole book each day (without ever directly saying that).

Tai manipulatively leveraged the social norm of what it means to read a book a day to get more people to enroll in his course. And, it worked.

That's why I like the name "social-norms pacing" (or, maybe, "social-norms aligning"). It has a wider range of applications than we might be considering at the moment.


By the way, I consider the frame control Tai used here as lying. Manipulative, win-lose, and unfair.

Hmm, this Tai's lie seems to be a different case to me, Ali.

Or at least, more of a stretch and not a highly representative example of this strategy.

The name referring to social norm might fit though.
Albeit I'm not convinced as to "norms", since norms seem to refer more to certain cultures, while with this technique we can also leverage -and most often we'd end up leveraging- what are inborn drives and emotions.

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