Obi-Wan Kenobi was the Master. He showed us the way with his Jedi Mind Tricks. Call it guile, charm, persuasion or influence, this is a vital skill for Manic Impressives. It’s how we get past our Stormtroopers and remove obstacles designed to stop us from moving forward.
Case in point. While trying to penetrate the Death Star’s defenses (parking lot at Disney’s Animal Kingdom) the other day, I came face to face with a Stormtrooper (parking attendant). He greeted me civilly enough, but he was looking to get into my wallet. I was looking to slip past him and save my wallet for overpriced crap still to come.
Step One – Disrupt Their Thinking
Obi-Wan was dealing with highly trained, disciplined actors working from a script. When he said, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for“, he was guaranteed the results he wanted.
I was dealing with a highly trained Disney employee working from a script, guaranteed to get the results Disney wanted. So I had to get him off script. This is the key to successful Jedi Mind Tricks.
I did it with a powerful left jab, metaphorically speaking. An open-ended question designed to throw him off his game.
I led with, “So what are we doing here?”
“Matthew” (in quotes since it was clearly a stage name for this “Cast Member”) was momentarily dazed, no doubt because the thousands of drivers before me had never said anything like that to him before. But he staggered back to his script.
“That depends on what you want. Regular Parking is $20, and Preferred Parking is $40.”
Step 2 – The Counter Offer
“What I want is Preferred Parking for free.”
It’s important to let people know they’re in a negotiation. Especially people in charge, used to enforcing rules. Just because everybody else complies doesn’t mean you have to.
Stunned by a right hook to his midsection, “Matthew” leaned against the ropes. In a flash, my tag-team partner was on him.
Step 3 – The Reasoned Argument
My wife came back with a classic that had worked before – “We’re not parking. We’re just going to go into the park for a bit, go on some rides, eat some lunch, buy a few souvenirs, and then head right back to the car.”
Once you’re in a position to negotiate, you need to do their thinking for them. You must give them the words they need to justify giving you what you’re asking for.
Step 4 – The Close
Obi-Wan closed by controlling their minds. You have to close by controlling their logic and emotions. You do this by giving them the justification for what you’re asking, being charming, funny and nice, and then, this is key, you shut up and let the silence work its magic.
After my wife gave the Reasoned Argument, I closed with, “So we’re not really parking.” All I had to do then was shut up and keep a straight face.
“Matthew” complied. “Alright then, since you’re not really parking, you can go on in.” Score – Disney 0, Us $40. A knockout by any measure.
Jedi Mind Tricks For Fun And Profit
Using Jedi Mind Tricks is tremendous fun and can be financially rewarding. They come in handy in dozens of situations every day.
It worked for Obi-Wan, and it will work for you. Disrupt Their Thinking, Counter, give a Reasoned Argument, then Close with a straight face and silence.
Ask for what you want, even if you think it’s impossible to get. When I blurted out, “What I want is Preferred Parking for free”, I felt unbridled glee. I guarantee that no one had been audacious enough to say that to “Matthew” before.
I won the round, and that alone could have been my prize.
But by continuing my influence with “Matthew” I achieved my actual goal. No, I didn’t really think it would happen. But I did it with a straight face anyway because I believe in The Force. It has rewarded me enough times over the years that I do not doubt it.
And so are the two 20-dollar bills still sitting safely in my pocket.