Frame Control: The Big Secret To Starting Fun Conversations

This episode from The Vault is going to cover one of the most impactful skills you could ever learn; using frame control to set people’s social expectations and change how they react to you.

The big idea here is to bring people into your reality and have enough belief in your view of the world that those around you follow your lead.

So how do we bring people into our reality? If you are consistent in your behaviour and this is congruent through your body language, tonality and facial gestures, then you increase the likelihood that people will go along with you. In neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) circles, this is called frame control: most people outside those clandestine realms would just call it ‘influence’!

We’re stepping up a level in skill here, so get ready because it’s going to be incredibly fun!

Use Frame Control To Make An Impact

Whenever you approach someone, you are setting social expectations. Compare a guy who introduces himself with a wide smile and open arms to another who looks at the ground sullenly.

Who do you think will get a warmer response?

Of course smiling will get a better response! However, be careful to remember that if our guy shifted back into anti-social body language, he’d quickly isolate his audience and lose their attention.

So being consistent and convicted from the start of an interaction to the end is what retains interest.

Unfortunately, the attention span of the average man or women is short and we’re all walking around in a trance, focusing our attention on our thought patterns.

Since our heads are in our phones, mp3 players or in the clouds, when you approach someone it is vital to interrupt their thought patterns. Be prepared to snap people out of whatever it is their currently focused on. Usually, they’ll give you a dazed expression whilst they make sense of this little interruption.

Don’t be disheartened if you’re met with a few puzzled faces. It takes several moments for people to get out of their own heads. You’ll see Russ approach a young lady who is at first puzzled by his compliment until it sinks in and she smiles, all the while he is smiling!

Simply, keep smiling until they smile back – this is you setting social expectations and them following these protocols.

Strong Realities

Half way into the video, I demonstrate what can happen when you exhibit a strong reality and behave with consistency whilst under pressure. (Note: this is an advanced technique and I don’t encourage approaching intoxicated strangers).

As you can see, this gentleman is unpredictable and not in control of his behaviour i.e. he is incongruent.

Armed with only a banana, I approach him setting the social expectation. My prop becomes a gun. As he puts his hands up, he is already buying into my reality. The banana/gun is also a playful way to introduce myself and this disarms him.

As he moves closer, I hold my nerve and remain calm and unreactive i.e. I am congruent through my attitude (playful/ curious), body language, and tonality. This calms him down and three minutes later we shake hands and he leaves peacefully.

The Secret At The Core Of Influence

The secret which binds the whole technique together is simple. You must be aware and attuned to how people are responding to you, but you must not change your behaviour towards them.

If you’re dealing with an aggressive customer at work, use frame control! Be conscious of his attitude but don’t escalate the situation by being angrier. Or if a person is being unnecessarily rude, don’t buy into her reality and react. Remain calm and do your thing.

This technique works superbly in difficult situations but can be used in most any scenarios. For example, if you’re minding excited children or teens, don’t get flustered and panic. Instead, register their excitement but remain in control and rein ‘em in.

The applications in creating powerful first impressions are obvious, as is the potential to increase your influence within a social circle, workplace, or everyday life.

A friendly smile during an interview or first date fixes most nerves on both sides and sets the pace for the rest of the interaction.

Go out and challenge yourself to smile at someone and hold it until they smile back. Once they do, this is their investment into your reality and they have effectively opened themselves up warmly to you.

As you see from the video, all it takes is consistency, conviction, and commitment in your reality. Once you’ve got these taken care of, your social interactions will be smoother and more within your influence.

It doesn’t take much to calibrate expectations, so why not aim to create some great ones? On the next episode of The Vault, you’re going to learn how to use any remaining feelings of being shy, introverted, and quiet to your advantage in connecting with people. Go check it out now!

Further Reading

“Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art Of Persuasion” by George J. Thompson