Funny money? No, thank you!

One of the most important characteristics of an effective persuader is the ability to use language properly. Relying on the obsolete theory of Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences (neuroscience rejects multiple intelligences as separate entities – more on this can be found in the book of Daniel Coyle “Talent Code”), verbal intelligence corresponds with an ability to use language effectively. Understanding written and oral communication, formulating complex expressions and adequate choice of words, all these define Howard Gardner’s verbal intelligence. A person with high verbal intelligence communicates with other people effectively, articulates his or her thoughts clearly, aptly chooses arguments justifying his or her position. One of the easiest exercises to develop alleged verbal intelligence is reading books, which is a disappearing activity in these times of tablets, smartphones and simplification of language usage.

A very interesting example of influencing language, changing the reference point is the statement of Maciej Strączyński, the president of Association of Polish Judges “Iustitia”, who addressed the 613 cases of speeding by judges, who due to their public functions enjoy immunity – Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (nr 232 3873 z 2014-12-01). Quote from Dziennik Gazeta Prawna:

Małgorzata Kryszkiewicz (DGP) – In 997 cases of exceeding the speed limit by public officers with immunity, 613 concerned judges. Are you ashamed of these statistics?

Maciej Strączyński – On the contrary – I’m proud of it.

Małgorzata Kryszkiewicz (DGP) – How come?

Maciej Strączyński – These 613 reported cases of speed limit exceedances apply supposedly to a period of three years. This means that every year we have to deal with more or less 200 cases in the whole country. There are 11.200 judges in Poland, much more than parliamentarians or diplomats. It is easy to calculate that a statistical judge is caught committing this type of traffic offense every 56 years. A judge usually serves for about thirty years. Statistically this means that one judge throughout his or her period of public service commits a half of traffic offense.

Half of an offense per a single judge sounds much better than 613 offenses. A similar tactic comes from the world of negotiations, where changing a point of reference by conversion of a dispute makes the argument futile. Since the world of negotiations is the world of business and sales, this tactic is called “funny money”. An example of such a tactic – Price of 3.000 USD for a cleaning robot can be deterrent to a customer. However if we indicate that in a specific lifetime the cost goes down to around 3 USD a day, it automatically reduces the significance of the excessive price, provided the client uses the robot for 1,000 days, which in Polish standards equals a two-year warranty and only 270 days after its expiry. Who would accept such a job for 3 USD a day?

funnymoneyWhen reading this you could be coming to a conclusion that such a conversion is primitive, and being thoughtful is enough to recognize and defend against it. Now, if it was that easy to be thoughtful, actually no one would ever fall prey to influence. The point is that every of us have an innate aversion to process too much information, resulting in self-manipulation. Self-manipulation comes up when the area of a brain responsible for emotion analysis says ENOUGH!I do not want to analyze any variables any further. Let heaven ‘s will be done!

In my next post I will explain what is needed to influence others and why it is becoming easier to manipulate others.

Tomasz Piotr Sidewicz

Fear of influencing others (?)

After many many years of observations gained from conducting training in the field of conscious influence I came to a conclusion, that people are reluctant to use any techniques of influence consciously. Many a time I noticed in my previous posts that fear is a terrible adviser, since fear paralyzes common sense thinking. Why is fear paralyzing? Because of the need of taking responsibility for the impact of influence, the so called PRISONER’S DILEMMA.

Whether we like it or not, everyone uses social impact. The reason? – To make your life easier. Any form of communication among living creatures is a form of influence. Communication is not a transmission of information, contrary to what is commonly believed. Communication serves to interact with others and cause specific reactions or provoke. So everybody does it. Every single human being influences others, providing she or he shares the same location with other human beings. The simplest form of influence is ingratiation as a self-presentation. The hardest form is persuasion and eristic. The most common form of influence is lying and intriguing. Since people tend to delude themselves (ignorance is bliss), those who lie and plot do not have to make too much effort to be successful.

Fear of influencing others is like fear of being too attractive in terms of appearance. Certainly, there are situations when your attractive appearance can cause more harm than good. However the benefits of being attractive outweigh potential damage. Unfortunately, in many environments being too attractive is not accepted due to social conformity and common acceptance of bringing others down. These include corporations, in which there is a specific DRESS CODE, even specifying the length of fingernails, or prohibiting wearing sandals in the summer.


Human being is fairly simple animal, equipped with so-called limbic system, which is of great importance in decision making related to social behavior. Contrary to what we tend to think about ourselves, it is easy to manipulate and deceive us. Providing one accepts the cost of exerting influence on others, risk associated with the fact that someone may realize he or she has been manipulated pays off. Example ? – First date, bragging of one’s awesomenimity and subsequent verification of facts. All those who disappointed their partner for not being what they had presented, understand the nature of cost of social impact. By the way, I wonder why the attitude – DO NOT STAND OUT! is so common. Probably because you fear the consequences of disappointment of others.

In my next post I will present a technique called funny money, which is not as simple as it seams, however when well-played makes the whole argument substanceless. I will use the example of speech given by the President of the Polish Judges Association „Iustitia”, where in the course of an interview the president reaches for the funny money technique to reframe the whole problem he had faced. How did he handle it ? Read the next entry!

Tomasz Piotr Sidewicz

Success, professionalism and passion !

Passion – word meaning suffering, derived from the verb meaning in Proto-Indo-European language (proto-language) to inflict pain. Passion is not a hobby. Semantically or etymologically (etymology is the history of words ) the words have nothing in common. If you have passion, it’s basically suffering because of the pain passion inflicts, and yet suffering ennobles your character.


A man without passion is like a vase without flowers. Hollow. Looking at them, you can see that something is missing. They may be put somewhere, but sooner or later they can be hidden in a cubbyhole with the other empty vases .

What does passion provide, beyond suffering ? It enriches and develops you. Development starts where comfort zone ends. Under a warm feather-blanket there is no room for any development. On a deck chair with a drink in hand? It is difficult to develop either. Jacek Walkiewicz said that professionalism is never a coincidence. Passion gives professionalism. Professionalism gives quality. And quality is luxury in life.

If you have any passion you know that everything is possible. You just have to want to realize your dreams! And dreams? If you are not afraid of your dreams it means that your dreams suck! Act! Compete with your dreams!