Tick-tock. Tick-tock. That’s the way your business career sounds to Nicholas Boothman, the author of “Convince Them in 90 Seconds or Less.”
Author Boothman is the master of the speed-dial relationship. His oeuvre includes “How to Make People Like You in Ninety Seconds or Less,” and “How to Make Someone Fall in Love with You in Ninety Minutes or Less.” [Hopefully, it won't take you ninety minutes to read this column. The last thing I need is another moon-struck reader sending me roses and wedding proposals. Not until Boothman comes out with "Make Someone Divorce You in Ninety Seconds Without Mentioning Alimony."]
If you think it would take some pretty darn advanced mind-control techniques to turn a tough-minded individual like yourself into a blubbering mass of infantile infatuation, you’re right. According to his publicist — who certain is gaga over the man — Boothman is a “licensed Master Practioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.” Personally, I’ve never heard of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, but I think we can assume that his credential is a license to kill off any natural inclinations you have to avoid being seduced by a chipper Canadian who frequently wears red shoes — “bright, red, expensive leather shoes,” as Boothman describes them, “a little offbeat, showing I don’t take myself too seriously.”
If Boothman doesn’t take himself serious, I do, and so will most everyone who shells out $12.95 for a paperback the size of slice of whole wheat toast. Still, the advice comes fast and furiously. “There’s an order and a process to connecting with others,” the author explains, right at the jump. “First, you establish trust with the basic instincts, then you establish rapport with the personality.”
Most of the book is devoted to the instinctual response, which is good for you, considering that serious gaps you have in the personality department. And here’s more good news — apparently, today’s easy-living lifestyle has erased our instinctual early warning systems since all it takes to establish trust are a few sneaky tricks.
Consider the technique Boothman calls Muldoon’s Rule Number One — “when you meet someone, look them in the eye and smile.” Though neither the author nor Muldoon tell you which eye to choose, this technique establishes an almost hypnotic state in your new acquaintance who will now bend themselves to your will totally, either because they trust you, or because they’ll do just about anything to get you to stop starring at their eye and smiling like a mental patient.
[Find it difficult to smile on cue? Boothman suggests you stand in front of a mirror and "say the word 'great' in as many different ways as you can: angry, loud, soft, sexy, like Jerry Lewis." Next time you meet a stranger, say "great" under your breath three times and you'll be smiling. Of course, the stranger will be running -- as fast and as far from you as humanly possible, but, don't worry. Chances are, they will like you.]
Another technique to make someone do your bidding in ninety seconds or less is to become a chameleon, copying the movements, emotions and body language of the poor sap you are about to subject to mind control mojo. “We have unconsciously been synchronizing ourselves with others since birth,” the author writes. “Now is the time to start doing it consciously.”
Thus, if your target is slouching, you slouch, too. If you target is sneezing, you sneeze, too. If your target puts his right leg in, you put your leg in. If your target puts his right leg out, you put your right leg out. You’re not only making a friend, friend, you’re doing the hokey pokey!
If this is a new job situation, I suggest you take it to the next level. Ignore the chair offered to you and sit right down on top of the interviewer. That way, you can totally meld your body to theirs, not just producing a chameleon effect, but a leech effect, as well. If you weigh over 300 pounds, this effort is especially effective. Just make sure you get the job-offer letter signed, sealed and delivered before you agree to get up.
Unfortunately, Boothman does not write about the real problem in business today. It’s not to get people to like you. It’s to get them to leave you alone. Fortunately, you don’t even need 90 seconds to convince people that you are a loathsome creature who should be avoided at all costs.
Just be yourself.