Frame Control: How to Overcome the Power Frame
The definition of a “frame” is a set of emotions and desires that you bring to the table anytime you are communicating with another person.
Now the interesting thing about frame control is that whenever two or more people are interacting one person’s frame will overcome the other person’s frame and this person will usually get their way.
Example: Think about a courtroom, you have a judge, two attorneys and a group of jurors. The two attorneys both have their own desires and emotions, the attorney who’s frame is adopted by the jurors will win the case.
Technique: Overcoming the power frame.
This is a technique that you could probably use in a variety of situations but the best examples for it are ones that are relevant to the business situations.
If you are in the business world you have had the experience of dealing with someone who had the power frame because of their massive ego. This is a person who is used to getting their way, they are used to people acquiescing to their desires, this is a person who usually does whatever the hell they want to do regardless of the information or how it affects other people. Power frame types tend to be oblivious to what others think. Their ego is rooted in their status. These are usually people who have big titles or feel some kind of entitlement.
If you are communicating or negotiating with a power frame a lot of times they will only listen to the first few seconds of what you have to say and then make a snap judgment about what they will do. Inevitably in business and in life we have to deal with these kinds of people coming from this kind of ego-driven a power frame. However, the good news is that they are vulnerable to your power busting frame because they do not expect it. They expect your difference & obedience. You will take them by surprise with this technique:
To bust a power frame, use a mildly shocking but not unfriendly act. Do or say something that is slightly defiant but at the same time be humorous.
When you are defiant and funny at the same time, a power frame personality is going to be pleasantly challenged by you and instinctively knows that they are in the presence of a pro.
Example: Let’s say you are a salesperson and you are in the boardroom making a pitch.
While you are in the middle of your pitch you realize that one of the key decision makers of the deal gives you an objection to doing the deal.
- Since you are true sale pro you say: “Hey Chris, that’s a great question, I would really like to finish this presentation because I think when you have the total picture of what I am proposing it will make sense to you” then you go on with your presentation.
- A few minutes later you notice Chris is playing on their blackberry and not paying attention to your presentation.
- Anyone who’s been in sales or negotiates deals for living is familiar with this kind of situation, now say: “Hey Chris, I would just hate to have to use my Jedi powers to take your smartphone from you while I finish my fascinating presentation” While you do this make sure you are smiling big at Chris and roll your eyes a little when you say fascinating presentation.
This line accomplishes a few things:
- It’s slightly shocking because you are calling out Chris for not paying attention.
- You are being funny saying that you have Jedi powers.
- Using positive and body language and joking about your presentation being fascinating you are building rapport between you and Chris.
- Chris is now going to be super focused on you for the duration of your presentation.
So when you encounter the power frame be a little defiant or deny them what they want from you while at the same time being funny and friendly and you will win frame control of the situation.
Now the concept of frame control I believe comes out of the whole world of pickup but this particular technique comes from a book called Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff. Which is one of the better books I’ve read on the topic of sales, negotiation, and persuasion, I highly recommend checking it out.