AELP 4 – Sweat and Psychology
Learn to understand English speakers with a lesson about psychology and Influence, a book by Robert Cialdini!
In the fourth video in this series, I help you understand English speakers by talking about an interesting book by Robert Cialdini called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In it, Cialdini recounts a story about how toy companies get parents to buy toys during the low buying months of January and February even after having spent lots of money on gifts during the end of the year holiday season. It’s really a fascinating story, with a lesson very applicable to language learners that will help you understand English speakers.
Enjoy this advanced English listening practice lesson video featuring me speaking at faster-than-native speed that will help you understand English speakers, and let us know what you think in the comments!
(Listen to and practice speaking along with this advanced English listening practice lesson that will help you understand English speakers with our customizable fluency-training video player! Select the speed of the video, the amount of spacing between speech sections, and the the number of times each speech section repeats. You can also click on a speech section in the transcript to jump to that part of the video to help you understand native English speakers.)
Hello, and welcome to a new advanced listening practice lesson.
It’s a pleasure to see you again, if you’ve been following these, uh, these new videos in this new series.
Now, just as a, again, I always want to have this brief introduction at the beginning of all these in case we have new people, cause we have lots of new subscribers coming in all the time.
In this video series I talk, uh, at an extra fast speed.
So there’s kind of the native level speed, and I try to talk even faster than that,
even though I do give, uh, some kind of slower sections where I want to make sure everything is clear, and maybe I’ll explain a thing or two, like a new word or phrase.
But, uh, most of the videos I have, uh, they’re at a much slower pace, kind of like I’m speaking right now, which is, uh, slower than my normal speaking voice,
to help you understand things and make sure you can learn lots of new phrases easily.
So if you’re new to the channel, if you’re new to this series,
I recommend you go back and get used to my voice at this speed.
So watch all the previous videos.
Well, there’s over 250 of them,
so maybe you can’t watch all of them, but go back and watch a few of them,
uh, and that will get you used to my voice.
So when you can come back and watch this video series,
uh, these advanced listening practice lessons,
then you can have a better sense of how, uh, how I speak, my intonation,
and you can really start to understand more.
If you want the best of what we do at englishanyone.com, you can also,
if you want, uh, lots of subtitles and you want to have the full transcripts of lessons that you can practice with,
uh, click on the link that you can see in your screen right now, and you can learn more about Master English Conversation.
This is our program that we use specifically to help people that they can understand quite a bit, they can even speak a little bit, but,
you know, the way they speak is just not quite natural enough;
they really want to express themselves.
So I guide you, as an English fluency guide, and I take you from the current level that you have,
up to fluency, nice and easy, and simple steps.
So if you’d like to learn more about that in that program, click on the link in your screen now.
Well, let’s get into the lesson.
All right, so today I want to talk about something really fast and interesting.
And, you know, I may kind of slow down a little bit at some sections, but
since in the last episode I was talking about a book.
If you haven’t seen that one, I highly recommend you go back and watch that one.
Uh, so I was talking about a book that I found, uh, after many, many years.
It’s a really fun, uh, book.
I was really happy to have discovered and have the,
you know, have the chance to reveal that and show that to people.
Uh, so since that one was about a book, I thought this one would be about a book as well.
But, unfortunately, there are no pictures, this is not a book for kids.
This is book, a book I was just reading.
I actually spend a lot of my time reading,
and I, I just thought this was something, you know, worth talking about as well.
There’s always lots of interesting things to learn about in English,
and this is kind of a separate tip for learning English, but the more you can just study things you’re interested in, in the language,
that’s what’s going to help you get fluent much faster,
as opposed to trying to learn specific words or phrases in an English lesson.
So just like this, we’re talking about things in the same way I would talk with native speakers, I’m just speaking a little bit more quickly,
so you can get used to that.
But, you know, again, try to find things you’re interested in and study those things, but in English.
Anyway, this book, let me going to grab it right here.
Uh, I’m always, uh, been interested in philosophy and psychology.
So this book is called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”
This is a really great advanced word.
It’s kind of hard to see here.
There you go.
So “The Psychology of Persuasion.”
Now, this isn’t really a book review, I’m not even finished with the book yet, I just wanted to give a, uh,
kind of a, a brief talk about something that I discovered in the book which I thought was really, really interesting, fascinating, even.
Uh, but very quickly, the word persuasion,
this is the noun, to persuade someone,
this means to try to change their mind or to get them to do something.
And this is what we do every day.
So whether you have a, uh, a specific sales job, or you just work in a company, or whatever it is you do,
or even if you’re just a child and you’re trying to convince your parents to buy you something,
we’re all selling in some way.
We’re trying to influence the behavior of other people.
And, you know, I just thought it had a lot of interesting experiments in it and a lot of psychological
experiments, uh, and I really liked learning about those in college, so I continue to learn about them now.
Really interesting stuff.
So the author is Robert Cialdini, and hopefully I’m, uh, pronouncing that properly.
Again, I can’t pronounce everything well, but I try.
Anyway, uh, it’s just an interesting book about the different ways that we persuade each other using the principles of human psychology.
So when we’re talking about, you know, as an example, uh,
I want to, you know, convince you to do something, like please come over to my house and help me do something,
I might use commitment, which is, you know, getting you to
say yes to one thing so you can continue to do that thing.
Because as an example,
uh, if you say, you know, I like to help animals, but then,
you know, you’re in an opportunity where you’re not helping animals, then,
uh, inside your mind you’re feeling a little bit bad about that.
So when you’re trying to convince someone to do something, you’re using those, uh, the mechanics of the mind.
You’re, you’re like trying to get the human mind or get the person to do specific things,
and if you can do that then you can persuade them to do something.
Anyway, so this is just one out of many, many examples, uh, and things, you know, whoo.
It’s getting a little hot over here, if you can tell.
Whoo, it’s in the middle of, uh, summer here in Japan, and I’m actually inside right now with the windows closed, I got no fan on,
recording this for you, because I love you so much.
And if I had the windows open, you could hear all the cicada’s outside,
They’re really, really loud.
Anyway, back to the book.
So this is, uh, I was actually talking, I mentioned, uh, commitment, uh, just a second ago,
and so the example of commitment, uh, it was a really interesting story from the book when this, uh, the author, Cialdini,
he’s talking about how, uh, how toy companies sell toys after the Christmas season ends.
So typically, throughout the year it’s kind of a slow time and then, you know, maybe you’ll have like birthdays or other things like that, but usually the holiday season,
so maybe, uh, especially in America,
you’ve got maybe, uh, like, Ja,
November, and then December, right before Christmas, that holiday time,
And one of the things that he was talking about was how we can convince people to continue buying toys.
So what do the toy companies do to get people to continue buying toys after the toy season has ended?
So people are spending all of their money, lots of parents are out there, they’re listening to their kids, and their kids are begging them,
please, please, please.
So their kids are trying to persuade them to get them a certain toy.
So, as an example, maybe I’m 10 years old and I’m asking my parents for a new video game system.
So I want to get the new, you know, PlayStation or Nintendo, or whatever it is,
and it’s maybe around, uh, October or November, and I’m asking them, can I please get that?
Uh, and then if I can get that for Christmas then I’m really happy.
And if I’m not, then I’m going to be really sad about that.
But, what la, little kids are trying to do, and if you have kids you’ve probably seen this before many times, or as a kid maybe you did this as well,
is you try to convince them, you know, mommy, I’ll love you so much if you buy this for me.
And, again, you’re trying to convince, you’re trying to persuade that person to do something, so you’re trying to persuade your parents.
Now, what I thought was really interesting, and I never thought about this before, and again, this is why you try to study lots of different things so you can get
lots of interesting, uh, new perspectives on things, learn a lot about new, interesting things.
Anyway, so when I was reading this and he was talking about, again, the author, Cialdini,
he was talking about how toy companies get people to continue buying toys even after the Christmas season ends.
And here’s how they do that.
By using, uh, consistency and commitment, this principle of the human mind.
So, again, if you’re trying to get someone to do something you want to get them to make a commitment,
because people feel bad about breaking that, because it’s a social contract.
When we talked with each other and we make promises, that kind of thing, it’s hard to break a promise,
uh, and if you’re known as a person that breaks promises, then people don’t want to have good relationships with you.
So here’s what they do.
Now, imagine you’re a toy company and you have this really you know, like the new Nintendo or the new whatever the,
uh, like maybe if you remember many years ago,
uh, my, it was, uh, an Elmo doll, like the Sesame Street, uh, Elmo doll.
It was Tickle Me Elmo, it was a little
just a red Elmo doll, a Sesame Street character, and you would,
I think, push a button on it, and it would go ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, and, and move like that, and it was really, really popular.
But, uh, there was not enough supply to meet the demand,
so there were not enough Tickle Me Elmo dolls to meet all of the children, all the parents, the people trying to buy them.
But what toy companies do, is they know that a lot of people are trying to buy this present,
and they also know that parents have made a promise to their kids to get them that thing.
So the kid, in October, has been asking,
you know, begging over and over again, can you please get me this Tickle Me Elmo doll,
and the parent says, okay, yes, I’ll get you the do, I’ll get you the doll.
And then, you know, the kid is unable to find, you know, the present or whatever, and maybe the parent, you know, they,
they’re going and looking at all these stores, but they’re not able to find it.
So, again, there’s a lot of people that want it, but there’s just not enough supply for all those people.
But what the toy companies are doing is they’re intentionally reducing the supply of these toys that people really want.
So maybe they could make a million Tickle Me Elmo dolls, and everybody could get one,
but if they did that then everybody would buy that doll for Christmas and they wouldn’t buy anything after Christmas.
Now, if you go to the store for, you know, your Thanksgiving or, you know, after that, like the, uh,
Black Friday, this is the day after Thanksgiving where a lot of the Christmas season shopping starts.
So if you go to, uh, like a sale and you’re able to find
the Tickle Me Elmo doll, you buy that thing, then you have it, you can give that to your child.
So you made a promise to get that, uh, for them, and you want to keep that promise,
and then you give them that, uh, you know, give them that Tickle Me Elmo doll.
But if you aren’t able to find that, because again, the companies have artificially,
they’re kind of intentionally reducing the supply of these things,
if you can’t find one of these, then maybe you look for some other toys that are kind of of equal value, uh, to that toy.
But, after the Christmas season ends, what the toy companies do, again, they knew they were intentionally
keeping the, uh, the number of toys down, so what they do after the Christmas season ends, is they start showing commercials for that same product again.
So all the people that couldn’t get the Tickle Me Elmo doll, they start seeing,
you know, the kids, they start seeing the commercials for it in January, in February.
And when the ki, uh, the, the children are seeing these toys, then they’re saying, oh, like this is,
this is the toy that my, you know, my, my mom promised she would get me.
And then they tell their parents, hey, you made a commitment to buy me this thing.
And so the parents are thinking, ah, even though I just got, you know, my child,
you know, a nice, you know, I couldn’t get them Tickle Me Elmo, but I got them a train set, and some books, and some other things, so maybe it was equal value,
but, uh, it’s not exactly what they wanted.
But the problem was that they made a commitment, and the toy companies are taking advantage of that.
So, you know, the, the toy companies are sending, uh, you know, all these commercials out, and then people go back to the store, even though they already bought the Christmas present,
in, uh, January and February, to go back and buy these Tickle Me Elmo dolls, or, you know, whatever the popular toy is.
So the toy company was able to make twice the amount of money they could’ve made, just by using this principle.
So most kids, you know, they don’t say, well, it’s okay, you got me something of equal value.
They say, no, I want the toy that I really wanted.
And because the parents are making,
uh, you know, a commitment to their child, the child is using that, that psychology principle,
you know, whether they realize it or not,
they’re using that and then getting their parents to finally buy that thing for them.
So I thought this was really interesting, and the whole reason that, uh, that the author, again, uh, Cialdini, was talking about this,
is because he fell for that a couple of times.
So two years in a row
he, you know, failed to find the present that his son was asking for, or his daughter, I forget which one it is actually.
I’m kind of bad with remembering details like that.
I’m really good with the overall,
you know, idea, that’s why I can talk about the, uh,
the commitment and consistency part of it.
But, anyway, so, you know, he had fallen for this, you know.
And again, this is a great, uh, a great phrasal verb, a great native way of expressing to be tricked by something,
and this is to fall for something.
So he fell for this idea of, ah, like the,
you know, the, uh, the toy is artificially not there so he can’t buy it and he buys something else,
and then after the, uh, the New Year begins, the commercials come back and then he has to go buy that new thing.
So he just spent twice the money to satisfy his, uh, child’s need.
So he was at a, uh, a toy store, and there was another guy there that he had known,
uh, in, maybe from the neighborhood or something like that,
and he hadn’t seen that other person since the previous year.
And he’s saying, well, why, we’re both at the store at the same time buying, you know, this train set, or whatever the toy was,
uh, and they were talking about that.
But he finally met someone who actually worked for the toy companies,
uh, and who explained to him how it actually works, and why they do it the way they do it.
Uh, but I just thought it was a really interesting story, and maybe something you might find interesting as well.
Well, that’s it for, uh, this lesson.
I just thought it would be fun to come on and tell you about that.
I’m always learning lots of new things, and I think,
even though there’s nothing English-specific about it,
because it’s in English you get lots of great listening practice, and you get to listen to that.
Uh, especially me when I’m speaking in a faster voice, uh.
But again, if you’d like to learn, uh, a lot more about how you can improve your English fluency, how you can start
listening more, sounding more like a native speaker, using the real words and phrases we use when you speak,
click on the link in your screen, and you’ll learn more about Master English Conversation.
Or, if you’re watching this on mobile, you’ll be able to see a link,
uh, under this video in the description.
Well, I’m getting, uh, crazy hot over here.
I’m going to have to take another…
Look at my face.
Oh my goodness.
I got so much sweat on my face.
I take maybe like three or four showers a day here,
and it’s just, it’s crazy.
I don’t, and, I, I, I mean, I don’t know how people do it in Japan.
I think I need to, you know, even with, with the air conditioning on, it’s still crazy hot out here.
But, that’s enough of my problems.
I’m going to go get in the shower right now,
uh, and I will put this up so you can enjoy it.
And I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
When this video gets, uh, 10,000 views I will release the next one,
and then we’ll keep the party going.
Have a fantastic day, and I’ll see you there.