Internal or External Frame of Reference

Does your prospect use an

Internal or External Frame of Reference


Using Meta-Programs for Persuasion


Recently, we were on the road delivering the Professional Influence Certification Course to 5 states in 8 days.  As you can imagine, we were in rental cars and airports constantly over that time period.  At one point, I asked one of my associates who was driving the rental car, how do you know when you need to stop for gas?fuel gauge empty 800 clr  He said, “When the light comes on. I instinctively know that I still have time to get gas.”  I then asked the other gentleman in the car the same question.  How do you know when it is time to stop for gas?  He said, “When I get below the half tank line.  I have known too many people that ran out of gas because their fuel gauge was inaccurate”  


What we are really talking about is meta-programs - the filters to your communication and influence.


For some individuals, the evidence originates from outside of themselves.  Ask someone how they know that they are doing an excellent job and they might say something like;  When the supervisor in charge slaps you on the shoulder and says “your work was terrific.” They might also say something else external like “The boss gives me a raise.”    They judge their own value based on things that happen outside of themselves.  Perhaps the company gives them an award.  When their work is applauded by their peers, they get a sense that their work is indeed excellent.  

These are examples of people who use an external frame of reference.  


How is that different from an internal frame of reference?  If you have an internal frame of reference, you can create a staff or sales team that gains all types of achievement awards from your company, however if you do not feel your team is special, no amount of outside approval will persuade you that they are. On the other hand, you could create a staff or team that gets lukewarm reception from your employer and/or peers, however if you feel that the team is excellent, you'll trust your own instincts rather than theirs. That's an internal frame of reference.



Let's say you're attempting to persuade someone to attend a workshop.  Like, I don’t know, say the Professional Influence Certification course.  What a great idea by the way.PIlogoonly400  You could say, "You've got to attend this workshop. It's excellent. I've gone and all my friends have gone, and they've all had a terrific time and raved about how fun they make the course.   They all said it changed their lives.” 


If the person you're speaking with has an external frame of reference, chances are you'll persuade him/her.  If what all those people say it's true, they will assume it's probably true.  



What if he/she has an internal frame of reference? You'll have a challenging time convincing them by simply telling them that others have said it was excellent.  These types of testimonials and third party stories mean nothing to a person with an internal frame of reference.  You can only persuade them by appealing to things they know themselves to be true.  For example, what if you said, "Remember the series of classes you attended last year? Remember how you said it was the most insightful| experience you'd had in years? Well,I think if you choose to check this class out, you may discover that you'll have the an even better experience this time."

Notice that we kept everything internal.  They were in control.  They remember something they experienced.  "I think if YOU choose..."  "You may discover."  These statements all orginate within the client.   



Mick, will that really work?  ABSOLUTELY!  

Meta-programs are often the difference between getting the sale or not.stickman family portrait 800 clr  The difference between that special woman saying yes or no.  The difference between a happy marriage and one filled with stress and anguish.  Understanding meta-programs is ESSENTIAL to a quality life.  These are the types of understandings that make marriage counselors rich.  This type of information is rarely shared with the public.  That is until now!  That is why it is vital to continue to read about these sciences.  Clearly, this should be at the top of everyone’s priority list. 



It's essential| to keep in mind that all these meta-programs are context related. If you've done something for 10 or 20 years, you will, most likely, have a strong internal frame of reference; if a behavior or belief system is brand new, you may not have as sturdy of an internal frame of reference about just what is right or wrong about that context. We usually tend to develop these patterns over time. However even if you're right-handed, you probably still utilize your left hand in numerous situations where it is serves you to do so. The same is true of meta-programs. You're not simply one way.



Just what kind of frame of reference do most leaders have? Internal or external?stickman leader arrow pc 800 clr 2586 A genuinely effective leader needs to have a strong internal frame. He would not be much of a leader or innovator if he/she invested all their time asking people what they thought of something before they took action. 

With that said, there's a optimal balance to be struck. Remember, few people operate strictly at one extreme.  A truly effective leader needs to be able to have the ability to absorb information successfully from the outside as well.  When he doesn’t, he/she will lose touch with those around them.  This creates an atmosphere for megalomania.  It is a recipe for imminent disaster.  



Recently, a student came up to me during the first break of one of our courses.  He said "I'm not sold!  I am only here because my boss is making me be here" He was doing everything he could to egg me on. It quickly became apparent he was arranging his thoughts with an internal frame of reference. Externally oriented people seldom come up to me in a class where everyone else is so clearly excited to be there.  


I said to him, "Perhaps I have miscommunicated to you what this class is all about.  You see, it is not my job, as least as I see it, to sell you anything.  I think it would be arrogant or naive of me to think that I can convince or persuade you to do something that you don't want to do.”  Of course, this was said is a pleasant tone.  He didn't know exactly how to handle this response. He looked at me sorta stunned and said nothing.  Five minutes later, right before we were about to reconvene, he approached me again and said.  “Well, I just wanted to tell you that I am going to sit through this because I have to but that doesn’t mean that I am going to believe what you say.  These other people are buying your routine hook, line and sinker but not me.”




I simply smiled and said “Bob (not his actual name) I am happy to hear that you are a person that arrives at his own conclusions.  That is a rare quality.  At the end of the day, you're the only person who knows who would lose if you didn't keep an open mind during this course.  I am not going to tell you that you must be open to what we are going to say today, your the only person that can truly evaluate you.  I am sure that as we go through the course today, you will make the right choice for you.  After all, nobody else can do that for you.”

He looked me in the eye and said, "Yeah, that's true," and he went to his seat.


I was speaking in his language, and it worked. Notice, I didn't say he would lose if he didn't keep an open mind during the class. If I 'd said that, he never would have done so.


Side note to the story:

Bob became our loudest supporter.  He participated in the course and has since provided us with referrals.  The funniest part though was that he attended another one of our courses.  At that course I used the story about him.  I referenced the exact experience that he and I had.  Afterward he came up to me and said.  “Mick, I heard your story about that other guy with the internal frame of reference.  I don’t know how you put up with idiots like that.” I guess it was good that I changed his name for the sake of the story.   


The point though is this.  Prior to learning about meta-programs, I would have tried to persuade him by having him speak to others who are raving fans of our courses.  I might have even showed him some testimonials from people that swear their income has tripled since taking the Professional Influence Certification Course.  None of those things would have worked.  They would have zero influence on him.  That is why it is vital that professional influencers take a little extra time to evaluate their prospects to determine with they use an Internal or External frame of reference.

One thing we know for sure, take the time to discover where people's frame of reference comes from.  It will serve you well!



We teach a more indepth version of this topic in our certified course "Professional Influence." You may already know that employers are attracted to people that are different, new and unique.  Today we have overwhelming scientific proof that sales people that differentiate themselves from the crowd are more successful.  They are more likely to close that sale, get that promotion and have longer lasting relationships. 

Show your employer that you are deadly serious about reaching the companies goals.  Increase your income and line yourself up for the next big promotion.  All of this can and will be achieved when you enroll in the "Professional Influence Certification Course." 

Upon successful completion of this course you will become CERTIFIED!  Your certification goes on the "BIO" page and is registered with the INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDIES OF PROFESSIONAL INFLUENCE (ISPI).  As you read through this you may begin to realize that a link to this bio page can also be a powerful part of your resume. 

Are you ready to take your game to the next level?  If so email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  For more information about this and other certification courses simply click here.

Persuade with Meta Programs

Internal or External Frame of Reference

Internal or External Frame of Reference Internal or External Frame of Reference
  What we are really talking about is meta-programs - the filters to your communication and influence.  For some individuals, the evidence originates from outside of themselves. Ask someone how they...

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