Posted on: March 1st, 2019
Shakespeare’s famous words “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women simply players” may be truer than he ever suspected.
Today, many sociologists rely on something called the dramaturgical perspective to help explain how we present ourselves to, and interact with, other people. Some of the savviest self-made members of the Super Rich (people with a net worth of $500 million or more)know and harness this perspective when working with clients, prospects, centers of influence and other people who are key to their continued success.
Here’s how it works—and how to use it to get a good look at people’s “backstage” areas in ways that can enable you to enhance your own results.
The dramaturgical perspective, a theory developed by the eminent sociologist Erving Goffman, is predicated on a theatrical metaphor—with a stage (front and back), actors and audiences. Goffman’s theory contends that because people are social actors, they will present themselves in various ways to create and nurture the way they want different audiences to perceive them.
If you live and work in the corporate world, you may hear this perspective phrased in a different way: impression management.
Central to the dramaturgical perspective is the concept of “front-stage” and “backstage.”
Think about yourself through the lens of the dramaturgical perspective. What impressions do you want other people to have of you? What characteristics and qualities would you like other people to attribute to you? This is front-stage.
Examples: Some people want to be seen as the smartest person in the room. Some people prefer to be viewed as industrious. For most people, there is a diverse combination of what they determine to be positive qualities.
Now, think about your life backstage. This includes all the facts about your life that you’d prefer very few people know about and the qualities you see in yourself that you believe to be less than ideal. There are often significant gaps and even contradictions between front-stage and back stage. Backstage is full of “secrets” about yourself that you’d like to keep under wraps.
Professional poker players in high-stakes games will often talk about not only playing the cards, but also playing the other poker players. They are looking for “tells”—physical or verbal signals that other players give that offer clues about the strength of their hands. These poker players are basing some of their decisions on both their knowledge and perceptions of the other players.
Many of the self-made Super Rich are a lot like these world-class professional poker players. They are highly motivated to “look backstage” in order to truly understand the people they are dealing with.
The self-made Super Rich gain knowledge of other people’s backstage in a combination of ways, including:
The last item in that list requires some explanation. Cold reading is an orientation and a set of techniques that can be used to effectively uncover information. Commonly, cold reading combines making high-probability guesses with quickly picking up on reactions to ascertain the accuracy of the guess (or to speedily move on to other topics).
Example: By talking about health issues, it is possible to get a good understanding of the health concerns of others and how impactful those concerns are for them.
Next level: At times, the self-made Super Rich will be highly proactive and turn to investigators to find useful information. When it comes to big-money negotiations, for example, the self-made Super Rich may use investigators in order to better understand the most important motivations of the other parties involved.
Gaining backstage insights about others allows the Super Rich to accomplish two important tasks that help them increase their overall success.
Example: One type of cold-reading technique is to discuss people’s kids. If a person has a lot of children, a high-probability guess might be that one or more of them is having some sort of challenge or problem. By discovering the parent’s concerns, the self-made Super Rich can potentially position themselves to help—thereby adding value, enhancing rapport and deepening the relationship.
Generally speaking, what is backstage tends to dominate the thinking and actions of people. It is what is behind the costumes and masks that can be the most powerful and important information to know. Adopting the techniques that can get a glimpse at that backstage area can help you in your own efforts to generate wealth, make deals and increase your overall level of success.
This report was prepared by, and is reprinted with permission from, VFO Inner Circle. AES Nation, LLC is the creator and publisher of VFO Inner Circle reports.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra IS or Kestra AS. The material is for informational purposes only. It represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. It is not guaranteed by Kestra IS or Kestra AS for accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions. It should also not be construed as advice meeting the particular investment needs of any investor. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS.
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VFO Inner Circle Special Report
By Russ Alan Prince and John J. Bowen Jr.
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