Let’s take a look at McCornack’s Information manipulation theory (IMT). As the name suggests, this theory is all about manipulation. Our communication follows certain rules and is manipulative in the psychological sense, even if we hardly notice it ourselves.
While McCornack’s research was not always based on a positive form of manipulation, let’s consider how you can use his theory to develop more persuasive communication by controlling the information you share. Every conversation follows a specific pattern – in IMT theory, we speak of four conversational maxims:
- Quantity: The information we exchange in the conversation is complete
- Quality: The information that we share is correct
- Connection: The information is relevant to our counterpart
- Form: We present our information with appropriate vocabulary and using the right tone.
And the trick for better communication? Develop a dialogue strategy along these four maxims and provide structure to your messages. For example, do not present all the information at once in a contract negotiation and use your information advantage to achieve a better result for yourself.
Whether you are not giving it all away at once, presenting an unusual version of your message, or spontaneously presenting a new perspective on the subject: Capturing the attention of your conversation partner is vital for this strategy.
The opposite is also true: Do not get entangled in the position of the listener by always keeping these four maxims in mind. Do not simply believe what you’re told. Ask for further details. Put what has been said to the test. Demand proof and pay attention to the pitch in the telephone conversation, as well as the body language in a personal meeting.