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Chris Hadnagy’s 7 Principles of Elicitation, Ep #391

Chris Hadnagy’s 7 Principles of Elicitation

If we went back 15 years and looked up “Social Engineering,” it was defined as something malicious and manipulative. But as Chris Hadnagy studied psychology, influence, persuasion, and human decision-making, he saw that social engineering wasn’t always negative.

So Chris came up with a new definition: Human hacking, i.e. social engineering, is “Any act that influences a person to take an action that may or may not be in their best interest.” How social engineering is used defines if it is malicious or not.

So how do you employ social engineering? By following Chris’s 7 principles of elicitation. Learn more in this episode of Negotiations Ninja. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:20] Learn more about Chris Hadnagy
  • [3:15] What is human hacking?
  • [5:37] The definition of elicitation
  • [9:54] Chris’s 7 principles of elicitation
  • [14:57] How to make someone feel good
  • [19:34] The power of nonverbal communication
  • [22:32] Exercise: How to suspend your ego
  • [25:38] Get involved with the Innocent Lives Foundation

What is elicitation?

Elicitation is “The act of getting information without directly asking for it.”

If you were sitting in a Starbucks and watching Chris elicit information, it should look like two people having a great conversation. You would think they’re best friends. It shouldn’t look manipulative.

But when Chris is eliciting, he is driving the conversation toward key parts of information that he wants. That person should feel comfortable being forthcoming with him.

A large part of your job in negotiation is to get information that you can use to drive more value while making a deal that makes sense.

When Chris is training people, he’s trying to teach them about how humans can be hacked. Typically, the goal is to access someone’s credentials by breaking into their email server.

Chris’s company uses both vishing (phone calls) and phishing to gather that information in a way that no one would think they did something wrong. The process seems so natural that the majority of the time, no one realizes that they’ve made a grave error.

Chris’s 7 principles of elicitation

Chris has identified 7 principles of elicitation you can use to influence people to get the information you need:

  • Frame the goal: People will say, “My goal is to negotiate the best price.” But is that your true goal? What are you willing to walk away with? You have to frame it so you aren’t deciding on the fly.
  • Observe your person of interest: Does the person look upset, happy, relaxed, etc.? What does their body language and facial expression say? Now you have to decide if you want to come in dominant or submissive. How do you want to be viewed by them?
  • Frame your opening/exit strategy: What are the first words out of your mouth? What is your exit strategy if things aren’t going how you want them to?
  • Drive the conversation forward: You’re trying to get something from them, but it can’t be obvious. Someone should view your interaction as a conversation. Drive the conversation with your pretext. Chris might pretend he’s a coworker calling from IT to run a test.
  • Active listening: Society is terrible with active listening. You have to hear the words that are being said but look at body language and facial expressions to get the full picture.
  • Remember details: If you can’t remember something as simple as the counterparty’s name or a detail that was recently mentioned, you will kill deals. Unless it’s part of your ploy, you will frustrate the other party.
  • Leave the conversation with your target feeling better for having met you. They should never suspect that they were just hacked.

In the full episode, Chris shares how one of his students managed to get a full name and date of birth from a complete stranger using these 7 principles. Don’t miss it!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Chris Hadnagy

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