More Hidden Secrets to the World of Unconscious Influence

Following on from my previous post, world renowned master of modelling excellence, Anthony (Tony) Robbins shares more of his wisdom with us. This time, Tony shares with us the distinctions between having an Internal or an External Frame of Reference. Tony RobbinsOnce again I invite you to check out the wisdom of Tony Robbins directly in his blog pages

But for now, it’s time to sit back and discover what he has to say about the distinctions between having an Internal Frame of Reference or an External Frame of Reference, and how knowing this about someone can lead you to deeper levels of influence with them.

….”Ask someone how he or she knows when he/she has done a good job. For some people the proof comes from outside of them via external feedback or data. For example… the boss pats you on the back and says that your work was great… or, you get a raise… or, you win a major award… or, your work is noticed and applauded by your peers. When you receive that sort of external approval, you know you did a good job. These are examples of having External Frames of Reference.

For other people, the proof comes from inside of them. They just ‘know inside’ when they’ve done well and they don’t feel the need for any external reference to confirm that.

If you have an Internal Frame of Reference, you can design a building that wins all sorts of architectural awards, but if you personally do not feel that your work was special, then no amount of outside approval will convince you that it was. Or you might do a job that gets lukewarm reception from your boss or peers, but if you feel in your own heart that it’s good work, then you’ll trust your own instincts rather than theirs. Both are examples of Internal Frames of Reference.

Let’s say you are trying to convince someone to attend a seminar. You might say to them… ‘You’ve got to attend this seminar. It’s great. I’ve gone and all of my friends have gone, and they’ve all had a terrific time and raved about it for days. They all said that it changed their lives for the better.’ If the person you are talking to has an External Frame of Reference, chances are that you will convince him or her. If all of those people say that it’s true, then he or she will most probably assume that it is true.

But what if the person you are talking to has an Internal Frame of Reference? You will have a difficult time convincing them by telling them what others have said. It doesn’t mean anything to them. It doesn’t compute. You can only convince such people by appealing to things that they know for themselves. What if you told them… ‘Remember the series of lectures you went to last year? Remember how you said it was the most insightful experience you have had in years? Well, I know that this seminar I am recommending to you is possibly something like that. I think if you check it out, you may find you’ll have the same kind of experience. What do you think?’

This is likely to work, because you will be talking to this person in their kind of language.

It is important to note that all of these unconscious patterns of thinking are context and stress related. If you have done something for 10 or 15 years, you probably have a strong Internal Frame of Reference about that experience and your ability with it. If you are brand new, you may not have as strong an Internal Frame of Reference about what is right or wrong in that context. So you tend to develop preferences and patterns over time. But even if you are right handed, you will still use your left hand in various situations where it is useful or appropriate to do so. The same is true of this. You are not uniquely ‘wired’ one way. You can vary. You can change.

What kind of Frame of Reference do most leaders have – Internal or External? A truly effective leader has to have a strong Internal Frame. They wouldn’t be much of a leader if they spent all of their time asking people what they thought of something before they took any action. However, as part of their decision making process, it is still wise for them to check in with those for whom their decision has the most impact, so that they don’t make their decisions in a complete vacuum. And so it is important that there’s an ideal balance to be struck.

Remember, few people operate strictly at one extreme or the other. A truly effective leader has to be able to take in information effectively from the outside as well. When they don’t, their leadership may become isolated and ineffective….”

Once again, the information that Tony Robbins has shared with us here about Internal and External Frames of Reference as a part of the whole gamut of unconscious influence patterns that are available to us, is exactly what we at Precision Profiling specialize in. I wrote a case study in a previous blog demonstrating how important it is to understand someone’s Frame of Reference, especially if the context of their role changes. Here is the link to that original blog post FYI. One Size Does Not Fit All

If you would like to know more about the science of Motivational Mapping of you and your people drop me an email at

Until next time… Let’s seek to understand more and judge less. Have a great week – Brian

Precision Profiling – What Makes You Tick? Through ‘Motivational Fingerprinting’ we uncover what you do, how you do it and why you do it, and most importantly, the hidden patterns that lead to your success, and that of your staff.

About Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the principal director of Precision Profiling®.

He is a renowned practitioner, writer and speaker on building total customer cultures; values driven leadership and world best practice strategy and implementation.

He has been a guest lecturer on world best practice for the executive management programme at Monash University’s business college (Mt Eliza campus); an adviser to and key note speaker for the Singapore Productivity Association and a consultant to many major Australian and overseas corporations and government departments.

Read more about Brian Clark Here

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