Meta programs

Convincer Mode – How do we Trust?

Our convincer mode Meta program is about how we become convinced after we have gathered information in our convincer channel. We develop this through our experiences of trust. We may never believe anyone, or maybe we are prepared to give people the benefit of the doubt. It is part of our overall convincer strategy.

For most people, it takes more than one convincing piece of information to be confident that something is true. We might need a number of examples. We might need to do things with a person over a period of time before we trust her abilities.

convincer mode proportions

Questions to find someone’s trust process

  • How long do you have to consider something before it’s the right time to act?
  • How often do you have to see a particular ad before you feel that maybe it’s worth a go?
  • How do you know someone is good at her work?
  • How many times does someone need to demonstrate ability before you are convinced she is competent?
  • What do you need to be convinced that you know something?

Convincer Mode Types

Automatic Convincer Mode

This is where someone has an innocent until proven guilty kind of strategy. While giving people the benefit of the doubt can be very useful in many common tasks, trusting too much and too quickly can make you vulnerable. Shelle Rose Charvet says this is 8% of the population.


Jumping to conclusions and hallucinating trust without proof, especially with investment decisions, is risky. Consider if you have a sounds right convincer. Some smooth talking salesperson comes along and says what you want to hear. With an automatic convincer, you trust her right away. You could end up with a lot of useless expensive stuff.

We can have problems if we generalize this pattern too much. For instance, an automatic convincer might be useful in low risk situations, but not high-risk ones. “Ok, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt they can collect the mail, but maybe not take care of my best customer right away.”

Imagine for instance a young woman with an automatic convincer mode for men – trust whoever comes along absolutely until he proves he can’t be trusted. I know what you are thinking – “where can I find some of these people!”

Number of Examples Convincer Mode

Number of examples is the most common convincer. Here, the exposure is important in believability. A person would have to show they could do a job a certain number of times, before you “knew” she was capable. This is the dilemma many job seekers have. How do you get experience when employers won’t give you experience?

Have you ever told someone something a couple of times and he takes no notice only to repeat it back when hearing it somewhere else? As though it was something new. It’s as if they need critical mass before it registers in their brain.

Advertisers know this. They re present their message a number of times (six is usually enough for most), and it becomes not only familiar, but also believable.

The number of examples or times is usually consistent for the person. They always need three for instance (I’ll just get three quotes).


For most people, a message repeated a number of times in different contexts becomes truth. Is that disturbing? It is to me.

For instance, someone floats a rumor and a few people pick it up and pass it on like a virus, no one actually checks it out, but the number of people you hear it from is huge, which makes it real right? NOT! Can opinions ever be true? Do all the “experts” get information from the same place?

Over generalizing can result in using the same number of examples for something low risk and something high risk. For instance, three examples might be fine to choose a book. Three minor experiences of trust are probably inadequate when choosing a business partner.

Period of Time Convincer Mode

A period of time convincer is the next most common strategy. This is where the person needs to have an idea or experience hold up over time. For instance, they might need to work with you for 6 months before they are convinced you can do the job. The actual amount of time is consistent for the person.

This is also a common problem job seekers face. How do you convince someone you have “enough” experience. I remember one public servant bragging how he had 20 years of experience. Someone then asked, “Is it 20 years of experience or 1 year repeated 20 times?”


Of course, time is a perception and therefore you can distort a person’s sense of time. Such as “I managed to pack 5 years experience into those 12 months”

Dating advice often involves period of time convincers. How often have you heard “Don’t ever get married to someone until you have been dating for 6 months (or some similar rule)?” If you spend a day with someone once a month, this doesn’t give you the same experience as 6 months on a boat 24/7.

There may be few opportunities to test trust in any particular period of time. Different circumstances trigger different responses. Someone who is fabulous when dating can turn out to be a total jerk when you are married to him or her. Sound familiar?

Never – also known as Consistent Convincer Mode

The skeptics of the world are almost never convinced. If you manage to get credibility with them on one occasion, you have to build it over again next time. I would think this makes for difficult relationships. Shelle Rose Charvet says this is 15% of the population.

It is similar to the automatic convincer mode, but at the other end of the scale – it is automatic distrust. Doubting skills are useful when doing quality control, or in the receiving department. Each batch is a new game. Just because every single widget from this company has been perfect, doesn’t mean it will always be the case.

As a scientific mindset, it questions everything and everyone. This is great for scientific advancement. Not so great for establishing long term relationships.

An extreme generalized never convincer will come across as a control freak. Imagine if you never accepted any basic skills of another. You wouldn’t be able to trust someone to do mundane tasks. What happens if you continually question people’s loyalty? It wouldn’t give them much incentive for commitment.

Also, they may never be convinced of their own capabilities. Continually questioning yourself can create self-doubt and low self-confidence.

Changing Your Convincer

The convincer mode Meta program develops with our early experiences of trusting and decisions. We also model our caregivers. What is sufficient evidence to trust? Therefore, Time Line Therapy and reimprinting can change our responses to trust issues and negative associations.

NLP Reframing, is a powerful way to change this type of Meta program (where most of the problems come from over generalizing). Where is the filter most useful? Where is it not useful? Make a distinction between low and high-risk situations.

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