HOW CAN YOU RECOGNIZE A RED FLAG EVENT?
Be Aware of these event “Red Flags”
If asked to sign a waiver without time to review the contents, being told it just standard and being discouraged from asking any questions.
If there is a physical challenge as part of the program, but no information is offered about medical support in case of an accident.
A highly packed schedule with little time to process information.
Very short breaks that do not allow adequate time to get a meal, have snacks, use the restroom or properly hydrate.
A locked door or strong discouragement from leaving the room at any time.
A day that begins very early, ends late and interferes with normal sleep needs.
If breathing techniques or “guided” meditation is used that cause a sense of disorientation or confusion
Feeling uncomfortable about highly emotional revelations individuals may be encouraged to make in public.
A very cold room.
Loud blaring music at the introduction and during breaks
A “cheerleading”, pep rally atmosphere with volunteers dancing, jumping around, “pumping up the energy”
Relies heavily on “testimonials” to establish credibility
The “success” of the speaker is hyped, encouraging emulation
Speaker repeatedly asks for a group response with certain words or phrases. The speaker constantly repeats certain “key” phrases.
Limited access to the speaker to ask questions
Little reference to distinctions between opinion, speculation or scientific research is offered
Speaker dismisses or belittles professional credentials and mainstream education
Constant reminders about additional products that can be purchased, books, CDs, other programs
Emphasis on “scarcity” (only a limited number left ) or something heavily discounted only if purchased immediately
A No refund ( or very limited) policy on items purchased at the event
of sensory deprivation tactics (#2,3) and exploration of highly charged emotional experiences. These tactics are used to “breakdown” a person, creating vulnerability, suggestibility and compliance. (these same tactics are used to torture enemies to extract information) .
HOW CAN YOU RECOGNIZE AN ONLINE RED FLAG?
Be Aware of these online “Red Flags”
No recognized professional degrees, all expertise earned through life experience
Self-proclaimed “financial” success
Credibility is established mainly by “testimonials”
Speaker is the Exclusive Repository of important knowledge and information to which no one else has access.
Scarcity tactics are employed (only a limited number is left)
Quick, immediate purchases that provide deep discounts encourages impulse buying.
After signing up, this session is only an introduction to future more expensive seminars. Little value is offered but there are promises for huge benefit in future offerings, usually packaged as a series.
Each session always promises the ultimate solution which is in the next session
The speaker strongly encourages “investing” in the future through purchase of programs regardless of financial ability.
The language used is confusing “doubletalk”. Ex. “This is an exclusive, unlimited, one-on-one, teleconference opportunity” (what does that mean?) or “psychobabble”, psychological terms or references to “scientific” concepts that are not clearly defined or readily understandable.
Promises of great results with little effort. The promotion sounds “too good to be true”.
The program will share “secrets” that are just now being revealed, suggesting the participant is part of an “inner group” with special, exclusive information.
The speaker insists on loyalty to one (his/her) point of view. If the participant deviates they are not really part of the “group” of “real believers, unconventional risk takers, truly enlightened people who are willing to think outside the Box.”
Speaker frames all past beliefs as the reason for failure which influences the participant to have a negative and poor self-perception, increasing their need to “buy into” whatever the speaker is teaching and selling.
Dismisses conventional education and professionals as “un-enlightened” paving the way for a participant to accept the speaker’s lack of credentialing or licensing to teach the material being presented.
HOW CAN YOU RECOGNIZE A PRINT MEDIA RED FLAG?
Be Aware of these print media “Red Flags”
Remember the old adage “Never judge a book by its cover.”
Celebrities? Ordinary folk? Other “guru” types ? or professionals in a similar field?
In the introduction are the claims so “over the top” as to be unreal?
to show some evidence that the claims being made have been proven to be effective? Is the “evidence” of efficacy the author’s stories or other’s testimonials with no real scientific research?
or is it focused on a particular area? Problems are complex and do not lend themselves to a simple “one size fits all” solution.
There are many ways to approach a problem and multiple solutions. There are many ways to “skin the cat” as the saying goes.
A book may be interesting, but if you need real information to change a behavior, a person with a professional background may be more helpful.
A credible person who may be quite intuitive and inspirational does not need to deride the education and experience of others.
An author’s personal style of writing may resonate with a reader, but may not contain the tools and skills needed to promote real change. (see Dr. Norcross’ book, “Changeology”)
Are the author’s ideas: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and do they suggest a timetable to achieve new behavior?