Lessons From Professional Party Crashers: Persuasion and Social Psychology (video)
I discovered a group of guys on YouTube called Yes Theory. Among many fun and hilarious antics they get into, they have a special preference for crashing exclusive Hollywood events.
We can actually learn some key insights on psychology and persuasion from them.
I’ve personally seen these work firsthand over many years of running fashion events in NYC as well.
Sneaking into a private Oscar’s viewing party in Beverley Hills:
Crashing Hollywood movie premiers:
A few key takeaways:
Look the part
There would be no chance of gaining access to such a party without looking sharp. Dressing well is essential.
You’ve heard the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Well, same idea here. If you dress like a VIP, and act like a VIP, then most people will probably assume you are a VIP.
Attitude and energy
They are relentlessly positive and upbeat. They are there to have a great time and spread good energy. This makes them magnetic to the people that eventually help them gain access.
If they get frustrated at their lack of progress, that’s on camera but they don’t show it to others.
As far as strangers are concerned, they are always smiling.
This is extremely important: a positive, fun and care-free attitude is very attractive and in many cases irresistible. Especially for people who control access to events (door men, bouncers, security guards, registration people, etc).
As someone who has experienced the massive stress of checking in thousands of guests at popular events, I can tell you: it’s not the nastiest or loudest person that is most likely to get access (“What do you mean I’m not on the list?!! I registered for this event days ago!! You people need to get your act together!! Don’t you know who I am??!!”).
Whenever there’s uncertainty, a grey area, or even just a gap in attendance that we need to fill, it’s the fun, warm, pleasant person that is most likely to be allowed in.
Multiple points of entry
These guys are persistent in realizing their goal. More persistent than most people are in trying to get a job.
They identify multiple options and strategies to gain access. Then they test each one methodically and subtly to see where the soft points are in the system.
This gentle persistence doesn’t raise any red flags to the workers, but significantly increases their chances of gaining access.
If you encounter an obstacle, don’t give up, and don’t try to fight it. Go around it, go under it. Be creative. Find another way in.
Which brings us to the final point…
Take advantage of chinks in the security armor
Big events may seem intimidating. But the bigger the event, the more layers of bureaucracy.
It’s a basic paradox of systems: the larger and more powerful the system (a corporation, an event, a country), the more gaps there are likely to be.
As complexity increases, holes in the security coverage multiply. These holes can then be exploited by outside actors.
We see this in the second video where they are able to get on the list simply by making a phone call and pretending to be connected with an insider.
The woman on the other end of the phone doesn’t have the time, resources or interest to check if they are telling the truth. It’s easier for her to just put them on the list. Because of the complexity in the system, cracks open up.
Keep in mind the limitations of the people working on the inside.
The combination of good energy, dressing and acting the part, and creating a plausible story gives them an advantage over most others that would try to crash an exclusive party.
But it’s their persistence and creativity that really push them over the edge and gets the result. Where most people would give up after the first rejection, these guys keep persisting until they win.