The tradecraft guide to understanding and leveraging the human desire of a target to get your way for professional operations and personal interactions.

Before you can leverage human desire, you must understand what drives people at a fundamental level.

Psychologists often refer to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which categorizes human needs into five levels: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Understanding these needs is the first step in comprehending what might motivate a person’s behavior.


        Building Rapport

Building a strong rapport is the cornerstone of leveraging human desire. This involves active listening, empathy, and genuine interest in the individual. In operative tradecraft, this is often referred to as “mirroring” — adopting the other person’s body language, speech patterns, and behaviors to create a subconscious bond. Rapport makes the individual more open to influence and persuasion.


        Identifying and Aligning with Desires

Once rapport is established, the next step is to identify the individual’s core desires. This could be a need for recognition (esteem), a sense of security (safety), or a desire for companionship (love/belonging). Operatives are trained to be astute observers, picking up on cues in conversation, behavior, and even in a person’s lifestyle choices. Once identified, you can position yourself as an ally or a means to fulfill those desires.


        Creating Scarcity and Urgency

A fundamental principle in both marketing and tradecraft is creating a sense of scarcity and urgency. This technique leverages the human desire to acquire what is perceived as scarce, and to act quickly to obtain it. This could mean offering something that appears to be in limited supply or available only for a limited time. However, it’s crucial to employ this tactic subtly and ethically to avoid manipulation.


        Providing Value

One of the most effective ways to leverage desire is to provide value that aligns with the individual’s needs or wants. This could be in the form of information, support, or even just understanding and empathy. In operative tradecraft, this is often referred to as “quid pro quo” — offering something of value to get something in return. It’s important that the value is genuine and the exchange is fair to build a lasting relationship based on trust.


        Reinforcement and Reciprocity

The principle of reciprocity is powerful in human psychology. When you do something for someone, they naturally want to return the favor. In operative settings, this might involve doing a small favor or providing a piece of valuable information with no immediate expectation of return. Over time, this builds a sense of indebtedness and loyalty, making the individual more likely to respond positively to your requests or needs.


        Emotional Intelligence

High emotional intelligence allows an operative to not only read emotions but also to anticipate and influence them. This involves understanding the emotional undertones in a conversation and adjusting your approach accordingly. For instance, if someone feels undervalued, an operative might recognize and address this desire by offering praise or acknowledgment.


        Commitment and Consistency

People have a deep desire to appear consistent in their beliefs and actions. Once someone commits to an idea or action, they are more likely to follow through with it. Operatives might induce a small commitment at first, then gradually escalate, leading the individual to larger commitments. In everyday scenarios, this could involve getting someone to agree to a small favor, setting the stage for more significant requests later on.


Leveraging human desire is a nuanced art that requires empathy, observation, and ethical consideration. Whether in the realm of covert operations or everyday life, understanding and aligning with people’s core desires can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes.

In the end, genuine connections and ethical behavior are the foundation of both successful tradecraft and meaningful personal relationships.

[INTEL : Covert Manipulative Tactics]