The High Pressure Sales Pitch

July 23, 1998

By a Landmark attendee

It seems like there's some people out there who claim to have had a positive experience at "The Forum". Others say they have been totally screwed up by it. To each their own--I say. I intend to demonstrate, to anyone who will listen--that a skeptical perspective exists regarding Landmark Education.

All I want is for people to take a little time and do a bit of research before plunking down their money. This is just basic common sense--applicable to any situation. I object to Landmark Forum often not encouraging people to "sleep on it". But instead subjecting their audiences to a highly intense, coercive "information session". They are manipulative and utilize the power of group pressure/thinking and the need to conform, to their advantage.

Maybe their programs work--though I think people can get the same benefits by educating themselves. People can benefit by going a step beyond the obvious by looking more deeply at their problems and communications with others and their experiences--as if they were a third, impartial party. But their method of getting people to participate is cult-like, and for that alone, they should be questioned and, in my opinion, avoided. I believe in choice and it seems at times Landmark does not. I believe I have the tools within me to make my life the most it can be and I know that it takes my own effort to do this. Landmark seems to believe that THEY have the answers/methods for finding a balance in your life and that they alone hold some sort of magic key to help you unleash these tools. If you think about it for a moment who do you trust--Landmark or yourself?

I attended a five-hour "information" session about Landmark (with a short 15-minute break). Presenters and hosts talked about other friends and family members who were going to "do the Forum".

The second part of the night involved an exercise during which we were asked to state something we complained about and what "costs" that had to our lives--this would supposedly to determine what our "racket" was. I stated that I often complained about manipulative people (how ironic). When asked what I did about them, I replied that I tune them out or have a minimal amount of contact with them and then move on. I was told that my tactic was to "shut down" and that it was costing me relationships with people. I protested and said I thought it was a useful thing to have your guard up, be in control of your own mind and that having relationships with manipulative people was not important to me. I was then told that I definitely had a "racket" --I wanted to dominate and I had a fear of being dominated. This was my "racket" and it was controlling me.

All night during this "info session" I was skeptical, but not entirely dismissive. I agreed that for some people it might be a positive and useful experience. However, I didn't buy them trying to tell my friend, myself and everyone else for that matter--that basically our lives would not be full, happy, balanced, etc. unless we "did the forum". When the presenter started to interrupt all my sentences and sum up my thoughts in his own words--I was really pissed off. That's when I pulled my "defensive racket" of "shutting down" and tuning him out.

Today I was looking for Landmark on the Better Business Bureau Web site and guess what? Surprise, surprise, they weren't listed! Then I simply typed in "Landmark Forum" and found your site. It's the first one I found. I'm glad that my suspicions were confirmed that because I was starting to feel like I was the crazy one!

I too felt the high-pressure sales pitch, the urgency to "register now" and the ostracism of being the only one in the room "not getting it". It boils my blood to sit by and watch while the entire group, including my best friend followed like robotic sheep doing exactly what the presenter wanted them to do while giving me smiling, sympathetic looks like THEY felt sorry for ME. I can't believe how easily people can become victims.


Copyright © 1998 Rick Ross

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