Persuasive communication and how perception counts more than what is said.
Neuroscientists are beginning to explain the functions in our brains that enable us to perceive the intentions and perhaps even thoughts of others and for those with the skills, to lead another person’s thinking. Perhaps science is now revealing the secrets of persuasive communication that are sought by many and mastered by a few.
It is likely that you will have heard of mirroring as a technique for building rapport. Rather than repeat explanations and evidence, I have picked out some influential articles:
You may have heard of mirror neurons that reflect the actions of others. These particular brain cells are widely associated with capacity for empathy.
Empathy is one of a pair of traits observable in top sales performers – empathy and ruthlessness. Good empathy helps sales people understand and sufficient ruthlessness enables them to take advantage.
You may have caught yourself wondering what another person is thinking, perhaps asking, can I trust what I am hearing? Is he or she really interested or just playing along?
The stunning implication of ability to literally feel another’s person’s feelings and therefore intuit their thoughts and judgements is that this channel represents a bilateral connection.
Those who can employ their non-verbal signals on purpose, may have an edge over those who don’t or can’t.
What about taking control?
Stay with this one. It starts a little slow. Hang in for the demonstration.
So what should you do if you want to develop your sensory acuity? What should you do if you want to learn how to read and control other people’s minds . . . or just defend your own?
- Before an important meeting, decide to notice the trivial things like posture, limb position, breathing, eye movement, facial expression, tone, cadence, intonation, volume, emphasis etcetera. Try to do this without disrupting the normal flow of the meeting. Don’t act on anything you notice to begin with, just observe.
- After the meeting, write down what you observed and reflect on its meaning.
- Do this for every meeting until it becomes habitual. It might take 20 or more meetings.
- Next, add in careful observation of your own nonverbal reactions in relation to the dialogue and the nonverbal signals of the people you observe. Expand your post meeting notes to include self-observations.
- Keep this up until you habitually pay much more attention to the body language of others and your own. Perhaps another 20 meetings or conversations.
- Next, include observation and use of nonverbal language in your meeting preparation. Plan to establish rapport. Note how you will know if you have succeeded. Plan how to lead the other person or people to think the thoughts you want them to and say the things you want them to say. The nine block model in module 2 of the Blackboard Sales Stages course may be useful for this purpose.
Stay with your development programme until it is second nature and master the ability to have others willingly and unconsciously follow your lead.
Article by Clive Miller
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