A Simple Body Language Trick to Increase Your Audience’s Trust in You

I’ve written occasionally about the power of mirroring to create trust in human interaction. The reason is relatively straightforward – we are more inclined to trust people who look and feel similar to us, and that is precisely what you do when you mirror someone. Recent studies show that mirroring makes a sales pitch 20 percent more effective, and that in salary negotiations you can get up to 1/3 more by mirroring… Read More

How to Increase the Persuasiveness of Your Speaking

I was struck recently by a set of research studies that reinforced the importance of touch in persuasion. Touching people (in a safe place such as the upper arm) causes them to leave bigger tips, return lost money, provide help to strangers, sign petitions, and assign higher status to the person doing the touching. Touching someone twice increased the effects. That got me thinking about how the importance of touch might apply… Read More

Why Can’t I Leave my Body Language to Chance?

  Regular readers of this blog (and my book Power Cues) will know that I’m an advocate for a version of mindfulness that involves first learning to monitor your own body language, then others’ and then controlling your body language in order to control the conversation you’re having with other people, whether it’s a meeting, or a presentation, or even a simple one-on-one chat. But why should you do that work? It’s… Read More

How to Warm Up for a Presentation

Today’s the day. You have a presentation to give. It’s your biggest audience yet. The organizers tell you there could be as many as five hundred people in the room. You can’t afford to screw up now. What thoughts run through your mind? Will I screw up? Will it go well? What if the technology fails? What if the audience gets bored? What if they don’t laugh at my jokes? What if… Read More

Why You Should Become Intentional

Sometimes when I work with clients, there’s a moment when the full implications of what I’m asking from them in terms of intentionality become clear. Wait, you mean that I’m responsible for my body language from the moment I walk out on stage until the end of the presentation? Or, you mean I have to be conscious of my body language for the entire meeting? The shocked look in their eyes reflects… Read More

Why the Conscious Mind Is Mostly Illusion, and What that Means for Speakers

A new theory, just published in the journal Behaviour and Brain Sciences (Morsella et al., 2015), reaffirms what I argued in Power Cues: our conscious minds have less control over our lives than our unconscious minds – much less control than most people think. That misunderstanding is, of course, natural enough, since the thinking in question is the over-confident sense of control coming from our conscious minds. This new realization has important implications… Read More

What Sepp Blatter Did Right

The FIFA president gave a fascinating resignation speech after 17 years in the job, thanks to the recent indictments on corruption charges and no doubt some other things going on behind the scenes. Sepp Blatter was sorrowful, defiant, and unwilling to relinquish control – in the midst of his resignation he was talking about how FIFA needed to be re-organized as if he was the one to do it – but he… Read More

Does It Matter What You Wear?

Speakers frequently ask me about what to wear for their big day. My advice is always the same. Now, a study has come along from Abraham Rutchick, a professor of psychology at California State University, that adds a new wrinkle. First, there are the basic ideas I recommend that haven’t changed.

What Was That CEO Thinking?

What’s up with the McDonald’s CEO? Steve Easterbrook, the McDonald’s CEO, delivered a video statement to the business community and McDonald’s franchisees around the world recently. The result is a classic example of how not to do it. His performance is spectacularly awful on a number of levels. CEOs and communications people everywhere should watch the video as an object lesson in bad communications.

What’s the secret to learning?

What’s the secret to effective learning? That’s a question that educators, teachers, professors, researchers, and the Armed Forces have been asking for as long as there have been educators, teachers, professors, researchers and so on. It seems obvious that trying hard would be key to successful learning, doesn’t it? Surely the more effort you put into learning the better the result.