Persuasion is a Physical Act

Persuasion is a physical act, as well as a verbal one.  Here I tell a story that underlines the importance of thinking about both aspects of persuasion when you're trying to convince someone of something.  Enjoy!

 

 

3 Comments on “Persuasion is a Physical Act

  1. Very interesting observation. It reminds me of Deborah Tannen’s work in gender differences/comfort levels when speaking one-on-one with the same sex.
    Great observation!

  2. Hi Nick,
    All that throwing up must have been really uncomfortable. Can I ask why you didn’t simply tell him you were allergic to lobster? Was it because it would have destroyed the first impression he wanted to create on you? Was it simply an extension of mirroring his body language?

  3. Hi, Lezlie and Sabina — Thanks for your interesting comments. The reasons I didn’t feel able to tell the interviewer about my allergy were complex. I was younger and inexperienced. I really wanted the job. I had eaten lobster before without a problem, so I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. My interlocutor had made a really big deal about the lobster; it was clear that it was a kind of test to see if I could eat lobster without spilling it on my tie, that sort of thing. The interviewer was oblivious and clueless — because he was monumentally self-absorbed — and that became an interesting study for me in itself. (He was, after all, going to be my boss, so I wanted to know just how far his cluelessness extended.) There was a kind of surreal hilarity about my reaction and his lack of awareness that fascinated me. Finally, I’m a private person and didn’t know the gentleman at all, so felt uncomfortable talking about what seemed like a (new and unknown) personal failing.
    Nonetheless, today I’m older and perhaps wiser, and I would have certainly brought it up, so to speak.

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