The Little Trick That Will Make Your Audiences Trust You

I am happy to report good news for speakers. A recent study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin offers a relatively easy way to increase your connection with an audience along one significant dimension. To understand what’s going on, it’s useful to know something about an older body of research on what’s important to audiences in speakers. What makes for a successful speaker, in short? The answer is two-fold: trust and… Read More

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

Making Business Relationships Work

In two previous posts I discussed some preliminary work I’ve been doing on the life cycle of a business relationship. I posited that the first stage, pretty clearly, is the relationship-establishing or deal-killing friend-or-foe analysis. In other words, neuroscience tells us, the first thing that people do when they get together is decide do I feel comfortable with this person or not?   Is this person a friend or a foe? The second stage… Read More

What is the life cycle of a business relationship?

What is the life cycle of a business relationship? And how does neuroscience help us understand it, if at all? I’ve been doing some preparatory work on this question in advance of writing a new book on communications (details to come). Here’s what I’ve learned so far. I’m imagining the kind of business relationship where one party is the service or product provider and the other party is the client or customer…. Read More

Trust Matters for Speakers. Here’s Why.

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There are a few times in life when we take a leap, a leap of faith, a leap of trust.  There are the obvious big ones like taking a new job, or getting married.  And then there’s the smaller, less obvious one of giving a speaker an hour of our time.  We’re trusting that speaker to give us something new, something useful, and something authentic. The key word is trust.  A study… Read More

What Does Your Audience Want?

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So often speakers preparing a speech start with their passion, their expertise, or their response to an invitation.  But what does your audience want?  And is it helpful to begin preparation for a speech with that question? The answer to the second question is, of course, yes.   It is helpful because it focuses your attention in the right way:  on the audience from the start.  That doesn’t mean you’re going to pander… Read More

Blarney, Benghazi, and Binders: Takeaways from the Second Presidential Debate

The debate rematch saw a familiar Governor Romney matched up against a newly invigorated President Obama.  There was a lot of testosterone in the room; the two men stalked around the stage and each other doing their best to take up space and intimidate the other debater.  Romney walked stiffly, visibly tense, uneasy in his body, like an arthritic flamingo.  Obama prowled like an angry, predatory cat, waiting to pounce, and when… Read More

The single biggest mistake most public speakers make most often

Let’s imagine for a moment that you’re ill and you go to the doctor.  You get into the examination room, and the doctor arrives, and before you’ve even opened your mouth, she prescribes a pill for you.  What would you think? Of course, you’d think the doctor didn’t know what she was talking about.  You'd think to yourself, what a terrible doctor!  We all want our doctors to listen first, talk about… Read More

Online Trust is Fragile: Why Herman Cain hasn’t quit yet and other modern era mysteries

I’m fascinated by politicians like Herman Cain and Rick Perry who hang in there – along with their most loyal staff and supporters – long after everyone in the outside world can see that they’re dead in the water.  Why the difference in perspective?  Of course, a huge piece of it is simply the momentum that a candidacy has, and the desire of the candidate and the people close to him, having… Read More

Can you inspire an audience with a negative message?

Can a speaker inspire an audience with a negative message?  The short answer is ‘no’, but of course you’re thinking about politicians – just to take a particularly blatant example – who appear to inspire their followers with all sorts of negative messages, so you’re thinking, ‘certainly a speaker can!’  But you would be wrong.    Why?  The answer is important, because it tells us something about how to construct a good speech. … Read More