Category Archives: Miscelleneous
Body language is truly a language of its own. We all have quirks and habits that are uniquely our own. What does your body language say about you? And what can you learn about others by becoming aware of what some of thesigns mean?
I thought it would be fun to list some of the well-known signs that body language experts study and recognize. It is said that when talking to a person the information that we receive can be broken down as:
- 10% from what the person actually says
- 40% from the tone and speed of voice
- 50% is from their body language.
Everyone has a message. Everyone wants to be more persuasive. Whether you are an employee working for someone else, an owner of your own business, a student, a blogger, etc. you need to be heard. In that sense we are all marketers. The world is drowning in information and when you speak you need to make sure your message gets results.
The following are 10 ways to be more persuasive. They are all proven effective in controlled experiments.
- Social Proof – When the course of action is not clear, people look to others for guidance (even though they will deny that fact). Put more simply, people tend to do what other people similar to them do. This behavior is programmed into our genes and is well established. Social proof is more influential when we areobserving others we perceive to be similar to us. So if you are trying to sell someone on something, be it an idea or a product, a powerful method is to show how others like them have already bought into it.
- Mirroring – People respect, like, and are most easily influenced by people who they perceive to be similar to themselves (see Social Proof above). So one way to influence someone is to mirror them. Mirror their speech and their actions. If you verbalize back to someone something they have said and in the same words, you instantly become more influential. The same thing applies to posture and actions. If you want to influence Mike, then you need to act like Mike. If he is leaning back in his chair, then you would be wise to do the same.
- Offer Few Choices – People are paralyzed by choice and if given too many options, will simply fail to choose anything. So if you are offering up alternative products, services, or ideas, be sure to limit the choices to only a few. Two choices is often better than three.
- Reciprocation – Do someone a favor and they are more likely to return it. There is an interesting twist to this. People who do you a favor once are more likely do do you another favor in the future. Once someone has done you a favor, in their mind you become more important to them; you must be worthy of their time. So get someone to do you a small favor, and they are more likely to listen to you or do you an even bigger favor in the future. The best way to get them to do you a favor in the first place is to do one for them.
- Baby Steps – We want to act consistent with our previous actions. Further once we buy into something or someone, we tend to become much more committed to it or them. This is the foot-in-the-door technique. No matter how small a step you can get someone to take as far as agreeing with your idea, product, or service, those small steps will lead to larger steps in the future. This even works on yourself. Start small. Get your target to say yes to anything first, and then they will be much more likely say yes to what your really after.
- Labeling – Marketers use this one on you all the time: “You seem like a smart person and smart people buy X”. Tell someone they are smart, sophisticated, thrifty, a risk-taker, etc. and ask them to take an action consistent with that label. There is a powerful inner drive to stay consistent with what we have demonstrated in the past. If someone labels us, we believe we have demonstrated that trait (especially if it is positive).
- Ask the Right Question – Recently I was given a pitch for a timeshare. All throughout the pitch, the agent was asking me and my wife questions about what would we do or what we would like to do. This was leading to the final push on the actual sale. Before asking someone to do something, get them to say they would do it or something consistent with it. Get them to verbally express an inclination or desire to do something. Then when asked to do something consistent with what they have previously expressed, they are much more likely to agree.
- Smile – Smiles are powerful influencers. People like people who smile. But your smile needs to be authentic. Humans have a remarkable ability to detect false smiles (it’s all in the eyes). So find something in the other person that you can authentically appreciate and then smile about it. In general, just practice looking on the bright side of things and being happy. You will naturally smile more and thus be more influential.
- Keep it Simple – I once read that studies showed the most persuasive writing was written at an 8th grade level of comprehension. This is true even among people who were capable of comprehending much more complex language. There is a convergence of data showing that simple is better. Simple and easy to remember names and ideas are the best. Resist the urge to show off your knowledge and sophistication and instead K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid).
- Scarcity and Exclusivity – Making whatever you are offering, including ideas, unique and thus scarce is a very effective technique. People love and value what is scarce. Think about a high-end Mercedes sedan. Part of what makes it so desirable is the fact that it is rare; the overwhelming majority of people cannot afford it. At first glance scarcity might seem to be counter to the social proof phenomenon described above, but in reality they go together. When you buy the high-end Mercedes, you are joining and exclusive club of rich and sophisticated people who also value such quality and sophistication in an automobile. They are people like you. Mac owners are a small minority of computer owners, but they also believe they are a group of exclusive and sophisticated computer users. They know better. So offer something unique, but package it in a way that when people buy into it, they also are attracted by the social proof of others.
In over 1,000 published research studies, various methods of meditation have been linked to changes in metabolism, blood pressure, brain activation, and other bodily processes. Now, meditation has been used in clinical settings as a method of stress and pain reduction. A recent study shows that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation.
Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., lead author of the study and post-doctoral research fellow at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, was quoted as saying. “We found a big effect — about a 40-percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57-percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25-percent.”
According to David E. Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center in Tucson. “Relaxing and quieting your mind by focusing on your breathing can reduce stress – even the stress that comes with arthritis flares”
Both before and after meditation training, study participants’ brain activity was examined using a special type of imaging — arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging (ASL MRI) — that captures longer duration brain processes, such as meditation, better than a standard MRI scan of brain function. During these scans, a pain-inducing heat device was placed on the participants’ right legs. This device heated a small area of their skin to 120° Fahrenheit, a temperature that most people find painful, over a 5-minute period.
The scans taken after meditation training demonstrated that each participant’s pain ratings were reduced, with decreases ranging from 11 to 93 percent, Zeidan said. At the same time, meditation drastically reduced brain activity in the primary somatosensory cortex — an area that is significantly involved in creating the feeling of where and how extreme a painful stimulus is. The scans taken before meditation training showed activity in this area was exceedingly high. Nevertheless, when participants were meditating during the scans, activity in this vital pain-processing region could not be detected.
The research moreover illustrated that meditation improved brain activity in areas including the anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula and the orbitofrontal cortex.
Suggesting Some Meditation Techniques
- Each morning and evening, start and end your day with a two-minute session of focused breathing. Sit in a comfortable chair that supports your back, relax, inhale for four seconds and then exhale for six seconds.
- Concentrate intently on your body movement while walking or doing any physical activity.
- Visualize your “helper” cells healing your joints. Focus on a word, phrase, prayer, sound or piece of music. Meditate for a few minutes but aim to work up to 20 minutes per session and two sessions per day.
- Love is the one element that heals all things. If you are looking to heal your mind and restore yourself to that quiet place within, relate to yourself, your mind, and everything you become aware of with Love, and watch the miracles unfold.
- Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Begin by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale. Exhale and relax completely. Let your face go completely relax, as though you were sleeping. Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling. Next, completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to eight. Then exhale and relax. Continue down your body, repeating the procedure.
The more that these areas in the brain are activated by meditation the more that pain was reduced. One of the reasons that meditation may have been so effective in blocking pain was that it did not work at just one place in the brain, but instead reduced pain at multiple levels of processing.