People Cant Resist What They Cant Detect… Julia Gillard!

Has Our First Woman Prime Minister Been Dabbling in “Secret Black” Arts of Persuasion?

Over the last several decades there have been many claims about conscious and non-conscious communications.

Claims about how much of our communication comes “visual, auditory or kinesthetic” modes led to the boom in the so-called “Body Language” popular knowledge.

When we focus in on a topic it is almost impossible to conceal from people who have learned how to interpret our whole range of communications what we really think.  This is the source of intriguing TV series like “Lie to Me”.

The same “science” can be applied to sales and persuasion processes.  When applied consciously it can be devastatingly effective – because the person being persuaded is usually unaware of the different levels they are being worked on.

A very simple example comes from the use of Matching and Mirroring – again from body language of the 1980’s.

The process here was and is very simple.  Mirror the body language of the person you are wishing to build rapport/trust with – with a slight lag.  Folded arms, crossed legs, lean forward/backward, scratch arm (after a lag) and even match speech rates or eating rates so you finish at the same time  – and so on – can be matched almost comically.

People simply do not see it once they are focused in on a subject.

It is  the same as when we do not see the obvious movements of a stage magician because  of the distraction he or she creates.

You know the coin stayed in the hand the pulls it magically from your ear – but you did not see it being kept there.

Body Language Training on Crack

There is another clear example of unconscious communication – and it’s appearance in the recent election debate here in Australia did cause me some consternation at first.

I rarely see our politicians being adept (or at least attempting conscious use of  the process).

More often they appear not coordinated enough to walk and chew gum at the same time, let alone be able to present an argument verbally while communicating on a different level with their body motions.

It is called “anchoring”.

It is used about 99% unconsciously by the general population, and even among the groups that use it – the power is not really understood.

If I make the sound “WHIIZZZZZZ”, then a small gap – then say a loud “BANG”.  Then I repeat it.  WHIIZZZZ…….BANG.  Again WHIZZZZZZ…..BANG.   One more WHIZZZZZZZZ….BANG.

Now when I say to the word “WHIIZZZZZZ”                                Does the BANG naturally follow for you – even though I did not say it?  Probably.

It works because our brains are lazy – and we create shortcuts to save us “rethinking” things.

The SECRET Level In The Election Debate

Now – what has this got to do with election debates – especially where the combatants appeared to be so well behaved on the surface that it was at that level – boring.

Let add just one more level to the intrigue.

As you begin to realize more and more that there is tons going on that we don’t notice – it will make more and more sense.

Our brains operate spatially.   I am going to ask you to just for now accept that when we store “facts” we organize them in space around us.

For example, if you close your eyes and think about how you organize time – you will probably feel that time travels from your left to your right – so that the Past is to the left, Future to the right.  Some people organize the other way – from right to left, and some others do different things again.

Do You Put Your Smelly Kitchen Garbage in The Same Place As Your Prized Photos of  Your Children as Babies?

The point here is that we are generally not conscious of this as we do it.

Most of us have a place that we put stuff we don’t like.  Or do like.

Again close your eyes and remember a wonderful experience – and with your eyes closed [it works with eyes open as well obviously] – point with your finger at the place in the air around you that that fact is stored.

Now think of a negative expericence, and point to where that fact is stored.

It is a different place, right?  In fact if it was not a different place before – it is now.

Now – imagine I am standing in front of you.

Whenever I say something that is nice/good/happy/strong/powerful/positive – I have a choice of where I can “put” it – using my hands/body.

I can simply curl my fingers so that it makes a pointing towards myself.  I can even use both hands to point to me as I “anchor” all that good stuff to me.

And you won’t notice because you are “listening”.  Like the conjurer’s audience – you just won’t see it.

Now – sometimes I will have to say things that are not so pleasant to remember or imagine.  Do I want to attach those sensations to me?  No way!

If I have an opponent or competitor – who is perhaps standing on my left – I use my LEFT hand to push that negative stuff over to where he is – and because he there – he will be anchored to it.

Pretty nifty, ay?

And that is just the very “basic” level of anchoring.  Another easy additional step is to instead of pointing to myself every time I say something positive – I wave my right hand around a bit.    Good things – right hand gestures.  Bad things – left hand gestures.  And always remember to only point to myself with my right hand, and do it regularly.

A different technique to “stack” good things in a pile (probably on my right side – if my opponent is on the left), and then when I want to generate some power – scoop all the good things up – and hold them up (with one or  two hands) so that my audience/camera is looking “through” all the positives straight at me while I talk.

So I need to keep my “rules” straight – so I know where I “leave” things.

But as long as I get it mostly right – the impact at the unconscious level will be a bonus.  Even if I talk mostly drivel – people will still be anchored to think well of me – because all that good stuff is attached to me…

Of course, if I am new at this and try to do a lot a once – I may look a bit like the Lost In Space Robot with my arms flying all over the place.

And while answering a tough question – I may get my hands confused now and then.

So the Prime Minister appears to have had some coaching.  Is that bad?

Well – it might be a bit cynical.  I have a general statement that says “people cannot resist what they cannot detect.”  It is the reason that non-verbal communication is so powerful.

Mostly politicians have believed that just “being themselves” and “thinking on their feet” is the best path to success.  Most are not even aware of the other tools and models of persuasion.

Our PM obviously has become aware of it – and decided that more tools are better.  If  I was to be a politician – and being aware of these skills – I would want them.   Many politicians use tools and models innately – thinking their skills were somehow ‘innate’ – and will be surprised to discover it is learnable.

Knowing that you can be trained to always be able to move around an ‘objection’ – or create a positive spin – by knowing how to apply different  structures of linguistics – is news to 99% of the population.  Just as knowing that the PM believes that changing hands during a debate will give her an advantage will be a surprise for them.

The power of anchoring comes after a lot a practice.  Without that practice it can look like a beginner playing golf once the process is pointed out on film.  Clumsy.

Below is a rough and simple video I created to discuss our current PM’s first public practice.  I have not yet looked at Mr Abbotts hidden persuasion method – that might be next.  I have added a short intro on the anchoring before the debate video begins.

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Have a great day,

James Hooper

Ps a full copy of the Debate is available from

About the Author Business Coach James Hooper

Townsville based James Hooper: The term "rainmaker" is becoming regularly used in business context as someone whose role is to 'make rain' or 'create growth' in your business. In some senses the term 'business coach' is limiting as it is primarily about optimizing the effectiveness of the owner/operator. Sometimes the leverage is in the business systems rather than in the operator - and focus on that produces the preferred outcomes. Business is a game, a puzzle, a tool to get you what you want in life. Call me for a second opinion (other than yours) on how to make your business give you what you want it to.

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