Kurt Mortensen is an expert in persuasion, influence, and negotiation. He has spent at least 15 years studying the art of persuasion and motivational psychology. He is also a best-selling author and has written books such as The Laws of Charisma, Maximum Influence, and Persuasion IQ. He shares some important tips and tricks on the show to help you become a little bit more persuasive in your every day life.

 

 

 

Key Takeaways:
3:30 – Everything we do and what we want comes from the ability to influence other people.
6:40 – Millionaires are more open to hearing what you have to say than the average joe.
10:15 – People believe charisma is born in people, but the truth it is learned.
15:10 – People who over do their perfume or cologne is a big turn off during a business meeting. Keep it simple.
20:15 – How you word things is also a big factor to how you influence people.
24:00 – How do you change the mood of an audience? Kurt explains in this segment.
28:05 – Biggest problem for persuaders is that they push too much.
30:10 – We gotta get the little yeses along the way before we can get the big yes. Break it down in smaller pieces.

 

 

Tweetables:
The mind is like parachute, it works best when it’s open.

People mistakenly believe that we’re born with charisma, it’s you either have it or you don’t, and it can’t be developed, but it can.

Influential/charismatic people can sense the mood of their audience and quickly change it.

 

 

Mentioned In This Episode:
http://www.persuasioniq.com/
http://www.kurtmortensen.com/

 

 

Transcript

Jason Hartman:
Welcome to the Speaking of Wealth show where we discuss profit strategies for speakers, publishers, authors, consultants, coaches, and info marketers and just go over a bunch of exciting things that you can use to increase your business to make your business more successful and more and more passive and more and more automated and more and more scalable, so we’ll be back with a great interview. Be sure to visit us at SpeakingOfWealth.com. You can take advantage of our blog, subscribe to the RSS feed and many other resources for free at SpeakingOfWealth.com. We’ll be back with a great interview for you in less than 60 seconds.

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Jason:
It’s my pleasure to welcome Kurt Morensen to the show. He is the author of 4 books all centered around charisma, persuasion, speaking skills, and influence and I think you’ll really enjoy this interview. One of his more recent books is Maximum Influence: The 12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion, The Laws of Charimsa: How to Captivate, Inspire, and Influence for Maximum Success and he’s got a couple of others as well. Kurt, welcome, how are you?

Kurt Mortensen:
Doing well, thanks, Jason, it’s great to be here.

Jason:
Well, it’s good to have you. So, let’s kind of dive in here and talk about how people can be more influential. I mean, regardless of what our walk of life happens to be, we want to influence our employees, our kids, our customers, our boss, whoever, our parents. *Laughter*. Everybody wants to have more influence, there’s no question about it that is an important skill and when we’re talking about from the platform, when we’re talking about public speaking, of course, another very important area in which to be effective. How can we be more effective at this?

Kurt:
Well, being aware no matter what we do as parents, teachers, mangers, like you mentioned, we all influence for a living. That’s why I’m so passionate about it because you go through schools and get all of these degrees and whatever it is and you haven’t really learned the skills that make a big difference and it is influence.

Everything we do, everything we want, comes from somebody else and our ability to work with people, to influence people, to get people basically to want to do what you want them to do and like doing it .

There’s some just inherent challenges we have as human beings with our default setting where we tend to influence others with how we like to be influenced. That’s completely wrong. We need to adapt to other people, other personalities. It’s easy for us to persuade people that are like us, but there’s different people, different personalities. That’s the first one. The second thing we tend to do is we don’t realize that when somebody senses we are trying to influence them even though they need it, want it, like it, and can afford it, they are going to resist us. It’s just human nature.

We need to become influential, we need to how to persuade people how they wanna be persuaded, number one and number two, we need to help them persuade themselves and that way they want them to do what we want them to do. It’s easier and it’s something that will change every aspect of our life from our income to our relationships to everything we want. I always tell people, look, there are two ways you can double your income. You can work twice as hard, call twice as many people or you double your influence and get twice as many people to say yes.

Jason:
Yeah, right, no question about it. Do people put up the walls and the barriers because they’re just so overwhelmed nowadays. There are so many scams out there, I mean, I guess really that’s always been the case, we’ve just been hit with it so much more now. You know in the old days there was the traveling snake oil salesman. Is it inherent skepticism that we just have to over come, it’s just part of human nature?

Kurt:
Absolutely. Trust is at an all time go, first of all. 20 years ago, it was trust until given a reason not to, now it’s I don’t trust you, give me a reason to trust you. Not only that, the media. According to Adverting Age magazine, we’re bombard with over 5,000 persuasive messages a day. It’s coming from everywhere. Every where we look. So, now we’ve become more harder to attract the right demographics and talk to the right people. We automatically assume, snake oil, don’t trust, run, before we even heard the first word.

Jason:
Yeah. That’s is in the skepticism. Also, keeping people from a lot of opportunities, so it’s our job to be effective in communicate the opportunity or the proposal to people to open their minds. You know, it’s been said that the mind is like parachute, it works best when it’s open. But then again, Kurt, it’s also been said, what’s the other one, but if your mind is too open, your brains will fall out. *Laughter*.

Kurt:
*Laughter*. I like that one. It’s interesting you bring that up. When you study successful people, like millionaire psychology, people tends a lot of times when they’re going to go influence a very successful person or a millionaire, I say don’t worry about it. They’re actually easier to persuade. They’ll even say, “Persuade me. Sell me. Show me.” Because they are more open and people who are stuck in a rut and are not making a lot of money are so closed off and not listening to anybody. Sure, there might be three or four people that aren’t good to business with, but there might be the three or four you’re missing, because, like you said, your mind wasn’t open.

Jason:
You know, that’s very interesting that you said that. I’m a successful guy and I find myself to be very easy persuade. I’m constantly seeking out new things and looking for new things and inquiring about new things and, you know, asking for demos and presentation all the time because, I know, I think there’s a tool that can increase my life’s success or my business success, whatever it is.

So, I’m out there looking. The sales people don’t have to beat down my door, I find them most of the time. It reminds me what you just said, Kurt, I think an excellent movie that has a very good lesson to it and that is the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey. You know, it’s interesting, I say this on my show somewhat frequently , when you look at that movie..Did you see it by the way?

Kurt:
Yeah. I did, it was a great movie. I liked it.

Jason:
Wasn’t it great, it just goes to show you when you say yes to something, when you sort of default to trying something and taking someone up on an opportunity or a proposal, you know, it may not work out.

A lot of times things go back and deals go array and people don’t keep their promises, of course. Things are not what you expected it to be or what are advertised to be, but you know, you usually learn something from it and sometimes it just leads you down the path to another opportunity that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

So, I think if you’re going to air, air on the side of trying something. Air on the side of saying yes, like Jim Carrey did in that movie, because we saw so many times in that movie how, at first, saying yes was like he was an idiot, right? But, ultimately it lead him to something good.

Kurt:
I think that’s right on because if we’re always looking for the no, the no, the no, don’t persuade me versus persuade me, show me the way, what do you have is really, really important. That was an interesting thing I learned when I was doing research for charisma and interviewing charismatic people and CEOs. The one thing that surprised me the most is their ability to follow their heart, that intuition, the instinct, that impulse, that urge versus shutting down, not listening to anything, how successful, sure they have thousands of data like a CEO, but ultimately they follow that instinct, that urge, that inner voice and that was a big part of who they were.

Jason:
Well, talk to us about some of the laws of charisma. As I mentioned to you off here, I mentioned that Tony Alexander was on the show a while back and he was talking about, I think, 10 laws of charisma or 10 rules of charisma. You know, a lot of people mistakenly believe that one is just born with charisma, it’s something that is just there or it’s you either have it or you don’t, and it can’t be developed, but it can, right?

Kurt:
Oh absolutely. We all have a few pieces of charisma, but we can learn it, we can develop it, and the reason why I was so fascinated by it is I do a lot of research on influence and persuasion and those types of laws of influence and people, I tell people, look, most people only have 3-4 persuasion techniques, there’s over 100. And as Maslow says, “If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, you treat everyone like a nail.”

Of course, everyone wants to know if there’s a hundred tools, what’s the most important, right? I just want the one tool and well, I said, if you want the one tool is charisma, because if you’re charismatic people want to be around you, they want to be influenced by you. There’s really very little persuasion resistance and that’s why it’s a skill that’s critical and can be learned.

There’s a variety of things we can learn with being more influential and charismatic and the most important one that people can realize and take away and this just blew me away, the research shows that 95% of that influence you have is a subconscious trigger. You know, when you meet someone for the first time, that subconscious trigger is a feeling, I like them, I don’t like them, I trust them, I don’t trust them.

There’s little things we’re doing in our mannerisms, in our speaking, when you’re interacting people that actually repel people that get them knot to like you and suck that charisma out of you and people don’t even realize it. It could be a simple thing like a smell, the color of your clothes, how close you’re standing, a gesture, the words you use, and that’s what people don’t realize.

I think if you put together this great analytical presentation without practicing delivery, that’s a big part of charisma is that delivery, that they’re going to be able to persuade people, but they don’t realize it’s the little things that can attract or repel the prospect that you’re talking to.

Jason:
Okay. Well, what are some of those things? Let’s drill down and let’s take a deep dive and look into some of those things that people can do that people can develop looking at charisma like a muscle. You know, muscles can be developed with effort and I think that’s how we should view with charisma, not something that you’re born with or your not, but something you can develop. Certainty some people are better genetically pre-disposed to develop muscles and be athletic and others aren’t, but either way, you can increase it. You can increase what you have. You can take what you were given and improve upon it and develop on it.

Kurt:
I like that example and I think it’s true. There’s things we have, things we can improve, things we can work out. When you talk about subconscious trigger is very simple is smell. People don’t think about smell. When someone’s near the smell of a Cinnabon store or those cinnamon rolls, they’re more like to donate to a charity. On a big compliant is perfume and cologne, people wearing too much that it actually repels people. We can talk about negative odors, we obviously know that has the opposite effect. We know that the color blue, darker colors, are more persuasive than lighter colors. We know red, white, and blue. The blue suit, red tie, tends to have more creditability than other colors.

Jason:
The presidential look. *Laughter*.

Kurt:
It is the presidential look. How long do they spend on what color tie to wear? Because it matters. We have that initial reaction. If we violate somebody’s space, the science of proximity.

Jason:
So, just out of curiosity, so, should us guys wear navy blue suits?

Kurt:
I would say yes. Darker colors.

Jason:
Well, darker colors are generally authoritative.

Kurt:
They are.

Jason:
So, if you wanna be considered a authority, that’s good.

Kurt:
Blues and blacks, even the contrasting colors, white shirt. It was interesting. They showed people with, they were photoshop the tie different colors and it was the red tie, again, the presidential look, that actually had people more trust worthy and more credible.

Jason:
But, the things we have to realize nowadays is that things are getting pretty darn causal. You know, I might go and speak at a big event, you know, I’ll wear a polo shirt and jeans, maybe with a blazer over it, but it seems a little stilted nowadays to go and do some things and do some speaker gigs to wear the suit and tie. I mean, I used to always do it. I think the rule there is to dress a little bit above the audience intentionally. You know, if you’re in sales, a little bit above your client. I mean, you’re the professional, you should be expected to dress a little nicer, but you know, I don’t know the suit and tie thing is really what it used to be.

Kurt:
I think you’re right. It depends on the audience. It depends on you. If you’re coming to the audience with a lot of creditability and you’re the expert, you could probably wear whatever you want. Well, not everything, you probably don’t want to go there in a speedo. *Laughter*.

Jason:
*Laughter*. Hopefully.

Kurt:
That’ll probably be bad, but you do, it has changed. We are more causal, but it depends on your creditability. Have you been there before, do they know who you are, there’s a lot of factors there and what their expectations are. We’re going to go listen to a computer programer our expectations would be different than a CEO. So, we have to gauge that account to as far as we look.

Jason:
Okay, good. So, the color thing, I completely agree with you about the cologne and perfume. I mean, just the people who over do it on that stuff is just such a massive turn off. It seems really old fashioned, it seems like a dinosaur type of idea, you know, in the old days. I dunno, it reminds me of the 70’s with the guy with a gold chain and the open shirt and the slapping on the cologne. It’s just kind of gross if you ask me and when people show up with a lot of cologne and perfume in business meetings and it’s just such a turn off.

I remember I used to sing in my church choir and they had a hard and fast rule, do not wear any fragrances, because it’ll give the person next to you an allergic reaction.

Kurt:
That’s interesting that a person wearing it can’t smell how strong it is and that’s the challenge. It premeditates the whole room, you wanna smell like you’ve taken a shower, right, but most people just wear way too much. The right amount of cologne does rate you more attractive, but I guess you can reserve that for those who are going out to the bars and the night club scenes. Just, wear the right amount, but not at a business meeting.

Jason:
Good. What else?

Kurt:
We also have, proximity, how close you stand to somebody. In the United States, it varies by culture, we’re like 24 inches in the Untied States, South America is a little smaller than that. The gestures that we use, physical appearance. An interesting one is even with men with facial hair. Some guys look good with facial hair, but it does decrease that instant connection, that instant trust with people.

Jason:
Let me just mention something on that. So, I remember going to a weekend seminar, years ago, where they actually on the second day told all the guys to shave. Get the facial hair off, you know, because you’re hiding behind it. People with facial hair are perceived to be hiding something. I know it’s making a comeback. I completely understand that facial hair is getting really popular nowadays again. But, I think that is there.

I think that is still maybe a, you know, an old fashioned idea, but the fact is that it is there. I really, I hear people say that to me frequently when they..maybe I’ll be watching the news and someone is speaking and they have facial hair and the person say, they just have an impression that they don’t trust them as much. Think about it, not too many politicians have facial hair.

Kurt:
It is. It’s that subconscious trigger. I don’t think most people go, oh, facial hair, I don’t like them, I don’t trust them. It’s one of those feelings. It is getting out there where people are automatically feeling that to where, right or wrong, it’s that subconscious trigger. If you really want to connect with that person, it’s something you wanna think about.

Jason:
Okay, what else?

Kurt:
Simple things like word choice. We don’t realize every word we use can attract or repel people. There’s something about the wording, especially in influence. Do we say contract, do we say agreement? Even simple things like an appointment versus time to visit and even the big companies make mistakes. Well, hold on, let me transfer you to sales develops resistance in the person versus customer care, customer service. It is so important.

Even in the airlines, they send pilots to voice training school, because deeper voices are more creditable. They train them to use what words to use, because you know when you’re sitting there watching the video presentation. It’s interesting, when you really listen to it they say, “In the event of a water landing.” *Laughter*. Okay, hello?

Jason:
*Laughter*.

Kurt:
They don’t say when the plane hits the water and the wings rip off. It’s in an event of a water landing. In case of cabin depressurization. *Laughter*. There’s a hole in the plane at 35,000ft and the pilot will never say, “Uhh, ladies and gentlemen the plane’s broke.” It’s mechanical difficulties. When you go down the list of things that they do..

Jason:
It’s not a problem, it’s a challenge.

Kurt:
Exactly.

Jason:
It’s funny when a few months ago a couple of the homes in my neighborhood were actually burglarized and the management in this association said that, “Well, yes. A couple of homes were compromised.” You mean robbed? *Laughter*.

Kurt:
That’s right. It’s like a stock market correction, you mean it crashed? It matters. It doesn’t matter what you do. It showed three groups of people car crashing into each other and they wanted to test word choices. The first group said, “How fast was it going when they contacted?” And the second group was, “How fast were they going when they hit?” And the third group was, “How fast were they going when they smashed into each other?” Then, they had these three separate groups, same video, estimate how fast they were going and there was a 10 mile AN hour difference in estimation between contacted and smashed.

Jason:
so, when it smashed, the person perceiving the accident thought that the cars were going 10 miles an hour faster than they were?

Kurt:
Exactly.

Jason:
Interesting. You persuade someone, you put it in their mind with those simple word choices. Very good.

Kurt:
Again, you can have opposite effects, you can attract or repel. I think it was Mark Twain that said the difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between lighting and lighting bug. It matters. People don’t realize, they just talk, they don’t think about the word choice whether it be an email or face to face or during a presentation. Sometimes we get so concerned of content and the facts and figures and the statistics that we forget about word choice and really connecting with the audience emotionally.

Jason:
So, word choice is very important. Any other tips on charisma or should we talk about general influence?

Kurt:
So, just to remember with influence and persuasion, just latest studies, really interesting, is charismatic people, influential people, have a sense of humor. They make people smile, get them to laugh. You wanna open the door to influence, it’s humor, number one and number two, realizing when you influence, whether it be an audience or one on one that mood matters.

First of all, your mood as a charismatic person, if you just had a bad experience, you put on that fake smile, they can sense it. They’re not thinking, oh, they just fought with someone, they’re just something not right. The studies show when people, one on one or in a group, are more influential. They think about the good things and why it’s good to work out, why they wanna do business with you.

When people are in a negative fowl mood, they’re going to recall negative things about the industry or about you or about the past and why they shouldn’t do business with you. It’s a completely different mind sense. So, influential, charismatic people can sense the mood of their audience and quickly change it and get it in the right mood, because it’s very difficult to persuade a negative, honorarily pessimistic person.

Jason:
Okay, so, sensory acuity, focusing out, focusing on the audience rather than on oneself and I have definitely noticed one of the big fatal flaws that speakers make is being self-focused. You know, I’m nervous about this big presentation I’ve got to, they’ll say, and it’s stop focusing on yourself. Focus outside of yourself. You know, don’t worry about how you feel and how you’re nervous, think about the audience, what are they thinking? How do they feel?

One way I found that is really helpful in changing the audience’s mood and changing the speaker’s mood is just going out and mingle around the audience. It’s not always possible to do this, but mingle around the audience before your talk and shake hands with a few people, say hell, mention that you’re speaking next and maybe ask them if there’s anything in particular they, you know, would like to know. Not that you can necessarily cover or change your whole presentation, but you know, at least the fact that you asked.

Kurt:
I love that because I think it puts everybody at ease. The speaker getting to know people, now you have friends in the audience, you’ve changed the mood. Just, the physical touch of a handshake connects you with people and now you have people in the audience that are actually rooting for you. It changes the dynamic and the energy of the audience and it definitely works. If that doesn’t work, feed them sugary treats or lots of caffeine, that tends to work well too.

Jason:
*Laughter*.

Kurt:
Especially later in the afternoon. Bring them caffeine, bring them sugar.

Jason:
Whenever I’m speaker right after lunch I know I have a challenging ahead of me.

Kurt:
That’s a tough one. That’s the toughest spot.

Jason:
I agree with you completely. Okay, so, what else on changing the mood? Are there any other tips? I mean, the caffeine and sugar is funny, of course, they’re going to crash just in time the speaker after you. So, if that’s your competitive and you want to sabotage them, there’s a way to do it. *Laughter*.

Kurt:
There’s an interesting thing about food and caffeine, the studies do..if you put caffeine like in orange juice, so it actually makes people more easier to influence because of their caffeine. It’s not that I’m recommending you spike people’s coffee or orange juice. So, food one. Humor, if you get them to smile or laugh. Speakers need to realize that if they don’t feel like they’re funny they can borrow humor from YouTube or show a comic.

There’s different things you can do…even if it’s just a smile, it will change mood. Maybe if it got really sour, take a break, go for a walk, go into the sunshine, you know, time of day is part of that. If you can avoid that afternoon slot or that Friday 5pm where people are trying to get home is a difficult thing, but if we could be aware of how that works. It makes a big difference. Even a boost to their esteem, compliment, praise, those are all things, but the biggest thing for speakers is being aware, like you mentioned this happening, so focus on the presentation, but if you lost your audience, it doesn’t matter about your presentation anymore, you gotta get them back before you can continue on.

Jason:
Well, Kurt, give out your website if you would. Tell people where they can learn more about you.

Kurt:
You bet! PersuasionIQ.com. They can take a look at our blog and our podcast. They can take a look at our newsletter. They can take a persuasion IQ test to see where they rank in the world of persuasion and influence is something they can do to really fine tune that skill, because we’ve never arrived in our persuasion and charisma. Like you mentioned, it’s that muscle you always have to work on.

Jason:
Yep, it really is a muscle. You gotta keep fit, you gotta keep exercising that muscle as well as the muscles in our body. Well, before you go, I just wanted to ask you maybe about a couple of these other laws just in warping up here. You know, you talk about the law of dissonance and verbal package and association, balance, contrast, social validation, you know, you wanna pick maybe just one or two more and make a couple of comments before you go?

Kurt:
Yeah. When you look at laws of persuasion, law of dissonance is a law that is fascinating because it’s helping people persuade themselves, because when you back someone into a corner, prove that they’re wrong, and they sense you’re trying to persuade them, they’re going to back up and what dissonance is gently helping people persuade themselves where you’re showing them to where they are and where they need to be.

A lot of people just don’t understand when you can prove someone that they’re wrong, it has the opposite effect because we have a belief system and when you show someone that’s wrong and that they’re doing something against their belief they feel dissonance and it’s something that can be used to gently persuade people, help people persuade themselves.

We see this all the time. It’s a power tool, powerful techniques that people can use what I call stretch the rubber band, because when you say, for example, feel like you’re a charitable person and you’re watching late night TV and there’s the children in South America, Africa, you can help them 10 cents a day, less than a cup of coffee a day.

If I feel like I’m a charitable person, that rubber band stretches and people can’t live with that tension, so they’ll change the channel and say something like, “I heard they were a scam.” or “I give to this charity.” or “This doesn’t work.” When you back someone into a corner and show them in a way that really stretches that rubber band and causes it to snap, it’ll backfire on you and that’s just a lot of gentle helps persuade people to really want to do what you want them to do.

Jason:
Okay, so what do we do? What’s the kernel in there. I don’t know if that came through. So, I just wanted to ask you.

Kurt:
Let me just give you one technique with the law of dissonance. It’s called foot in the door techniques, because a lot of times as persuaders we push too hard, we ask too much, people get overwhelmed and they say no. So, the foot in the door technique is just kind of break things down into smaller pieces.

Here’s the example, if you’re getting a lot of nos in a certain part of your presentation, what it means is you’re asking too much. You’re stretching that rubber band too much. They’re getting overwhelmed or getting confused, so here’s the study just to kind of illustrate this. They went to college psychology students and said, hey, will you participate in a sensory perception study, Saturday at 6am? College students, Saturday, 6am, and the results were dismal, around 25%.

The next time, this is all they changed to double the amount of yeses to 50%. They said, we’re doing this study on sensory perception, will you participate? Well, yeah. Saturday are you available? Yeah. 6am, can you be there? You see what they did? They took that one thing where they were getting all the nos and it doubled the yeses just by breaking it down in smaller yeses, smaller pieces, smaller pieces, so instead of asking for the big thing upfront, if you can break things down into smaller yeses, smaller pieces, it’s a huge deal.

Influential presenters, we gotta get the easier yeses first even if it’s raise your hand, write this down, pull this out, get a pen, those are little yeses along the way. So, when they asked them to purchase something in the end, they’ve already had 20 yeses. They’re already used to being influenced by you. You haven’t asked for that one big thing at the end, so having them ask for that big thing, breaking it down to smaller pieces along the way.

Jason:
Yeah, get this steady flow of yeses going. I remember ancient history, Tom Hopkins teaching me that. *Laughter*. That’s a good thing, but I have seen, Kurt, a lot of speakers use that in a very cheesy way. You know, they’ll be up there and they’re constantly like making the audience raise their hand or making the audience agree or say yes or something like that. You know, we are not only talking about this from a speaking perspective.

This might be a one on one presentation too, of course, but you know, the way I think you can do that in a maybe a more modern way is to just get their agreement on things. You know, even if they don’t say it. Say something that you know they will agree with internally and, you know, that essentially is that flow of yeses. So, find common ground I guess would be the advice, right?

Kurt:
I agree, even if it’s an internal yes, even if it is nodding their head yes or anything. It doesn’t have to be the same thing. I agree, a lot of people are raise your hand every two second. Touch your neighbor every fours seconds. You’re doing this.

Jason:
Yeah, give me a break.

Kurt:
It’s just this one thing over and over again and even when you ask your audience once or two or people no matter what you say and do are not going to raise their hand, right. That’s okay as long as you connect with the majority of the audience, but if you can find 5, 7, 8, 10, different ways for them to say yes or to agree with you or to be influenced by you, then it can be a very powerful techniques.

Jason:
Yeah, make it easy for them to agree. Yeah. No question. Well, Kurt Mortensen, thank you so much for joining us today and we really appreciate it. This was a good talk on influence, persuasion, and charisma.

Kurt:
I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.