Influencing your audience’s minds on a non-conscious level
In a world where everyone showcases a brief attention span and unlimited source of attention-grabbing content, only sharing information through your presentation is not enough. It would help if you had something that would offer your audience a memorable experience and influence their mind on a non-conscious level.
The main goal is to ensure your audience leaves the room with a mind aligned with your key message. Some subtle visual, written, audio or even scent cues can influence your audience on the track you want them to be on. And this goes for everything from you selling them something, storytelling to providing them with a crucial massage.
Today we will be going through some of the most simplified techniques, so you have better control and stimulus over your audience. For a deeper understanding, make sure to go through the reading recommendation we have at the end.
So without any further ado, let us dive right in.
Applying these basics to your presentation
Let us now take a look at how you can seamlessly apply this to your presentations.
First, brainstorm a possible schema that can be activated to put the odds in your favour. After that give that extra push to secure your target’s compliance.
Now you can think of the individual Primes that can help to trigger the schema. After that, it is time to include these primes throughout the presentation to activate the schema. These can be in the form of visuals, written, audio, spatial, and even scent. If you’re creative, you can explore all the senses!
Understanding the basics
Before diving deep into the details, here are some basic languages you will need to understand.
Brain: When talking about phycology, we instantly think of everything to do with the brain. A brain is a physical-biological form of neurons, neurotransmitters, and tissue.
Mind: This is the quantum part; it’s the thinking. The mind is what you use your brain for.
Schema: A schema is a cluster of related pieces of information, knowledge, or memory stored in mind.
Priming: The way/ means by which you activate the schema or mindset. The primes of our surrounding environments largely dictate our perception of the world.
A metaphor for this is the thinking of the mind as a hard drive, the schema as an individual folder, and the primes as the files sitting in each folder.
Dive into specifics
Include early on in your presentation a light-hearted anecdote to trigger a more open-minded perception in your audience
"To see an opportunity, we must be open to all thoughts."
This not necessarily has to be a topic related to the subject you are talking about. It could be any simple open-ended statement that can help activate your target’s schema of open-mindedness. That activation will later trigger a more open-minded reaction to your key message.
An anecdote is a QUICK account or tale of a thrilling. Notice the emphasis right here is on the word “quick.” A prevalent mistake that many people make whilst telling an anecdote is to make the anecdote too long. Remember, your whole introduction has to be 10 to fifteen percent of your speech, so your attention-getter have to be very short.
Here is a simple yet effective example,
“Hi, London! Is everyone keeping cool and hydrated today? The weather outside is rivaling Bali! My family has decided to go to the beach. Not going to lie, I was a little jealous this morning, knowing that they will be enjoying the sun and sea while Dad is going to work. But now that I’m here; I’m super excited. The artisanal beer at the bar has been great (yeah, really, so after this, you all deserve a pint). I’ve been chatting to the one and only Mr.Z about the future of the metaverse, and now I get to share the stage with your brilliant people for the next 30 minutes discussing some topics very close to my heart...”
If the goal of your presentation is not to change perception, you can use the same method to hammer in your aim, whether it’s compliance, fear, or something that relates to a social norm.
Cleverly add sensory triggers to tap into your audience’s subconscious mind
Utilizing sensory triggers is one of the best ways to influence the audience on a nonconscious level. For instance, you can use any form of visuals, written, audio, spatial, and scent that we discussed earlier.
For example, red is a color of life, anger, passion, love, and a particular holiday, including a man climbing down a chimney. Using the right colors can trigger your audience’s nonconscious mind and drive them into a road where you want to take them through your story.
The same goes for using the right keywords in your copy. If you want to activate the mindset of guilt, use words like sin, remorse, and apologetic throughout the presentation.
Use scents like citrus if you want a room full of people to think of cleanliness and freshness. You can combine different sensory experiences to enhance the priming process.
Author, researcher, and hobbyist “mind reader’ Nick Kolenda talks about how he ‘reads minds’ using priming perfectly in his book “Methods of persuasion.”
Take a look at the following extract:
“Even though I now perform as a "mind reader," nothing that I perform is based on any sort of supernatural phenomenon. In fact, there are only three main ways that anyone can "read minds." You can either:
1. Use magic and deception (e.g., sleight of hand) to make it seem like you knew what someone was thinking.
2. Rely on body language, nonverbal behavior, and other deductive cues to guess what someone is thinking.
3. Prime someone to think of a specific thought without their awareness and then proceed to "read their mind."
Which method do I use? I rely mostly on the third method, but I use the first and second methods to further enhance the impossibility of my demonstrations.
When I use the third method to nonconsciously influence people to think of something- whether it's the Easter Bunny, the color orange, or a dessert cake- I use subtle cues in my script to prime a particular thought.
Nick then asks the reader to, “… and again, go with the first answer that pops into your head. Think of a vegetable that you might find in a garden. Are you thinking of a vegetable?”