I had a Pool Table a while Back.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was a lot of fun at first, but after a while, it just wound up taking up space, and my house isn’t really that big … so I sold it.

When the buyers came to pick it up, they seemed like normal guys, laughing, joking … checking out the table … and in conversation, I overheard them talking about a call the one was out on the night before.

And I was curious, so I asked him … “Are you a police officer?” And he was.

He was in regular street clothes at the time, so off-duty when he was at my house, and we spoke briefly about how I had tested for Mesa Police Department a while back but just didn’t get selected.

He mentioned how Phoenix needs officers pretty bad, so he was encouraging me to test for them, but I was like …

“Nah … after going through the hiring process, I realize that … just because I was a good soldier, it doesn’t mean I’d be a good cop because of how I just … wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of domestic issues all the time.

I mean … I’m into public safety and helping people in dangerous situations, but getting caught in the middle other peoples’ personal problems all the time is not something I’d do well with.”

And he was like, “Yeah … it’s pretty bad sometimes …”

He mentioned the worst was like, when a mom calls and he’ll go to the house, and she’s like, begging him to straighten out her 15-year old son, like … “Take him outside and shake him up a little, scare him …”

And he’s telling me how, the last thing they want is people being scared of them (the police), and how … “There’s no way a 15-minute conversation is gonna undo 15-years’ worth of bad parenting.”

 

And it was kinda funny to me, because in training sessions … I’ve drawn out timelines that compare raising children to sales processes, and how there are certain, desirable behaviors … for certain age ranges …

And how … if you wait until a child is 15 to start enforcing a sense of order and discipline, then it’s probably too late.

Pretty much anytime you come across a troubled youth, you can almost certainly trace back on the child’s timeline, and find that there were certain, uncorrected behaviors from when he or she was younger.

And then … if you look at nightmare clients … you’ll find pretty much the same thing, if you look back on their timeline.

In either case, there most certainly have been … things that happened that shouldn’t have happened … or things that … didn’t happen that should have happened … early on in the development of a child or a client.

… And the communication frameworks I’ve designed are geared towards … setting the relationship on the right path by setting the power dynamics in favor of who should be in charge … right from the beginning: you!

And I’m not talking about being a bully or being pushy or desperate or high-pressure anything, either …

I’m talking about neuroscientifically-optimizing your initial interactions so that when the smoke clears, your clients view you as more of a trusted advisor instead of a typical sales person.

There is a night and day difference between how things go when you are in control of the sales process and when your clients are in control of the sales process.

And dynamics like these are set during initial interactions, and having the right communications framework in place, and executing on it … will make it so that you are consistently setting the relationship between you and your clients on the right track from the start.

All of these dynamics start with how you present yourself during the first :28 seconds … how you come across to whoever it is you’re communicating with.

 

Think about it: we’re all told to not judge books by their covers, but guess what?

We all do it … and we do it instinctively and subconsciously.

The subconscious parts of our minds are constantly scanning for threats, much like anti-virus software that’s constantly running in the background … and this is all done by the more-primitive parts of our brains that we share with reptiles (like turtles), and other mammals (like dogs).

Initial Interactions

So, when we encounter anything (or anyone) new, we are instinctively suspicious to start out, which means we’re in a heightened state of alertness to begin with … by default … like, we can’t even help it as it’s the way that our brains are hard-wired after living in fear for most of our human existence.

And since we are all primal, fear-based creatures, think of how quick we are to assume something is wrong versus assuming something is right.

When we jump to conclusions of any kind, think of how they’re typically negative versus positive.

This is why it’s so much easier to be in a negative mindset than to be in a positive one, and we all know how negativity breeds negativity … but what most people don’t seem to understand, is how being “too positive” can set off threat signals to our subconscious mind, too … (maybe I’m just being negative?).

 

Want to know more? Find my FB Page … I have a bunch of videos on there where I explain this stuff in even more detail.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

(Case Study) Argument with my Manager

I’d like to share a quick story about an argument I had with one of my managers at the university (for the record, we actually got along really well). We were in the military division there, which was comprised primarily of veterans, and if anyone knows the value of rank structure and chain of command, it’s veterans.

So, we’re arguing about some call coaching and how he’s telling me I should have said “this” or should have said “that” and how we couldn’t script things out because we’re in higher ed, etc., all the normal stuff. I remember explaining to him how we have relational power dynamics, and internally (in the organization, I mean), we have the luxury of ranks and titles, and I understand the employer-to-employee relationship and how I am more than willing to do what’s asked of me.

I remember telling him:

“Look … the director can speak with you in a certain way and that’s fine, because he’s the director. And you’re the manager, so you can speak with me in a certain way, and that’s fine because you’re the manager and I’m the team member. We have the luxury of internal ranks and titles that give us a certain (what we called in the Army) ‘command authority’ … but that authority doesn’t transfer to outside of the organization.”

What I meant by this is that “I can’t speak with our potential students in that same certain, authoritative way” because:

“I’m not their superior, and they’re not my subordinates,” I told him. “So I don’t have the luxury of a rank or title that helps me to just tell them what to do and they do it … it just, doesn’t work like that.”

This made a lot of sense to me at the time, but it doesn’t stop there because it wasn’t all there was to it. I was going through a divorce at the time (2013), and I was learning about relational power dynamics and how imbalances in power often times cause things to go wrong in relationships. Even though I didn’t connect the dots at the time, this all started to clue me in on how power dynamics are present in every relationship, both business and personal.

Ranks and titles afford us the luxury of explicitly having power over others, and don’t get me wrong; I value the idea of a chain of command and good order and discipline amongst workplaces and homes and society as a whole; but what happens when you strip away the ranks and titles?

Well, power dynamics are still present, and what I started to figure out way back then, is how to purposefully influence them in my favor, and it all starts with how you come across in the opening of the initial interaction. You see, there are primal, instinctive, concerns we all have when we speak with anyone new and they go in this order:

When you make it past the opening of the interaction and there’s a YES for every single one of these, then you’ll be instinctively labeled by the other person as: SOMEONE WORTH PAYING ATTENTION TOwhich establishes the power dynamic in your favor.

Get all YESSES, and as the smoke clears from the initial interaction, you will emerge in the leader position. When you win this initial subconscious and primal battle to establish dominance, you will have the type of relationship where you are viewed as a trusted advisor: an EXPERT. This means the other person will happily follow your guidance and thank you for it because:

EVERYONE LOVES WORKING WITH EXPERTS

But here’s the big problem with this: if you get a NO for any of these, primal, instinctive concerns, you’ll still make it past the opening every single time and usually progress beyond the initial interaction. So what’s the big deal?

All YESSES = EXPERT WHEREAS EVEN ONE SINGLE NO = NOVICE

So, the big difference between these two scenarios is, if the person you’re speaking with views you as an EXPERT, he will consciously pay attention and take you seriously whereas if he views you as a NOVICE, he will tune you out and actively seek reasons to explore other options (by being hyper-critical of every little thing you say).

This determination between EXPERT and NOVICE is instinctively made in less than :30 seconds of speaking with someone new, and you know what I’m talking about here. You just get that feeling, and instinctively, you can usually tell if someone can actually help you or not (or if you “like” or “trust” the person).

If the person you’re speaking with instinctively labels you as a novice, then he’ll still go along with you and pretend like he’s listening, but he’ll only offer up one-word answers to your questions and not really engage. His guard stays up, so he won’t be as open with the information he shares with you, and the reason he seems to go along with you still, is:

NO ONE WANTS TO BE OPENLY PERCEIVED AS “MEAN”

So, he goes along just to be “nice,” but when the time comes to make an actual purchasing decision, he’ll balk since he feels like he’s working with a novice. On the other hand, if he viewed you as an expert, you’ll have a much easier time closing the deal—it’ll be much more natural, much more “no big deal” experience with less haggling and runaround.

And really, this all comes down to your ability to influence the other person’s perception of you. There’s a lot of truth to the old saying: “99% of perception is reality,” and the way we feel about things (no matter if right or wrong), definitely influences our beliefs about them.

Knowing what these primal, instinctive concerns are and how to purposefully relieve them by knowing which buttons to push and which levers to pull—psychologically speaking—is how you can scientifically and systematically get people to consistently listen and take you seriously—regardless of established ranks and titles.

This is how you take charge without having to say: “DAMMIT !!! Listen to me because I’m in charge!”

In most cases, when you find yourself having to assert your authority and remind everyone around you that you’re in control of a situation:

IT REALLY MEANS YOU’RE NOT

The Only Way to Communicate Fearlessly (about anything):

Well, that “one way” … has a few moving pieces … but that’s besides the point … what I’m talking about is … “Strategic Preparation.”

Consider this: from a neuroscientific standpoint, when someone nervously speaks about … anything … the person’s nervous tonality literally sends off “threat” signals to whoever is listening.

You can have the best information … and say all the right words … and say them in the right order …

But if you sound nervous? Then the other person’s Limbic System … which is part of the Mammalian Brain … the part of the brain that we share with other mammals, like dogs … which is the part of the brain that processes emotions and does this at the subconscious levels

Picks up … on those “nervous signals” and labels them as threats.

We all know how emotions cloud our vision, too … and our decision-making ability … and what I’m talking about is not a conscious process … all this is done subconsciously, much like an … anti-virus software that’s always running in the background … scanning for threats and blocking them from getting through …

But, check this out …

You can actually learn to consciously … purposefully, craft and tailor your contact and engagement strategies to go … in-line … with how the brain prefers to receive and process information.

Does this mean you’ll close more deals? … Absolutely.

So how do you do it?

Well, considering how there are certain things that we do every single day … and how our brains are literally pattern-recognition machines, what happens … when we repeat any routine a few times or more … is it becomes embedded in our minds.

So, whether you use scripting for your interactions with clients or not, you’re still using a script … I mean, think about it …

There are certain things we say every single day, every time we make or take … a call or interact in person. Doesn’t matter if the words are there in front of you or if you’re simply repeating what you have memorized and have said a thousand times already.

When helping other managers with building out communications frameworks, I’d ask them … “So what do you think of scripting?”

And I’d hear something like … “Eh … I’d rather my reps have more natural, organic conversations …”

And then I’d play them calls from my team and they were just blown away. I mean, I could stop a call at any random point and start filling in the lines, like … check this out … she’s about to ask about … “this” or ask about “that.”

And they’d be like … how do you know that?

And I’d have them focus in on the potential client that we’re speaking with’s tonality …

And how you can feel the tension at first, the apprehension and skepticism … and how you can sense their relief because they feel like they’re working with experts … and by the end of the eight-minute or so call, they’re expressing appreciation and they’re ready to willingly move to the next step in the process.

There’s only one way to be able to communicate fearlessly like that, and that’s: Strategic Preparation.

Having a framework mapped out and knowing what you’re going to say before you have to say it, and answering the phone the same way every time, or having the same, purposeful intro and agenda statement for every call and delivering it with the right tonalities …

I mean, think about it … you have 5 seconds … on a call … to come across as sharp, enthusiastic, and as an expert. If you don’t come across as these three crucial things … in the first five second … then you may as well just hang up the phone. You’re done.

If you’re not perceived as an expert, then what are you perceived as? A novice.

And no one … wants to deal … with a novice.

you have been judged

And as important as those first 5 seconds are, it doesn’t stop there … of course. You have to have a plan, and it doesn’t have to be hard-scripting or anything like that, but at least have a framework.

Have clearly defined goals for each interaction … and each step … should be setting up the next step in the process.

And a strategic plan like this is called … practicing the art of not blowing it. How many times … out there … every single day … do people schedule time to meet about … anything …

In person, over the phones … whatever … business, personal … doesn’t matter …

But how many times do people schedule time to come together for whatever reason, where they’re taking time out of their busy schedules, to bring their two worlds crashing together for a certain, specified and agreed upon amount of time …

And then after about six minutes, they run out of intelligent things to say so they just start winging it and making up stuff, or saying stuff that doesn’t mean anything … or doesn’t have anything to do with the business at hand.

This happens so often out there, and I’ve reviewed calls where my feedback was something along the lines of how it just sounded “leaderless” … like, we had two people on the phone who didn’t know what to do next.

It’s not just a waste of time for everyone involved, either … that’s an opportunity that has a really good chance of being blown.

So, I’m a big fan of communication frameworks, strategic plans, that help guide your potential clients from first contact to close and beyond in a way that is clear, concise, logical, professional, and above all, ethical … and … frameworks like this make it possible for anyone to communicate fearlessly.

 

Want to know more? Find my FB Page … I have a bunch of videos on there where I explain this stuff in even more detail.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

I use Basic Principles of Neuroscience in my Communication Strategies

Our brain’s primary purpose for thousands, or perhaps even millions of years now, is to keep us alive, so it’s constantly making snap decisions and assigning values to everything it comes across. It’s pretty much like it has programs running in the background, like a subconscious, anti-virus software.

And the snap, subconscious decisions our brains make fall into two primary categories: “threat” and “reward,” and then our instinctive responses to these categories are to either move “toward” or “away” from whatever it is.  the first 28 seconds gauntlet

These snap judgements are made subconsciously, too, under the surface – so even if you have just a basic understanding of neuroscience, you can then craft and tailor your communications strategies to flow in a way that is naturally appealing to the brain (instead of going against it).

And neuroscientifically-designed communication … will give you an almost unfair advantage with everything, and these are not “sales” tactics, either … this neuroscientifically-optimized communication stuff works with everything that requires human interaction.

There are a few parts of our brains that we share with other species, and the part we share with reptiles, the Reptilian Brain, is the first part of the brain that processes new information.

It governs things like instincts, survival, and dominating behaviors … so think really primal, really basic stuff. It doesn’t consume much energy to operate as it is more “instinctive” than anything.

The Mammalian Brain, the mid-brain, the part we share with other mammals, like dogs … is where the Limbic System resides, and that’s the part that governs emotions.

It’s more advanced than the Reptilian Brain, but still very primal. This is where feelings come into play, and social status … or perceived social status, anyway.

Alpha / Beta … Leader / Follower. The higher the perceived social status, the higher the credibility. It consumes a bit more energy than the Reptilian part of the brain, but it’s still very simple in how it operates.

Consider this: think about how FAST we are all to … run away from perceived “threats,” both physically and mentally.

Think of how fast you’ll move if you suddenly see a snake. Or how fast you mentally check out of a conversation if the information is not relevant or useful … or if it’s just overwhelming … all of that sets off “threat” alarms in our brains.

Think of how we are typically slow and apprehensive, cautious, when approaching anything new … even if it is something that falls into the “reward” category.

Think of someone going door-to-door who’s simply trying to raise awareness for a good cause, or someone giving out free samples of some new food at the grocery store.

Think of how cautious we are as we approach those encounters, even though the cause may be noble and how we … normally don’t perceive threats at the grocery store.

There are huge differences in how we instinctively react to “threats” and “rewards.”

the first 28 seconds

The Neocortex is the most advanced part of the brain … it’s the “Human” part of our brains that we use to do just about anything “other than survival.”

It’s the part of the brain that we use for advanced concepts, like language and strategic problem-solving, and it consumes tons of energy, so to strategically conserve energy, the brain does most of its functioning at the subconscious levels, like with Reptilian and Mammalian parts of the brain.

As communicators, the big flaw that we all tend to make, is that we’ll prepare complex pieces of information about [ANYTHING] and then just assume that we are transmitting it from our Neocortex directly to the Neocortex of the other person … like a fax machine … but we’re not.

In order to access the other person’s Neocortex … in other words, conscious mind … you have to first make it past the primitive parts of the other person’s brain … their subconscious mind … without setting off “threat” alarms.

This can all happen very quickly if you know how to do it … or it may never happen at all. And it happens naturally sometimes, but sometimes not, and I teach people how to develop communication frameworks that help them do it every single time, on purpose, and in a way that is consistent, testable, and most importantly, replicable. Like, anyone can learn this stuff, it’s actually quite simple.

When it comes to communications, there are many hazards both above and below the surface … but mostly below. Considering how seven percent of communication is the actual words, and ninety-three percent of it is everything else, and I’m talking about the non-verbal communication that’s in our verbal communication … like tonality and pacing and inflection … and body language and facial expressions … and even the way we dress.

For example, if I was saying words that make sense but my tonality indicates that I’m nervous, then I’d be literally sending signals to your Limbic System that would get labeled as “threats,” and this is all happening under the surface, much like how your computer’s anti-virus software just picks things up and flags them or eliminates them.

So, when it comes to communications, it’s one of those things that’s pretty easy to get right, but also pretty easy to mess up … but the repercussions of getting it right or getting it wrong can just reverberate throughout the entire relationship, no matter how short or long it is and no matter if business or personal.

So, what I teach is how to map out communication frameworks that are neuroscientifically designed to just go in-line with how the brain prefers to receive and process information instead of going against it.

And what’s really cool about it is that it’s very simple … like, it doesn’t require smooth-talking or any trickery or pressure of any kind … like, I don’t teach “sales-tactics,” but incorporating these communication hacks in your contact and engagement strategies will help your sales to go a lot smoother.

I mean, think about how … if you can get your potential clients to just, not fight you on every step of the way, then you will inherently reduce the amount of time it takes to go from first contact to close.

This will also reduce the amount of runaround that goes along with all the chasing and follow-up, which will … in turn … increase the amount of time you have to be able to focus on new business opportunities … AND … reduce the amount of nightmare clients that your organization has to deal with further on down the road during the post-sale relationship.

 

Want to know more? Find my FB Page … I have a bunch of videos on there where I explain this stuff in even more detail.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

Intro to the First :28 Seconds

I’ve developed a decent amount of training materials over the years for communications.

Earlier this year, I helped to develop a communications framework training program … for the Account Management Department where I work, so … think of Contact and Engagement Strategies, Structured Welcome Calls with talking points on what to cover, what NOT to cover, basically a structure and sequence of the right information for the right stages …

And a  cadence for … follow-up touchpoints … to ensure we’re keeping lines of communications open for our clients after they get started.

And … it involved right about seven hours’ worth of instruction.

Was it too much?  … Possibly.

But as I walked the department through … in several groups going through the same blocks of instruction … talking through and instructing and discussing with the groups … helped me to narrow down the idea of the First :28 Seconds.

We seemed to consistently reach a certain point, with the different groups where … I’d stop and be like, “Guys … it’s a lot, I know … but … in all these hours of training, in all this time we’ve spent together so far … I mean, if there’s one thing … that I can say is the MOST IMPORTANT thing … that I could possibly teach you guys … it’s this …”

And it was how to open up initial interactions … in their case, the Welcome Calls with new clients … in a way that just … got the clients to take’em seriously from the very beginning.

I mean, think about how crucial this is … the client just wrote a check or whatever for however much it was … and in our case, it can be some pretty high-dollar amounts … and you have to consider how …

We all make major purchasing decisions based on EMOTION … then we try to justify it afterwards with LOGIC … so, “What are you guys dealing with on these Welcome Calls?” I’d ask.

“The feelings of buyer’s remorse.”

So, coming across like an expert from the very beginning is crucial, I’d tell’em, because it would help to reduce and fight off this negative emotion by reassuring them that they made the best purchasing decision.

“Plus …” I’d tell’em … “if they don’t take you seriously when you first interact with’em on your Welcome Calls, then good luck trying to get’em back on the phone when something crazy comes up eventually … which will happen …

I mean, we all know this … so there’ll be times when you have to get’em on the phone to work through issues that’ll come up.

… And just think … about how … your expertise may never actually have the opportunity to shine through … if you rub people the wrong way … on initial interactions.”

So again … this was the Account Management Department I was working with, and it’s interesting because I’ve never been an Account Manager … I mean, I’ve spent most of my time in Sales and Marketing-type roles.

But … the communicative tactics and frameworks that I’ve developed are not limited to Marketing or Sales; I mean, think about it:

If you knew how to craft and tailor your communicative approach to go in-line with how the brain prefers to receive and process information, instead of going against it … how much more effective would you be in whatever position you might hold?

I use these methods in every meeting I attend … every training session I conduct … every call I make … and even at home with getting my kids to do what they should be doing.

And I feel that I possess a gift when it comes to communicating effectively … and seemingly fearlessly … and I launched this site in an effort to share this gift with you.  the first 28 seconds

 

Here’s the VLOG for this entry:

 

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds