He’s a liberal, and I despise politics, so hopefully I’ll avoid getting myself in trouble this time talking about Trump’s influence…
Sitting at a FEMA event, after Trump takes his water bottle off the table and puts it on the floor, Pence immediately follows.
The video went viral because the behavior seems strange, but at a deeper level there’s something very powerful to learn from it.
Most People Are Blind To Influence
In some ways I made a bad decision to write the book on how Trump was winning, but I also wanted to talk about a crucial topic that few others observed.
Just like nearly every single economist who failed to predict the most devastating recession in modern history, nearly every commentator who watched Trump win failed to see how.
Mocking what they don’t understand the Internet has been calling this video weird, strange, a form of mimicry, but the truth is far deeper.
One talking head described how Pence was playing along with his boss, but pay careful attention, and it certainly doesn’t look like Pence made a decision to follow.
His eyes didn’t deviate. He appears not to even take a moment to think about it, and my bet is until he sees the video he would have been unaware he was “mirroring” Trump’s behavior.
One commentator notes that it “happened for no reason whatsoever.”
Step into my world, and you see exactly the reason…
Hardcore Influence Is Invisible
In my book on how Trump took over the country with skills of influence, I wrote about a master of invisible Kung Fu.
A small and frail old man being threatened by a handful of thugs stepped forward to shake hands with the leader, but “accidentally” tripped over his pant leg and fell on the man, dragging him to the ground.
Standing up, he casually latched onto the elbow of another thug, pulling him down too. Apologizing profusely, rolling over to get back up he poked him in the eye…
“I’m so sorry” the old man kept repeating, as he “accidentally” continued to injure the other thugs.
When asked what happened, the old man replied, “The secret to invisible Kung Fu isn’t that it can’t be seen, it’s that people don’t understand what they do see.”
To understand what we’re seeing, you first want to understand unconscious rapport.
What is rapport?
We’re all familiar with “conscious rapport,” which is finding commonalities such as talking about sports, etc. but few of us have trained unconscious rapport.
This occurs at a deeper level than words, when our bodies are in rapport, and we are unconsciously “in sync” with someone.
While it’s obvious when we have created a conscious connection—Yay Boston, Go Sox!—unless you know what you’re looking for, unconscious rapport is invisible.
When a person on the other end of the phone answers in a loud booming voice, and you speak meekly, you are out of unconscious rapport. At an animal level, you are “different” to them.
But, if you adjust your voice volume to match theirs, you are now “mirroring” the way they sound, and to the mirror neurons in their brain, are “just like me.”
In this way, just by matching someone’s voice, body language, rate of breathing, etc. you can create a deep unconscious connection without them knowing how.
Deep, Deep, Influence
I recognize that to neophytes this can seem like a stretch, yet anyone who has studied influence knows that our words are next to meaningless…
It is said that of our total message only 7% is conveyed in the words that we use, whereas some 50% comes through our body language and nearly 40% from our voice quality.
Said differently—although we think we’re communicating with words, really, just like your pet, nearly all of our communication is happening with our body and sounds.
When you think about it, this is exactly what you would expect, given us humans have supposedly evolved over billions of years, whereas we apparently only began developing language some 100,000 years ago.
So, whereas we think we communicate in words, in fact, for nearly all of our evolutionary history we have been communicating beyond words, and we still do.
That’s exactly what you see in this video.
Trump didn’t tell Pence to put the bottle on the floor. He didn’t even look at him, point at him, or otherwise tell him to follow.
Pence is unconsciously following because…
Trump Is Unconsciously Leading
What we see in this video appears to be a purely automatic response.
Again, I may be wrong, but my bet is that if someone had grabbed Pence a minute after this happened and asked him why he did it, before his conscious mind could rationalize an answer (i.e. make one up), he would have been unaware that he even followed Trump’s lead.
Just like Ivan Pavlov’s dogs were conditioned to salivate for a ringing bell, once you’ve established a pattern of unconscious leading with someone, they follow.
Sit forward in your chair, they do too. Cross one leg over the other, same. Take your water bottle and put it on the floor. Wave and point a certain way…
And, of course, it goes far deeper.
Knowing how to create unconscious rapport, and then use it to lead, is one of the most covert forms of influence you can learn.