What a 20 Year Navy Leader has to Say about Human Behavior, Influence, and Persuasion in Public Speaking

Say hi to Chase Huges — a leading behavior expert and a U.S. navy leader. #1 bestselling author of two books on tactical behavior skills. He is the author of the worldwide #1 bestselling book on advanced persuasion, influence and behavior profiling.

In this episode, he shares some of his favorite tactics and the subconscious behavior indicators you should look for when communicating with people.

You would be shocked by how many signs there are for someone to give away how they feel about what you’re talking about without them even knowing. The episode is a gold mine for speakers so listen now and write down everything you can because this will transform the way you interact with people in any conversation.

The beginning

How do you prepare for a presentation?

The place you wanna look to develop a profile of your audience is going straight to the section where they have given reviews and recommendations to other people. This is where people give praise that they would like to receive themselves.

What are the words and language they use to compliment other people? Those are the words they need to hear themselves.

Next, I’m going to figure out what’s the most high-impact information I can possibly give. Right at the beginning of any speech, I’ll start with the most shocking thing that I can probably tell this audience cause if I don’t get the focus in the first 30 seconds — I’m done. Also, if I don’t close really well, they’re not gonna call me back.

They’re gonna remember the beginning and the end more than the middle. So those are the things I need to make sure I got dead on. But I wanna make sure that I’ve structured it for that audience.

The reasons your audience makes decisions

It’s not a part capable of language. To talk to the animal brain we have to show it images, we need to make the human part of our brain to communicate a vivid image down below.

If somebody says “I was stressed” that doesn’t give us an image.
But if they say “my fists were so clenched up, I was fidgeting…” — they describe it so you can paint a picture in your brain.

Words that paint a vivid picture

The last time you went to buy a laptop or a new TV, you think in your rational brain “I did the research, I checked the pricing”, but in reality, our mammal brain makes those big decisions.

The mammal brain is the one that drives focus, and if we have focus — we’re talking to that brain and we’re able to communicate in that imagery.

We make decisions based on emotions, but we support them with data.

How long does it take to research your audience?

Use the audience’s questions to connect deeper

Notes and info processing

From a psychological perspective — nobody in the audience fully processes what you’re saying until you stop talking.

Subconscious human behavior indicators

The average blink rate of most people in a conversation is like 15 to 20 times per minute. the more stressed or disinterested a person becomes — the higher the blink rate is. During a movie that has captured your full attention, you might blink around 3–4 times a minute!

No one is ever really aware of their own blink rate. Since we’re not aware, it’s an unconscious indication that’s almost 100% reliable.

As a speaker myself, I’m looking around the room making eye-contact with people for a few seconds at a time. If I’m watching how fast they’re blinking, I can get an idea of what’s the average blink rate of the room.

I know that if I’m doing my job correctly as a speaker, and I want to get the actual number ill just look around for 15 seconds, count the number of blinks, multiply that by 4, and that gives us 60. Which gives us the average blink rate of the entire room.

Watch for the crossing legs in the crowd

Or if you see the audience squeezing their lips together, that’s unconscious disagreement.

So, blink rate, uncrossing legs, and squeezing lips — these are some of the things we should be looking for as a speaker to adapt and fine-tune your speech and behavior.

The “My friend John” technique

So if I’m describing me in first-person experiencing a car crash then you have to imagine that more vividly.
And if I’m explaining somebody else getting into a car crash — it’s easier to distance yourself from it.

So what I’m doing by saying that “my friend did this” is it takes it out of the context of you and me. This makes it easier for your mind to automatically accept it. So it’s easier for the brain to accept when we’re talking about another person and you’re emotionally detached from the situation.

It’s less likely to scrutinize it and check it to make sure that everything is okay.

How to analyze a big audience on the spot

So you get on stage, lights are super bright, and it’s hard to see anybody.

So what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna use those behavioral profiling skills from the very first few seconds. Right at the beginning, you’re looking for people crossing their legs, nodding their heads, being relaxed and you’re looking for that low blink rate.

Within the first 3 to 5 minutes, you will have a psychological profile of your audience. You don’t know exactly what it is, but you know what they respond to.

Be mindful what you communicate subconsciously

The moment we see something that causes any type of discomfort or disagreement, we need to change the topic or maybe backpedal a little bit.

One last tip for presenters

We can’t determine the intent of another primate unless we can see their body. If you’re on stage and people cant see your whole body and you’re stuck behind a podium — then we lose trust, we’re manufacturing mistrust, doubt, and uncertainty.

A person’s brain will continue to look for evidence of the initial belief. Even if evidence to the contrary is present, they’re only looking for evidence to support their initial gut feeling about you.

You can listen to the full podcast interview here.

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