Monthly Archives: June 2009

5 Techniques That Make You Powerful, Persuasive, & Influential

Power. Persuasion. Influence. These are things that we all lust over day in and day out. It is part of human nature to want to be in control (hence the reason we fear death and public speaking, the outcomes are unsure and hence, we are frightened of them.) What this article is going to do is teach you five of the most EFFECTIVE techniques you will learn to being powerfully influential and gain control, whether it is in your business dealings or when you are out and about trying to gain access to that really exclusive club. This is roughly based on the training seminar I gave recently at Axa Advisors, so you can be sure it is all good stuff.

As per my usual M.O, all these techniques can be used immediately after you read them and they are among my favorite techniques to use. (And the beautiful thing is that these only scratch the surface of what you can do!) So let’s get started.

Technique #1: The “Because” Technique


We have all met people who have this unique ability that they can simply say something and you will just seem to agree with it. They just have a way with words and we find ourselves wanting to go along with whatever they say “go on the floor and bark on all fours” ok, fine that’s after a few tequila shots but you get the idea). Well check this out: A study was done where they had a young lady approach people waiting at the copy machine and she said this: “Excuse, may I cut in front, I am in a rush.”

So guess how many people let her cut? 60% which isn’t bad mind you. But then they tried it again (on a different group of people) but THIS time they had her say, “Excuse me, may I cut in front of you because I am in a rush.” Guess what percentage of people let her cut in front now.Ninety percent!

Did you see the difference in what she said because that is the key? The first time she said: “Excuse me, May I cut in front, I am in a rush” and the second time she said, “Excuse me, may I cut in front BECAUSE I am in a rush.”

That little word, “Because” changed the compliance rate within people from 60% to 90% which is an incredible jump!

So why does this happen? The answer is simple. We as humans need reasons for things and the second we are given a reason for something we go along with it as opposed to questioning it. So give people a reason for why you want them to do something and people are going to start listening to you 40% more automatically! “We should go on a date because you are going to love hanging out with me.”  “You should buy this plan because it is the best one on the market for you! Seemingly tailor made to your situations because it has X, Y and Z.”

Technique #2: The Social Expectancy Effect:


This is one of my personal favorite techniques and I have personally watched this work on some of the hardest lined bastards of the investment and real estate worlds. Here is the basic idea. As much as we pretend we don’t want to conform and we all want to be individual we all have this inner need to conform to what society thinks of us. (Even gothic people, considered the ultimate” anti conformists” still conform to what they believe is society!) So watch this:


But you have to know the trick.

What you do to make this work is you have to tell the person how OTHER people have told you what that person is like. So for instance, let’s say you are about to meet somebody who you need to like you (for whatever reason, it’s your boyfriends mother, your potential new boss). What you are going to say is this:

Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. Everyone has told me that you are a very open minded, fun person. I like meeting people like that.” Now several things have happened here:

1) Because we as humans want to conform, what is going to happen is that this person will want to prove society right by now behaving the way you said! Since he or she believes that everybody else that knows them thinks that they are fun and open-minded they will behave like that so that way everyone is right! This is an incredibly powerful technique that has yet to fail me!

2) You have flattered them without seeming like a kiss up! Because you aren’t the one who said it, “other people” said it so you are off the hook! You are merely the messenger but it definitely still puts the other person in a good mood.

Technique #3: The Foot in the Door Effect


This is also known as “The Yes Train” and I remember the first time I tried it I was floored at how well it worked! I had first read it in a persuasion book by Kevin Hogan many years ago and had dismissed it. Then I started seeing it more and more in different publications and decided to give it a whirl. Let’s just say that it works incredibly ;-). Basically it’s this. While you are talking to someone get them to say yes, and continue to get them to say yes. What this does is that it gets the person used to saying yes to you so when the time comes to ask them whether they want to buy a certain product, or whether they want to go on a date with you, or whether they want to buy you that pretty sparkly four carrot ring (as my current girlfriend keeps pestering me for) they will do it!

Getting a person to say yes is very simple. While you are talking to them ask, “Are you an open minded person?” they will say yes. “Do you like having amazing times?” yes. “Do you enjoy long walks on the beach?” yes. “Do you want to meet new, fun adventurous people?” yes. “Do you want to come with me to this really cool drum circle party on the beach Friday night?” yes.

It’s as simple as that. Do anything to get the person continuously saying yes and they will say yes afterward just because it fits with everything else!

Technique #4: Hijacking the Brain


No you are not going to hold anybody up at gunpoint it’s going to be much more subtle than that. Have you ever gotten the feeling where you just knew that somebody got you? Like you knew that you and that other person were kind of on the same wavelength. I am sure that you have. Well there is a reason why you feel that with some people. Basically, when we see that somebody else is feeling the same thing we are feeling we assume that the person is exactly like us! Since they are feeling the same as we are they must be the same as we are. (That’s why there seems to be this unexplainable connection with the other people in comedy clubs or horror rides because we are all reacting the same way, therefore, we are all feeling the same way, and therefore we must all have the same types of personalities!)

And what happens is this. When you successfully hijack someone’s brain they are going to listen to you and be much more likely to comply with you since they see you as them! It’s an incredible thing to watch happen! So how do you do it? Simple:


For instance let’s say you are trying to sell somebody a certain product and they walk in. A good thing to start off saying would be, “Now I know you might be skeptical about coming in and thinking we are going to try to trick you but the truth is ______ BECAUSE_____.” Right there you have a dynamite sentence that is going to open up this potential client!

Or, “I know you must be feeling nervous going out on a first date with a guy you barely know, but let’s take nervousness and turn it into excitement.” And then proceed to be fun, light and outgoing to help further put the person at ease.

Start taking guesses as to how others are feeling and verbalize it. If you are wrong they won’t remember but if you are RIGHT they will remember for a very long time! (Quick Tip: We don’t remember when people are wrong about assumptions but we are floored when they are right! Its how mentalists and psychics are still around, but that’s for a different article.

Technique #5: Half and Half


And last but certainly not least we have the “Half and Half” technique. This technique is used tremendously by hypnotists and is incredibly powerful and yet easy to pull off! Basically check this out. Psychological studies have shown that when we agree with the first half of a statement we automatically have to agree with the second half of it! So a classic hypnotist induction is:

As you sit there with your feet on the floor and your hands on the armrest you can start to feel your eyelids becoming heavier and heavier.”

Because the person agrees with the first part (after all, they are sitting there with their feet on the floor and their hands on the armrests- that part is true- so it must be the second part of that statement, that the eyelids are getting heavy- is also true and they begin to feel their eyelids getting heavier!)

But how do you use this in real life? Well simple, when you are talking to somebody you are trying to persuade, say something at the beginning that is factual that they have to agree with, “You are a man with principles and therefore you can see how good this would be for your company.”

Or my personal favorite, “You as a woman, can certainly agree with the fact that or “You as a man can certainly agree with the fact that”. By saying that at the beginning they have to agree with it because nobody is going to argue on their gender.

Anyways, there you have it. Some of the most powerful influence techniques around that you can go out and start using immediately!

Top 4 Reasons Why Gary Vaynerchuk is so Incredibly Persuasive

Host of, Gary Vaynerchuk has recently exploded into a superstar celebrity. He’s appeared on national TV shows like on The Conan O’Brien and just yesterday, The Jimmy Fallon Show. Gary’s also been in countless news stories, talk shows, magazines, and blogs from around the world.  He’s starting to do for wines what Oprah’s done for reading books. How is Gary able to persuade so many people to listen to what he has to say?

1. He Chose To Be an Expert in a Niche Market

Choosing a niche doesn’t only apply in the online world, it works just as well in every day communication. People are generally more engaged in a conversation when they realize the person they are talking to is an expert.  Gary chose an interesting market that no one really cared about. A smart move for a guy who doesn’t mind spending countless hours branding him self. After years of convincing others to acknowledge his expertise, Gary’s referred to as “The Wine Guy.

2. He is Ridiculously Animated

I was recently watching Gary on The Jimmy Fallon Show and couldn’t help but to notice he keeps moving around. Whether he’s talking or not, moving his arms, hands, body, he just won’t stop. People love that! Most people just aren’t use to watching some act different,weird, or goofy.  By Gary not behaving like everyone else was able to compel others to focus on him. When people begin to focus on someone differently that the way the focus on everyone else, they create “character” out of them. People who are “characters” are much more memorable then people who are not.

3. He Has Authority

Whether Gary’s talking to Jimmy Fallon or to some random strangers, he is able to take charge and become the authoritative figure.  Most people are like sheep and would rather follow than lead. This may because they aren’t confident enough, lazy, or scared. Usually, when someone steps up to the plate, people are gladly willing to accept the authority and for a lack of a better phrase, ‘go with it’.  This is why Gary was easily able to become an influence to hundreds of thousands of people.

4. He is a No B.S. Type of Guy

Gary just tells it like it is and people respect him because of it. He focuses on his expertise and breaks it down simple enough for anyone to understand. You can tell that Gary stays away from the fluff during a conversation. He goes straight to the point and doesn’t waste anyone’s time. With no fluff, people are able to take full advantage of Gary’s expertise and take advantage of what he really has to offer: knowledge of wines.

Be Like Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk’s success can easily be duplicatable if you willing to work hard and work for your heart, rather than your wallet. To reiterate the steps above:

  • Chose a specific niche, and become an expert
  • Become spontaneous and animated
  • Speak with authority
  • Cut the bull

Gary also has a book coming out in a few months which I recommend you reserve because it’s expected to sell out quickly. It’s called Crush It: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon. You can also follow Gary on twitter: @garyvee

The 5 Most Persuasive People On Planet Earth

These persuasive communicators are so good, they’ll sell the shirt right off your back!

5. Donald Trump

Steve Jobs

He would fire his own mother if he had to. He was able to convince hundreds of investors to re-invest millions when he was down close to a billion.

4. Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

“I did not have a sexual relationships with that women.”

3. Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

You can’t help but to get excited just looking at this guy! Tony can easily sell ice to an Eskimo.  Tony is famous for selling you on why you should sell you.

2. Oprah

Oprah Winfrey

She mentions a book and it goes into the top 10. If she puts a book in the Oprah Book Club, it becomes the #1 best seller. She can also take any company and make it profitable within a a day by showing the company’s product on the ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things’ episode. This has been referred to as “The Oprah Effect

1. Barack Obama

Barack Obama

He convinced America about a “change”. Also has an Oprah like effect, but obviously much greater. Many persuasion experts believe Barack has undergone a tremendous amount of training with the art of persuasion.

Think It, Act It, Become It

By the time he was 13-years-old, Steven Spielberg knew he wanted to be a movie director.  When he was 17, he visited Universal Studios as a tourist. Too much for him to handle, he sneaked away from the group and onto a sound stage where a movie was being filmed.  Finding the head of the film editing department, the young Spielberg talked to him about making films. The next day, Spielberg put on a suit, borrowed his father’s briefcase, and walked onto the lot as if he belonged there. He found an abandoned trailer and painted Steven Spielberg, Director on the door.  He spent his entire summer working on the lot and learning everything he could about the movie-making business.

In time, Spielberg became a studio regular, produced a short film, and eventually was offered a seven-year contract. Knowing what you want and pursuing it with great passion will help you to become that.  Since your beliefs determine your actions and your actions determine your results, it makes perfect sense that a positive outcome is affected by a positive attitude.  The most powerful words you can speak are the ones you say to yourself.  I have developed a three-step plan to help you stay motivated and inspire you to create your future.  I call it the T.A.B. Plan.  (I like to use acronyms because it helps me to remember each step.)  Think It, Act It, Become It.  This three-step plan works for everything you do.


Anything you can conceive, you can achieve. The very moment your mind conjures up an image, a dream, a visualization, you are one step closer to making that become a reality. When you have these thoughts, you are setting a plan into action. You have the ability to create anything. The more you talk about your plan and the more people you tell, the more real it becomes. Imagine that you want to become a millionaire. I had a goal to be a millionaire by the age of 25 and I achieved it. How did I do it? I started to create that thought process of what it would be like. I started to talk about it and constantly tell people I was going to be a millionaire. In fact, I told people so often they actually began to believe me. I asked myself, “What are the characteristics of a millionaire?” I had to think about my belief structures that would support my desire. I asked myself important questions that would affect my achievement. Would I have to conquer my fear of public speaking? Would I have to learn how to be very good on the phone? What would I have to become as a person to become a millionaire and be that successful? I had to get my thought process in motion on all of these questions in order to have a clear vision of what I wanted.


Once you’ve set the plan in motion by creating a goal, you’ve got to move on to step two.  You have to believe that your goal is simply your future spoken out loud today.  Start living your life as if that goal was, in fact, a reality that very minute.  Everything you do must reflect your desire.  For me, step two required me that I start acting as if I was already a millionaire.  I started to imagine and pretend and visualize as if I was the pinnacle of success. I acted like I was the top income earner at my company.  When you act it, all of your actions will reflect that you are really a millionaire.   If you want to be the best, you have to have the characteristics of being the best.  Show up early.  Be on time.  Take better notes.  Read more books.  Go the extra mile.  Why?  Because that’s what someone who is at the top would do.


Once you’ve thought about it, set your goal, and start to live your life as if that were the way things really are. Ultimately you become it. People see you in that way because you have total self-belief that is real. I became a successful millionaire by age 25, meeting my goal, and even surpassing it.

How “It” Changed My life

When I started to practice the three principles of the T.A.B. Plan, everything I did seemed clearer and more achievable. That is the true power of the spoken word. It is every aspect of who you are and what you become. When we started our Company , we set our first goal to be a $100 million dollar-a-year company and to impact 100,000 lives. The first time I stated this goal was in front of 350 people at our convention in Las Vegas. No other network marketing company in the history of the business had ever reached this goal. I had only heard of one other company that had set their sights so high. I had heard (though never actually confirmed) that another company had accomplished this goal, and I believed that if they could do that so could we. It wasn’t until after we achieved this dream that I found out that this other company had never really hit their goal. In fact, they’ve since gone out of business. I had established our goal on a false belief that it was possible. In the end, it was possible because I believed that we could make it happen. That we had the power to make this seemingly impossible goal, real. I got up on stage that day and I spoke those words, and this was the biggest dream I could think of at that moment in my life. My mother’s words, “Dream big dreams, small dreams have no magic” were running wildly through my head. That commitment, those few words, started everything in motion that has became our reality.

Everyone who attended that convention was talking about it when they left, and they told everyone they knew. I knew that we would have to apply the principles of T.A.B. because almost everyone thought we were crazy. That such a huge goal was, well, impossible. I knew if I could get them at least thinking about it, that eventually I could get them believing it. And if I could get them believing it, I knew we would become it. Even my uncle, a member of my own family, thought we were aiming just a little too high. When I walked out of the auditorium that day, he was standing with some people and they were guessing where we actually would be in two years. My uncle was pretty sure we’d be doing $4 million a month, but we had to be at $8 million to make our dream a reality. I pulled my uncle aside and I said to him, If you’re going to be on our team, your answer needs to be congruent with our goal – $100 million a year, $8 million a month. Believe it, speak it, and soon you will develop that belief. From that day forward, everyone in the company was taking about our goal. Even though we only had four employees at the time, we had them put stickers on their computers in the office that read “We’re is doing $8 million a month by this date.” And you know what? We met that goal in our 13th month of business, 11 months early, and we made history by becoming one of  the fastest growing company in the industry.  Not bad!

About the Author: Jason Boreyko was the CEO & Co-Founder of a startup company in Scottsdale, AZ which grew into a $220 Million Dollar a year business with over one million distributors, created 40 Millionaires and generated over $350,000,000 in commissions for its members.

Liar Liar, Pants on Fire: How to Catch a Liar

Lying. I believe that if people could learn one communication skill they would want to know how to instantly tell whether somebody is lying or not. And funny enough, most people also want that one magic thing that is going to immediately let them know that somebody is lying, the same way people want the one magic line that will get them any girl, the one magic line that will get them anyjob…and the list goes on.

I would like to emphasize once and for all that if this was the case…if there was one line that would get you any job, there would be no such thing as the unemployed. But in today’s economy we see that it’s obviously not true.

However, my dearest friends, while there is no one way to tell whether somebody is lying, there are many indications that we are going to learn about in this article and when you put everything together, you can become a human lie detector! So with that said, lets jump right into it!

Establishing a Baseline

With every little trick in the book people forget one very basic precept, people are different! (This is called the Hawthorn Error, forgetting that different people do different things while lying). Therefore, while most people do in fact adhere to these guidelines we shall lay down you still have to realize the differences within people.

Allow me, my ill informed comrades, to give you a great example and also, to give away one of my trade secrets. I have a unique ability to tell when a girl is taken and when she is available, and this is again based on psychology. I am about to give this secret to you, get pumped: (This works for guys also ladies, it just happens to be that whether a guy is available or not isn’t particularly a concern of mine.)

When we walk into a room we as humans automatically look for two things:

  • The attractive opposite sex people in the room
  • Danger

So that is an automatic baseline that you can apply to everyone. For instance, most people when they walk into a room:


  • Will primp their hair.
  • Smooth their dresses.


  • Puff out their chest.
  • Head for the bar. (since they are comfortable there.)


  • Scan the room.
  • Check out opposite sex attractive people.

If people are deviating from this baseline at all it means that there is are circumstances that are changing their natural behavior (ie. Psychological reasons.) So if I see a woman who is not only not doing the things I mentioned above but is also in a bad mood, I can deduce that she has had either a fight with her boyfriend or has just broken up and therefore if you try to talk to her she will bite your head off.

If she is not scanning the room looking for a mate it means she is taken and no longer has to look for a mate, so it deviates from this baseline.

So now we are going to apply this to lying! Have you ever taken a polygraph test? The second you sit down they automatically ask you something called “Control Questions”. For instance, “What’s your name?”, “Where were you born?” questions that they can verify. What happens is they monitor your vitals.


So a polygraph test basically picks up when your body deviates from the baseline that the control questions established!

(So a great way of beating a polygraph test is to put a little tack in your shoe and at the beginning when they ask you the control questions, step down on the tack- this will automatically up your pulse rate, so later when you are lying and your pulse is high, they will assume that you aren’t lying and that you are just naturally nervous! This was the trick they did in Oceans Thirteen, but it’s an old trick lol. Cool no? Now you can rob banks and get away with it. Glad I am adding something to the world.

(Another way is to learn to believe your own lies…but that’s for another article).

So now, let’s talk about how to establish a baseline for somebody’s behavior.

Professional online poker players will routinely lose the first few hands so that way they can learn when their opponent is telling the truth or not. Since them losing forces the other person to show their cards, the skilled poker player is able to tell what the person’s baseline is when he is winning, and therefore later in the day when there is a deviation from that earlier baseline, he knows that his opponent is bluffing. This is called, forcing a baseline.

So when you are speaking with somebody, ask them questions that they have no reason to lie about. For instance, “What color was your first house?” and then watch their response. Ask several questions like this and it is establishing a baseline.

Try this trick: Tell somebody to think of three thoughts, 2 of the thoughts are going to be true and the other two are going to be false.

Now have them think about thought 1, thought 2 and thought 3… here is the trick: watch the eyes. Two times the eyes are going to go in one direction (the two true facts) and a third time the eyes will go in a different direction (the lie.) This is actually a really cute parlor trick once you have gotten the hang of it.
We will discuss this a bit more when we get into Eye Accessing Cues during Lying.

Another example is if a person is shaking their leg and then stops shaking it when they start telling you something, that is a deviation from the baseline and it is a good guess that they are lying. (this is a pretty popular one by the way.)

Quick Tricks to Telling Lies

Alright, here we go. There are some very quick ways to telling when somebody is fibbing or not. (I like the word fibbing. Don’t know why, sounds more fun don’t you agree?). So yes, fibbing.

So here we go, put a lot of these together and you will become a pretty good lie detector (combined with the other articles we have on telling lies!)

1. Touching the mouth, lips, ear, or nose.

When we are children and we tell a fib, we unconsciously send our hands to cover up our mouths. Which is why when a child is lying they will clamp their hands over their mouths, they realize that something evil is coming out of their mouth and they try to stop it.

However, as we get older we learn to control our hand movements. So that’s why a teenager when they are lying will sometimes rub their lips, grownups tend to touch their nose (called The Pinocchio Effect,) tug on their ear’s etc… Actually Johnny Depp happens to have a great tell that every time he is lying he itches his ear by slightly hitting it from the back. (Picked that up when I watched an interview with him…I later found out from a friend that works with him that he had been lying in the interview.)

2. Keeping eye contact

This is an interesting one. Many people believe that when we lie we actually break eye contact. But this is simply not true. Ask somebody what color their house is and watch as their eyes flit around searching for the necessary information. But when somebody lies, they have no reason to go looking for that information within their brains and will therefore hold eye contact.

Now, I would like to point how hard telling lies is. Some people, when they are lying will have different eye movements, (which I will get into in another article called, “Lying and Eye Accessing Cues” I am very original at coming up with names for my articles). Some people, will break eye contact, other people won’t. That’s why it is so important to establish a baseline!

3. Not making facial expressions

Think of a crooked car salesman. What comes to mind? Probably a guy in a tweed jacket with a big smile on his face. The truth is that we believe that somebody with a big smile on their face is lying when really the opposite is true! When we lie, we make as little facial expressions as possible since we don’t want to give away any possible indication to the person we are talking with that we are lying.

And here is the funny part. If you are actually lying to somebody, don’t make any facial expressions! Since we make the mistake of thinking that somebody who is lying is going to put on a big smile.

4. Excessive blinking

The amount that we blink is an indication of how much stress we are under. This is why when you are tired you tend to blink a lot, and it is the same thing when you are lying. You end up blinking a lot which is an indication of higher pulse rates.

Those are some quick tips that will allow you to start being able to tell whether somebody is telling the truth or not. In later articles we will be talking about eye accessing cues, telling through language, telling whether a story is true or not, explaining concepts such as leakage, facial expressions, and microexpressions. Basically everything you need so you are never lied to again! 

Understanding Facial Expressions and Microexpressions

You can go to a book store and find many books on body-language, communication and persuasion. Many of them seem to cover the same material though: posture, gestures, words that work, etc. Sometimes you can find a book or a blog like AJ’s that has unique insights and applications to help you get better at communicating and persuading.

So, where, besides AJ’s blog, can you get good information that not a lot of people have access to, which will help you understand what other people are thinking and experiencing? This information, of course, would help you become a better persuader. You can also use a system like the Mojo Dialer to increase your contacts when you’re trying to persuade people over the phone.

Thirty years ago, Paul Ekman did cross-cultural research and identified seven basic human emotions. He identified the seven basic emotions through facial expressions. No matter where in the world, what culture, class, race, gender, or lighting, these seven facial expressions were identified across the board. By learning to identify these seven basic human emotions, you will get insight into just what people are experiencing.

The Seven Basic Facial Expressions:

(Pictures are from FOX’s new show LIE TO ME)

These emotions are displayed based on how the muscles in your face move. While researching the face, Ekman created a coding system to identify all of the possible movements that each of you facial muscles can make called the Facial Action Coding System. You don’t have to become an expert in the FACS to read faces though. Ekman offers a nice set of tools to help you better identify people’s facial expressions in real-time.

On his website, you can view a few video interviews that he has done over the years analyzing and explaining his reading of faces. These videos are great both as training tools to understand the range and depth of information that faces present. They also give you a great insight into how you can use facial recognition to more accurately read a person’s emotional state, both the subtle emotions people experience and the emotions they don’t want you to see.

Training Yourself To Notice Facial Expressions

Mr. Ekman has created two training modules that can help you identify these seven basic facial expressions with more precision and ease. It is relatively easy to identify these facial expression when we are shown a picture, but people don’t usually wear their expressions for minutes at a time! On his website, you can use his training videos to identify what he call micro-expressions and subtle-expressions.

Subtle expressions

Subtle expressions happen when someone experiences an emotion very briefly or when the emotion is not as intense. The subtle expression training tool shows you how to recognize the subtle movements in a person’s facial muscles that correspond with various emotions.


Micro expressions occur when a person is trying to suppress or repress an emotion. Have you ever tried to not smile, or not look angry? In the show Lie To Me, the main character deals with people who are constantly trying to hide their emotions. This training enables you to read a person’s emotional state, even when they don’t want you to!

Using these two training programs will not only help you read ‘pure emotions’, but you will also learn to notice when someone displays conflicting emotions, as in where they’re not sure what to think or feel about something. Mixed emotions are displayed by people when they have two contrasting emotions. Because people can experience more than one emotion at a time, our faces sometimes give off mixed signals. For a brief instant, someone may smile with their mouth at a joke and at the same time display anger with their brow.

Lie to Me

The show Lie to Me on Fox is actually an application of Paul Ekman’s work. In the show, you will see Cal Lightman (the character of Paul Ekamn played by Tim Roth) help private individuals, companies and government investigators find out the truth behind a situation. By expertly reading the expressions of the people he interviews, he uncovers the story behind the story. The show serves as a great introduction to reading body-language and facial expressions.

If you watch the show (close) enough, you’ll start to recognize the richness of information that people present through their facial expressions. Even after gone through the training tools myself, I find myself watching Lie To Me reruns on Hulu to see more of the subtly in facial expressions.

Further Reading

You can also read Ekman’s books for further information about facial expressions and emotions. I tend to like his training tools literally because they are more visual and real-time than verbal (reading) in their presentation. Also graphic novelist Scott McCloudThe Artists Complete Guide to Facial Expressions for a much more in-depth view of facial expressions. recommends Gary Fagin’s

About the Author: Byron Woodson also blogs on his networking blog Weaving Networks

5 Reasons Why People Suck at Public Speaking

“All you gotta do is picture everyone in their underwear…” One of the most commonly used solutions people have for public speaking. Are kidding me? This is your sick perverted advice? No wonder so many people are such terrible public speakers. It’s advice like this and more that set people up for failure when speaking in front of a group of people. Luckily, there are real solutions that work well. In this 2-part blog series, I’ll share with you the top 5 reasons why people suck at public speaking and then the top 5 reasons why people kick ass. First let’s talk about what people are doing wrong:

1. Tee-Off

For some reason, many people like to start off their speeches by explaining to everyone why they’re such terrible speakers. Why would someone do this? That’s setting yourself up for a terrible speech without even making one! The word tee-off is from golf where your objective is to start off each course by hitting the ball off the tee. Pretty simple concept. In public speaking, it means practically the same thing in the sense that your starting off your speech. Just like in golf, your first shot can vastly improve your score or hurt it, your opening line during a speech will affect you in the same way. Some of the lamest ways to start off a speech:

  • I’m not a good public speaker…
  • I’m so happy to be here today…
  • I’m sorry I didn’t have time to prepare…
  • I apologize, this is my first time speaking to an audience…
  • I hope I don’t come across too nervous tonight…

2. Telling Jokes

Now some people are great at telling jokes, but most people suck. So if you know that you’re a terrible joke teller, please refrain from starting your speech with a joke. Even comics know that sometimes their jokes aren’t funny until the audience warms up a bit. For amateur joke teller, telling a terrible joke will instantly make you believe that you suck, thereby ruining your mindset. After this feeling, a person might end up speeding through the rest of the speech and suck some more.

3. Mimicking Other Speakers

Your intentions might be in the right place, but if you mimic another speaker, you’re setting yourself up to become the short end of the stick. What I mean by that is that you’ll be viewed as the guy who acts like that other guy. Or if you suck at mimicking, you’ll be viewed as the guy who tries to act like that other guy. This eliminates your individuality and doesn’t set you aside far enough to be noticed. Yes there are a very few number of people who can mimic someone else and do a great job, but chances are it’s not you ;). Be unique.

4. Reading Verbatim

Reading verbatim has to me always been a surefire indicator of a very boring speech. When someone reads off of their notes verbatim, they kill the potential creativity, enthusiasm, and overall excitement. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s always a fantastic idea to have notes in front of you. Even take a  glimpse at your notes if you have to, but reading it word for word is one of the worst things you can do. If your focusing on what your going to say next, you won’t be able to read what your audience likes or dislikes. This ruins your chances in building rapport with the group.

5. Act as Stiff

Since so many people are self conscious about the way they’re dressed, the way they look, whether they’re too fat, too skinny, etc. It becomes a challenge to focus on anything else. One of the biggest mistakes you can do while public speaking is stand stiff. By not moving on stage, you are showing off signs of uncomfortableness and a lack of confidence. Remember, your body has the ability to amplify your energy and enthusiasm better than anything else.

There are obviously more than 5 mistakes someone can make while speaking in public, but I felt as if these 5 are the most critical indicators to make one suck. Now that your aware of what you shouldn’t do, stay tuned for the 2nd part of this 2 part series on what you should do.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you have seen during a speech?