I wanted to tell you a quick story today about how we (as humans) are all susceptible to the same psychological triggers.
A few years ago I was called to the witness stand in a court proceeding to give testimony.
As it so happened, in the middle of my testimony the judge realized that it was right in the middle of lunch time, and so right before I was cross examined, we broke for lunch.
With the very specific instruction that we return by 1:30 pm to resume.
Now, if you’ve never been cross examined before on a witness stand, it’s not a pleasant experience.
Basically the cross examining lawyer tries to discredit you to make you look bad and enhance their argument.
I was not looking forward to it.
I already had one go round with this particular lawyer and knew for a fact that she would try to make me look bad.
So after lunch I steeled myself, put my professional game face on, and got back on the witness stand.
But the opposing attorney made a fatal mistake.
Before I tell you what it was, let me tell you what occurred earlier in the proceeding.
The opposing lawyer made a ton of objections.
Some of them with merit, and some that made her look like she didn’t know what she was talking about.
She wanted to reintroduce evidence that had already been examined.
The judge didn’t want to hear it or see it again, noting that she was already aware of the evidence and had admitted it.
The opposing lawyer then wanted to reinterview witnesses, and the judge warned her that there had better be some new evidence uncovered, otherwise the lawyer would be wasting the court’s time.
So she reinterviewed witnesses, and there was no new evidence to present.
That’s where we left off before I took the stand again after lunch.
And here’s where the fatal mistake came into play.
The opposing lawyer was … late coming back to lunch.
The judge was on the bench at 1:30.
The lawyers who had called me to the stand were waiting for the cross to start.
Everybody was waiting for the proceeding to get started.
And it didn’t happen.
At 1:45 the opposing lawyer came in with her entourage.
She barely apologized to the judge.
The judge (in no uncertain terms) told her “don’t ever come late” to her court room again.
Needless to say, the judge was not in a good mood.
And here is the whole point of the story.
The opposing lawyer’s objective was to try to get the judge to be sympathetic to the lawyer’s argument.
Given what had just occurred, how successful do you think she was?
If you’re thinking “not at all” then you’re absolutely right.
The judge sided with the other lawyers- the evidence was overwhelming.
My point is that the mood people are in when you are talking to them plays a huge role in how receptive they are to your ideas and suggestions.
So,if you are about to ask your boss for a raise and you find out that his wife left earlier that morning, he had a flat tire on the way in to work, and the company is going through a round of layoffs and he’s not sure if he’ll be around or not, you may want to ask about your raise some other time.
And what is it exactly that helps to change those brain chemicals in someone’s mind to make them feel like they’re in a good mood?
One answer (there’s more) is helping them to feel understood.
This is particularly important if you have to help them change from a bad mood into a good mood.
In the Hypnotic Hacks ebook I talk about this in the “beyond rapport” hack.
How to ask questions of someone so that they feel understood- that you’re 100% listening to them.
And then ask other quesitons to let them know that you understand them, and they feel that you understand them.
Once the endorphins are released, then you can think about influencing or persuading them.
But not before.
To learn more about how to do this, go here to read more about how to go “beyond rapport”.
Until next time, have a great day!