Find out how the brain works to better organize convincing presentations of yourself and your ideas. Understanding what are the behaviors to be held in front of an audience of possible investors, learning to react when you are put in a situation of subjection by our interlocutor, knowing how to recover control of the context and keep it firmly in your own hands: all skills that can be acquired following simple rules that can be applied by anyone after doing a little “training” in everyday life.
The mental patterns that apply in business and how to counter them
Each social encounter brings together different mental patterns, which cannot coexist: they face each other and one of them takes control. The winning scheme governs the interaction and gains control of the context. Think about this situation: a policeman stops you after you cross the red light.
As you turn off the engine, quickly choose which mental pattern to take: you can say “I’m sorry I didn’t see it”, or “he’s right, I’m in a hurry”. In any case, as soon as the policeman looks at you badly, asking you for a cold license and a booklet, you will have lost. It is his mental scheme, validated by the legal norm, that prevails, and he will take control.
In business situations, three types of mental patterns mainly apply: based on power, time and analysis. You can “replicate” with patterns based on containment of power, time limitation, intrigue or reward.
- Power-based scheme
Typical of someone with a highly developed ego, whose power comes from a status. It is characterized by arrogance, ostentatious disinterest, discourtesy. People who use it are often bad judges of others’ reactions and routinely use stereotypes. They are vulnerable to the power containment scheme because they simply don’t expect it.
The strategies are two:
A. Express a small refusal
Put a binder on the meeting table with the wording “confidential – name and surname of the other party” and when the person reaches out to take it, hold it and say “no, not yet”.
B. Launch a challenge
If the other party says “I only have 15 minutes”, he replies “very well, I only have 12”. Smile, but be serious. When you show bold you must also be funny, the other side must feel intrigued, ask yourself mentally “well, what do we have here?”.
- Time-based scheme
Typically occurs at a later stage in social interaction. If you feel that the attention is starting to drop, that the weather is getting cold, it is already too late. You will have already lost control. The only thing to do is to say “Time is running out, I have another meeting on the agenda, I have to say goodbye soon. We have to make a new appointment. ”
The pattern of time must be disrupted in the bud. If, late on an appointment, the other party says to you “I’m sorry for the delay, at this point I only have 10 minutes for her”, you must answer “No, thank you. It makes no sense, if we want to collaborate I have to trust her and I can’t do it if she is unable to respect appointments “. Your time is as important as his.
- Analyst Scheme
Must be countered using the intrigue scheme. If someone during a presentation discusses (often technical) details, the room temperature will drop and many of those present will begin to enter what is called “cold cognition”, while their neocortex will undertake to perform calculations, apply themselves in problem solving. It’s a problem, because people can’t handle hot and cold knowledge simultaneously.Warm cognitions are emotions, such as desire and excitement, while cold cognitions are the analysis and search for problem solving. Almost everyone has fun in front of something new and intriguing, when the interlocutor thinks to foresee, to already know the idea you are illustrating, enters a non-reactive phase and communication stops flowing.Your message must always be: “I have the solution to one of your problems, I know something you don’t know”. As the presentation progresses, some people solve the riddle and become estranged. To keep the attention alive it is important to always tell only part of the story, to remain protagonists, to bring attention to oneself. The intriguing story has these characteristics:
– must be short and in theme with the presentation;
– it must be personal;
– contains risk, danger, uncertainty;
– there is time pressure, time is running out;
– there are tensions caused by a hostile force;
– failure would have very negative consequences.
pattern Used to deal with aggressive mental patterns. The use of a reward-based mental pattern places value on you. The aim is to induce the interlocutor to follow you, to want to do business with you. To do this, three typical human behaviors must be considered:1. we chase what goes away;
2. we want what we cannot have;
3. We appreciate what is difficult to achieve.Hence, it is important not to be in a hurry to close, or rather, “threaten” to leave; It is a good tactic to open the presentation saying that it is important to start on time because you will have another appointment immediately after. If possible, it is good to create conditions that the customer must respect: BMW asks – for a limited edition M3 – to sign a contract with which it is committed to keep it always clean.
Using status for power during the “confrontation”
The way you are perceived by others is essential to be able to impose your dominant mental pattern and retain power during confrontation. Status has nothing to do with the charisma or with the ego, it is something that has to do – again – with the primitive brain: everyone instinctively wonders “Who is the dominant alpha subject in this room?”
The alpha subject receives all the attention he needs, when he makes a statement he is believed, within a group he receives trust and follow-up. To be an alpha, you must avoid what are called beta traps, actions that try to lower your status. The most common is access to the appointment: a receptionist invites you to sit at the entrance. Then, a secretary takes you to the office lobby, tells you that the other side is late and offers you water and coffee.
After her, a third person arrives to tell you that her boss, unfortunately, has a sudden commitment, but that she can take a few minutes, and then she will report. You can only get out of the trap by refusing the match.
Your social value is fluid, it depends on the context: it is important to recognize what is called situational status.
Think of a surgeon who takes a golf lesson from a teacher: when I am in the parking lot, the alpha subject is certainly the cry surgeon, who however becomes beta when, on the field, he has to follow his teacher like a pupil, who suddenly goes up of status.
If the encounter takes place on your field, use your experience to be the star, if you play in the home of the other party, neutralize the alpha person as quickly as possible and assume his status.
Strategically create a 20-minute presentation divided into four parts
Attention tends to drop after 20 minutes, so you might as well take advantage of this time constraint and use it to put your listeners at ease: if you say “My presentation will last 20 minutes”, they will know what to expect and this will immediately make you their eyes, a professional.
Organize the presentation by dividing it into 4 parts and respecting these times:
- presentation of yourself and your idea: 5 minutes;
- illustration of budget and secret ingredient: 10 minutes;
- commercial proposal: 2 minutes;
- use of mental patterns: 3 minutes.
Present yourself in a way to make your successes talk, but remember that opinion is not formed with the sum, but with the average of the information. In the same way, the idea must be presented in a winning way by contextualizing it with respect to:
- economic forces: description of the market in which your idea will act;
- social forces: changes taking place in society that support your idea;
- technological forces: changes and innovations that favor your idea.
Synthesize the information so as to be precise in their description and above all adapt it to the audience. All important concepts must be compressed over time and translated into the language appropriate to the listener.
The attention is the result of a cocktail based on dopamine and norepinephrine. The first is the neurotransmitter of desire, to get it you have to offer a reward.
There is something new, says the primitive brain, and the brain produces dopamine. Norepinephrine is the neurotransmitter of tension, and must be dosed in order to keep the listener alert, thanks to the narration. The secret ingredient is the one you need to invest a few minutes on: illustrate the competitive advantage of your idea, use numbers, projections. But don’t go on.
What will they do by doing business with you? It is to this answer that you must devote these minutes of your time. You have to be clear and concise, don’t give too many details and remember that the most important element of the offer is you.
The most important decisions we make do not depend on cold cognitive processes, but on warm cognitions. We buy the machines we like, make friends with people who are nice to us, choose the jobs we feel attractive, and justify these decisions with the data only a posteriori.
To avoid a cold and reasoned analysis of our idea, we must create a warm cognition to overlap the mental patterns. You can get your counterpart out of an analytical mental scheme by applying a mental scheme based on intrigue, using a narrative based on a dramatic tension:
- put a man in a jungle;
- make him attack by a beast;
- will he be saved?
Or, you can apply a time frame, setting an absolute time limit. The brain reacts to scarcity, so perceiving that something is available – even the possibility to buy – only for a limited time, activates a reaction.
Hot cognitions are instantaneous: do you like the latest model of a certain car? Did you like the movie you saw yesterday? Do you like eating raw fish? Neither of these answers requires analysis, but causes an immediate response.
It is about “certainty of knowledge”, a quick, instinctive perception. Triggering a hot cognition is very fast, triggering a cold one, produced by the neocortex and its analytical ability, can take days.
How not to lose control of the context
Showing signs of need decreases status, blocks hot knowledge and makes you lose control of the context. In summary, cancel all the work you’ve done so far. The fault lies again with the croc-brain: sending signals of anxiety, need, despair, activates an unconscious self-protection reaction in the other party, which translates into an escape.
Counteract the behavior aimed at seeking approval: approach social interactions with this pattern:
- do not ask for anything;
- focus on what you can do well;
- announces the intention to exit social interaction.
This behavior blocks the circuit of fear and prevents the increase in heart rate, sweating, intensification of breathing. Even Taoism, a philosophical tradition born in China around 500 AD offers useful rules:
- suppress your desires;
- be excellent in the presence of others;
To learn the method, practice in everyday life. Train yourself to recognize beta traps as you live your life and learn to escape them. Identify the mental patterns you encounter in social situations. When you feel confident, start countering the patterns.
Do small acts of denial and challenge, use humor to create a “push and pull” effect. Learn context control, practice it whenever you can and have fun!