Episode 187: Joseph Carrabis on Neuro-Economics and Reading Virtual Minds Part 1 of 2
Joseph Carrabis is back with a two part series on communicating with customers and prospects using the latest in neuro-science, predictive intelligence, persuasion engineering.
As a cross-disciplinary translational researcher, Joseph studies how we process and learn information though any digital medium. Marketers use his ET engine to gather consumer behaviors via electronic connections.
Want to know HOW someone is thinking in 10 seconds or less?
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Tune in to this two part series to dive deep into the human personality, core and identity - yours and your customers!
Susan Bratton: Welcome to DishyMix. I’m your host, Susan Bratton. And on today’s show and next week’s show we’re going to have a deep discussion with a neuro marketer. Joseph Carrabis is the Chief Research Officer of a company called Next Stage Evolution. And he’s a cross disciplinary translational researcher. He pulls from many different disciplines and bodies of knowledge to understand what our behaviors are, our online behaviors, and how marketers and anyone with a message can make that message land in a more precise and valuable way for customers and prospects. I want to read, before I bring Joseph on the show, a little excerpt of a forward to his book called Reading Virtual Minds: The Science and History. This forward is by Jim Stern. Jim has been on the show before, and he talked about Joseph Carrabis watching consumer behavior, delving into the human psyche, basing his knowledge of cultural anthropology, database technology, education theory and psycho linguistic modeling so that Joseph can find a handful of words, images, links, videos or podcasts on your website that are sending your customers away and how to fix it, or bringing them closer to you. At Next Stage Analytics they use predictive intelligence, what they call persuasion engineering and interactive analytics to essentially gather the electronic behaviors of consumers and understand how better to communicate with them. So what we’re really talking about on today’s show and next week’s show – this is part one of a two part series – is the idea of neuro marketing. So I’d like to welcome Joseph onto the show. Hi Joseph.
Joseph Carrabis: Howdy.
Susan Bratton: It’s good to have you on and I appreciate you giving me extra time to get through Reading Virtual Minds. It’s quite a lot to absorb because you deal with so many different disciplines in bringing together this information. And one of the first things that I want to talk about is I want you to explain what you call ET, your evolution technology, this engine of information that you feed to understand consumer behavior. I think that’s the best place to start. So give us a little description of the technology that you use at Next Stage.
Joseph Carrabis: I’ll do my best and please feel free to guide me. Evolution technology is patented now. We have two patents on it, several more in the queue. It is what many people call a disruptive technology, although people who know me, I really don’t like to disrupt things. But what it does, in a nutshell, is it mimics, literally mimics human interactions with anything actually. And it does it, first off it does it at the level of a child. So you have a child who learns how to interact with the world, interact with people, friends, relatives and then eventually unrelated people, business associates. But it learns how to do this by mimicking what it sees other people do. The child who everyone says, “Boy, you know, talks and acts just like his father.” Well that’s because the child learned how to behave by watching and observing and listening and playing with the father. So ET, evolution technology, has been interacting and learning from us and our researchers since about 1993 actually. And then around 1997 there was this incredible thing discovered called e-commerce on the internet, and we managed to get some family, friends and fools, as they say, who had business sites to let us put it on their sites, and that was how ET essentially observed people from around the world, interacting with information and learning how they responded. And now, as we’re talking, ET has somewhere in the vicinity of an experiential knowledge of roughly interacting with over 300,000 people. So essentially it’s got a lifetime, actually more than a lifetime of knowledge because most human beings, the average human being actually does not count as a confederate, probably more than a hundred people. So ET has a lot more than that and uses that within seconds to determine how someone wants information, you know. Do they want a video? Do they want an audio? Do they need the text changed? Do they need a different picture? Some people prefer pretty faces, some people prefer pretty cars. Both just (unintelligible) the same thing. “Well which one does this person want? Well lets give it to them.” Does that help?
Susan Bratton: Yeah, it definitely does. What we’re really talking about is delivering content to a person in the way the person would like to receive that content, how their conscious mind takes in and processes new information so that your message or whatever you’re trying to communicate, it lands with them in a way that they can process it at their highest level. Is that about right?
Joseph Carrabis: Yes, exactly. Two functions, primarily to immediately put the information into deep memory, also called long-term memory, that’s branding obviously. And to cause ego identification so that what the person is seeing literally becomes part of them. They want it, they need it, they identify with it.
Susan Bratton: So a couple of things are coming up for me. One, in your book, Reading Virtual Minds, you talk about personality. You talk about core identity and personality being very separate things. And when you’re trying to deliver content to a customer or a prospect online, on a website, in an email, in social media, wherever it might be, whatever the channel is it doesn’t matter. We’re talking about the electronic dissemination of information to people. You make a very explicit statement in the book that there are two pieces of a person – their core identity and their personality. And I think that’s a good construct to discuss for a minute to get a level set on who we’re really appearing to here with those words or those videos or whatever it might be, how do we frame that idea. Are we talking to the personality, are we talking to the core or are we talking to both and how does ET figure out what to deliver to that person?
Joseph Carrabis: Well it depends, you know, if you’re just having a casual conversation you rarely communicate with more than the personality, which is the personality is what we people, we humans present to the world. It’s what we want the world to see of us at first glance.
Susan Bratton: It’s like our societal best behavior, right?
Joseph Carrabis: Yeah. Yeah, exactly, you know. He’s got a good personality. She has a great personality. That person doesn’t have a good personality, that type of thing. Now as we become friendlier with people, we become a little bit more intimate with them, we share our identity. And that’s where you’d have things like people saying, oh, they’re always such a good natured happy go lucky person, and then the person says, “Well actually I’ve been in a lot of pain for the past ten years, I just put a good face on it.” They’re now sharing their identity, as opposed to the personality. And you’ve come one step closer to knowing the real person. Beyond that of course is the core. This is who the person is when they’re squeezed so to speak, you know. As we say on our Principles page, when you squeeze an orange you’re going to get orange juice. When a person is squeezed that’s when you find out what’s inside of them. So we have core, identity and personality. When you’re selling something, depending on what you’re selling and to whom depends on whether you talk to which aspect. Most commerce, most commerce is done, since time began, deals really with personality and identity. When you start to talk with core and identity, that’s when you get into pure ego identification, the person who identifies so strongly with a brand that they wear the brand jacket, they drive the brand vehicle, you know. They’re a BMW person, they’re a Harley person. The Nascar mom is an excellent example of identity and core being co-opted to create a brand identity, which the person then believes is their identity. So one of the factors that we recognize about marketing to the personality versus the identity versus the core is literally the price of the object that you’re trying to market, because the person’s concept of value has to match what’s called fair exchange. That’s in Volume 2 for everyone who’s listening, Volume 2 Reading Virtual Minds, soon to be at a bookstore near you. We call it fair exchange, that’s the neuro economics term. It’s actually based on a Gault equivalence, for those of you who know those terms. And what happens I have to believe the value that I’m getting is equal to the value I’m giving. The getting and giving must balance. If they do not balance, then I’m being cheated or I’m cheating you and psychological incongruents occurs. The person does not feel good. They even may think they’re feeling good but really they probably are not. So price point is a critical factor to which one you’re marketing to. How long you expect that item to be with the person is critical. Something that somebody’s going to keep for an hour, just feed it to the personality. Something that somebody’s going to keep for a year, probably want to go identity. A brand which you want the person to be with over the lifetime, that’s going to go to the core.
Susan Bratton: So in ET, one of the things that I was left with was a sense – and I can’t describe it well because I don’t understand it well enough yet, so I want you to help me understand it – the idea that we’re really talking about the linguistics, the way that a person expresses, the way they talk, the words that they use, that there are lots of different clusters. I don’t know whether you use this example in the book. It was like impoverished young Asian women speak entirely differently about something than, you know, white 50 plus men in Europe, or whatever, that clusters of people might be talking about something, the same overarching thing, but they’re using an entirely different group of words. Is that the basis of how you do the communicating once you learn the words that cluster of people uses? How does that all work?
Joseph Carrabis: Words is an excellent starting point. What we are really concerned with is the concepts, not the words. Words are merely expressions of a concept that exists in my mind and in your mind. And there’s actually been studies done that demonstrate that when I say something and you respond to it there’s eight levels of separation between what I said and what you actually respond to. So then you respond back to me, and now it’s eight times eight, so now it’s 64. It’s amazing people communicate at all. So words are the starting point…
Susan Bratton: Because words are loaded with individual meaning, right?
Joseph Carrabis: Exactly. And this gets into what’s in the book as digital versus analogue. So as we are talking, yes we’re using words. However, this conversation would be very different if it was literally only an email or a text style chat because I’m picking up a lot of queues by the way you are breathing, and I won’t go into a lot of detail, but I can hear a lot that you probably don’t realize you’re giving off, which is indicating to me where your real questions are, what parts of your brain are firing to come up with these questions, how you’re doing the connectivity between different sections of your brain to put things into memory, to come up with new questions, “Does this make sense”, so on and so forth. That’s all the analog aspect of this communication. Now lets bring it up into even more communication levels. We began with words, we’re going back to concepts. The concepts are also communicated by the colors that I wear, the clothes that I wear, the kind of eyeglasses that I have, the cars that I drive, the food that I eat, the way that I eat, the shoes, everything. Everything imaginable. If people understood, people began to recognize how much information they’re giving off when they don’t think they’re doing anything, they would be dumbfounded. So you put all of that together more than the words, and now you have what you can put onto a website, for example, or a marketing brochure or a podcast or a video or whatever, so that everything is communicating. You’re essentially bypassing all of the filters that we’ve learned to have throughout our lives. The non-conscious things we don’t realize we do that which stop us from getting the information into our brains. So by understanding how people conceptualize the words they use, yes. Also the colors they use, the smells they’re used to, the sounds they’re used to, the way they say a word versus the way I say a word. Put all this together and you have designed marketing communications, or communications generally speaking, that put things into deep memory, that cause people to think and respond preferably in ways you like. If you do it right, they respond in the way you want them to.
Susan Bratton: So everybody has such a vastly different experience if you’re thinking about visual, auditory, kinesthetic, gustatory, olfactory, all of that input. Their socio economics, their core, their personality their identity; how can you possibly get your hands around all of this information? How are you collecting it and how are you then resolving it back to a marketer and the messages that they’re trying to disseminate?
Joseph Carrabis: Well in the case of ET, you know, when it’s used on a website, it’s how people interact with the website – where do they mouse, how do they use the mouse, do they use the keyboard, when do they use the keyboard, how many other windows do they have open on their desktop, are they using a Mac versus a Windows based machine. Again, the amount of information that people give off in simple interactions they’re unaware of is staggering. For example, in our conversation if ET was running right now on an exchange between you and I, and you were the one who was curious to know what ET was gathering it would’ve told you by now that I’ve shut down all windows except this one, the one we’re using to communicate. Well that is in itself an unconscious demonstration of the importance I’m allotting you and this conversation. So you on your end, you know, would be able to recognize that, respond to it in any way you saw fit. Lets say this is, I don’t know, a chat room kind of conversation, an audio chat, with all due respect lets just say it’s for a dating site. This automatically would be telling you that “Wow, this guy thinks an awful lot of me. He shut everything else down so he can pay attention to me.” Now if there was added to this that I had my hand on the mouse or the keyboard or some such thing, and the amount of activity would also be indicative of non-conscious psycho motor behavioral queues that would be based on things you were saying, perhaps your picture. ET would be gathering all this information, and if you were the client reporting to you that my brain is indicating this, my activities are indicating such and so, I found you interesting, I found you attractive, I found you someone I wanted to progress to another level with. Or I’m just doing essential due diligence, this doesn’t really interest me, cut your losses and go with someone else.
Susan Bratton: In the book you have a list. You show a lot of charts and graphs. I had a really hard time getting my head around these graphs because you’re using about 30 different data points that you’re graphing. Some of the words that are on that are ‘absent’, ‘cognitive’, ‘distemporal’, ‘mythic’, ‘ordinal’, ‘strangerness’, ‘vestibulary’, and these words are meaningless to me, most of them, and even if I understood slightly what some of them were they are probably very different meaning to me than in this particular case. I really had a hard time connecting to those charts and graphs, and I’m a very visual person so I would’ve liked to have gotten more out of them. I never really got the connection between what those words mean and how you measure those things from a consumers behavior on a website and then make some prediction about how to be more persuasive to that person or that group of people. Can you connect those dots for me please?
Joseph Carrabis: I’ll do my best. A lot of the words that you mentioned are concepts that are prevalent in, well all of western culture, some of other cultures. ET, at present, I haven’t checked today, but the last time I checked ET can recognize about 90, maybe a little over 90 concepts. And this goes back to, you know, how is a person thinking versus how are they expressing what they’re thinking. So for example, you mentioned mythic. Mythic is indicative of people or as a concept, which is either black or white. Things are mythic in nature. And things which are mythic are black and white, up or down, yes or no. The juxtaposition to mythic is sensory, i.e. shades of gray. So something can be mythic, if an individual is mythic in nature, then what you want to communicate to them is the yes or no ness of it, polarity response of things. Whereas if somebody is sensory in nature, give them a little bit shade of gray, and then make it a little bit more gray, and then add some more color to it, a little bit more, but not all at once. The mythic person wants it all at once; hit me with everything and then walk away. The sensory person wants a little bit at a time, a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more. Absent is the more fascinating concepts. When Joseph chuckles we know it’s fun. My beloved wife Susan, one of her primary ways of functioning, of navigating her world is what’s called absent. She immensely, immensely skilled at thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow, the next day. Her predictive abilities, you know, “Come on princess, why don’t you buy a lottery ticket”, it’s amazing. Now she has that skill. That’s something that she just naturally does. That is part of her unique wiring, to be able to understand tomorrow, the day after, yesterday, the day before. But ask her about right here, right now, nada, “Huh? What?” I shouldn’t say it that way because she’s not but two rooms away. Whereas myself, I am immensely now. As a matter of fact, when I work with ET, ET will register that I have very little absent conceptualizing of myself or the world around me, and this makes the two of us together an incredible team because I have incredible focus in about a 24 to 48 hour window of myself. She has incredible focus beyond that but not within the 24 to 48 hour window. So the two of us planning something, it’s done. It’s nailed. And if you wish to communicate something to me and talk about down the road, in a couple of weeks, you might as well be talking… A lot of people say, they’re talking to a fencepost. Similar thing with my wife, my beloved Susan, if you talk to her about “Today we’re going to do X, Y and Z”, she’ll, “Okay, fine, whatever you say.” The two of us together though; great. Talk about what you’re going to start now and do over the next month and a half, the two of us together, we got it nailed.
Susan Bratton: You know, I want to take a little aside for you here Joseph and tell you that I would love for you to listen to a recent DishyMix interview that I did with a man named John Furey. He has a company called MindTime, and you can take an 18 question free survey at mindtimemaps.com, and it’ll tell you what you already know about yourself and Susan, but it essentially is a time space continuum of where very individual, the starting point of how they think about their lives and the timeframe in which they exist in their mind. So it’s similar for Tim and I in that Tim is a past and a far future thinker and I am a present to near future thinker. And so we’re very collaborative in that way because we’ve got it covered, just like you and your Susan do. And I actually interviewed John at the AdTech New York keynote. We did a keynote together and I interviewed him on the stage, and it’s a very interesting thing that I think you would also enjoy. So what I’m getting here is that mythic versus sensory, black and white versus shades of gray, those are approaches people have to learning information and interacting with our world, as are absent – am I present now or in the future or the past? So what you’re telling me is that each of these, what I would maybe call data points or attributes, it gives you a range of a person. So what would vestibulary be, just as a third example?
Joseph Carrabis: A vestibulary is actually along the lines of some of the things that it’s a sensory concept, much like visual and auditory and olfactory. A lot of people in western culture, because of the way western languages use words, they kind of stop at kinesthetic, which means how someone moves through space. But then there’s also proprioceptive which is how someone is in space, and how vestibulary, which is how someone places themselves in space. If you’ve ever been to a, well definitely if you’ve ever been to one of my presentations over the past few years, I do a thing towards the end if there’s time where I put up on the screen based on where you’re sitting, this is how you think. Simple as that. Based on where you’re sitting in a room, this is how you think. And that’s channeling, that’s using the vestibulary, how people place themselves in space. So if you recognize that, you know, as I’ve explained to different companies and sales people, just by how someone sits in a presentation you know what you have to say to them, you know what you have to show them to get them to nod in agreement and say yes.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, that’s very interesting. I have an experience of that when I’m talking to people. It annoys me, the people who stand beside me to talk to me, who don’t look at me and face me reasonable straight on, I don’t like to have to turn my head to the left or the right to see someone, to talk to them. And I always find it, like, really annoying when I get with those people who stand to my side. At the same time, I don’t like when people walk, I don’t like it when my husband walks straight up to me and kisses me directly on the lips. I like him to come to the side of me, gather me to him and then kiss me from the side at first. So I can see exactly what you’re talking about with the proprioceptiveness and the vestibulary locations of how you like your things coming at you. How does that translate to a website?
Joseph Carrabis: Well it translates to websites by understanding if there’s an image, for example, of what you want the person to respond to, where should the image be on the website, and should the image of the target, lets say it’s a car, should that be as you have said a full frontal image, should it be off to the side, how should the image be lighted. Should the image be lit so that it appears to be approaching you from the side, face on, from behind? I also, you know – and I kind of smile when you mention you like people to not be on the side but in front versus that, however your husband, because that to me is very indicative of what you said earlier about now and near present, near future, as opposed to past and far future. You want someone within your radius. People who you’re unfamiliar with or do not have that core recognition of, you want to see them because you are highly visual. Whereas, your partner, your husband, you have a more kinesthetic, more proprioceptive, more vestibulary relationship, and you allow him to access you, to use anthropologic terms, in very different ways, which only he is allowed, and therefore he has the right to. Congratulations.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, that’s very interesting. So I’ve been reading this awesome book that I will send a copy to you if you haven’t read it yet. Have you read The Open Mind?
Joseph Carrabis: Nope, can’t say that I have.
Susan Bratton: It’s by Donna I want to say Marcova or something like that. What she did was research the three states of conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind, and you know, the beta, alpha, theta brainwave states. And she helps people determine whether they’re visual, auditory or kinesthetic in each of those states. And so, you know, people are a combination. They might be visual in their conscious state and auditory in their subconscious and kinesthetic in their unconscious mind, and it’s each one of us has a make up of some kind there, I think eight or nine of these archetypes. And depending on how you liked to process information, you can start to relate to yourself and/or other people based on what you know. If someone’s very auditory you need to tell them or talk to them or write something down and give them words. If someone is a visual, you need to paint them a picture, show them a picture or tell them about the big picture, describe the picture using visual imagery. If they’re kinesthetic you may need to touch them while you talk to them. And so it’s a very similar kind of a thing, a way that you can begin to understand more about how you need to relate to people. I want to give myself a minute to think about this. One of the, with all these like 30 or 90 different data points, I’m still wrestling with how do you, how do you satisfy the tremendous variety of our need to get information in such unique ways? How’s a company manage to do a website that’s going to appeal to that vast amount of need state that’s different in so many different customers?
Joseph Carrabis: Lets use the example that you just mentioned that someone may be visual consciously and auditory non-consciously and so on and so forth. We have these 90 plus elements that we investigate. And what we actually have is a 90 by 90 matrix. So that’s an awful lot of data points, because just as you said, someone may be visual and then auditory. What our system will recognize is the first element, lets say, is visual. The second element is mythic. Unless they’re doing this, in which case it’s visual, kinesthetic, then mythic. So imagine if you will this 90 by 90 matrix. What it actually is is a psycho cognitive map. It creates a psycho cognitive map, a mathematical map.
Susan Bratton: That makes sense. So they’re going to be in this where you have audio here, but we have a lot of visual people, it’s typical. Describe what that map, that 90 by 90 map would look like as an output for an individual.
Joseph Carrabis: Okay. Well one of the things I did in the book was I mentioned that I love Bach, and when I play the piano I learn I each time when I’m playing Bach, etcetera, etcetera. So if, for example, you were to translate those statements into these concepts it would be auditory now ‘cause I’m so now, and cognitive ‘cause I like to learn, and whatever else. So I could be like a fingerprint if you will, but it would be a neuro print. And the neuro print, my neuro fingerprint would be A N C G H Y, and each one of those letters is actually one of those elements you had talked about earlier. So now I’m focusing my attention on your, I’m A I G C N Y, AIGCNY, yes Joseph can be very much an AIGCNY. However, after we’ve talked and now I’m going over our conversation and I’m saying, “Oh gosh, I should’ve said this. Oh, I should’ve done that”, well now I am no longer AIGCNY, I am now going into a visual mode using part of the example you were giving, and I’m going into a kinesthetic concept ‘cause I’m going to be thinking and rubbing my hands, so I’m touching and I’m feeling now, it’s kinesthetic. It’s how I’m moving through space. How do you use these things? Well if you know that someone needs information given to them as AIGCNY, but someone processes the information as VK blah, blah, blah, when all you need to do, I appreciate that I said that so, you know, so simplisticly, “All you need to do…”
Susan Bratton: Yeah, so cavalierly.
Joseph Carrabis: Yeah. But cavalierly, (unintelligible), all you need to do really is put together the information so that it is neuro cognitively time stamped. Take this information right now and put it in your brain, that’s the AIGCNY for me, and then the time stamp is designed part of the information, the branding elements, the purchase, the intender status of the information so that it’s BK whatever, whatever, thereby allowing my – I don’t want to use the term ‘non-conscious’ ‘cause that’s not accurate – my other parts of my thinking, the decision processes that I have, will more readily and more easily engage with the information and respond to it in a way you intend.
Susan Bratton: So what you’re saying then is I’m going to speak this out loud to process my understanding because I am an auditory subconscious processor. Joseph, we’re like massive geeks. I can’t even imagine anyone might still be listening to this conversation, but I’m having a really good time.
Joseph Carrabis: Good. Good.
Susan Bratton: So what I think is happening here is that you have this way of plotting out people and how they need to both receive and process learn and retain information, commit it to memory. And there may naturally be – I’m guessing this – there may naturally be clusters of certain styles of people who are naturally oriented toward your brand and in that way you can make sure that you provide on your website enough information for these different clusters of your prospects so that they can get what they need from you. You know, you might have these highly visual people and you want to show really detailed images of cars instead of people who are visual in their, you know, theta state where that would be a picture of a fuzzy scene with a car somewhere in it or whatever, right…
Joseph Carrabis: Right.
Susan Bratton: So is that what it is, you’re ultimately clustering groups of people?
Joseph Carrabis: Yes, let me give you an example of that. We worked with a politician, or the candidate in the 2008 cycle. Now producing TV spots is expensive. So one of the things that they had was they produced this TV spot with a voiceover, and the target, they decided the target audience for that TV spot would essentially be New England. And we analyzed it using our tools and we said well the video will also play in the Southeast U.S. and certain other geographies. But the audio needs to be changed for each one. They were already planning to, you know, produce entirely different videos for each location, and we said, “No, no, all you need to do is literally change the voiceover, change the phrasing of a couple of things, put it into essentially local dialects if you will, and you can use the exact same video, not only in the northeast but also in the Southeast, the upper Midwest.” You know, we do that for companies as well, so it’s considerable savings once you understand that there’s the video information, which is not necessarily the same as the audio information, so on and so forth.
Susan Bratton: That goes back to the idea that we all use different words to explain the same concept, depending on our core, our personality, our social situation, etcetera. Okay, I want to move on to some other things, and actually we’re going to have to wrap this soon and go to part two for next week. But I wonder if we can talk about a couple of things. One, there is something in the book you call the handshake. You say that before I can ask you to trust me as a customer I must demonstrate as a brand that I trust you. And the first person to extend their hand is showing a vulnerability, hence a reciprocity around trust. If I’m vulnerable to you I am giving you my vulnerability and asking you to reciprocate by trusting that I’m going to be truthful to you ‘cause I’ve shared this intimacy. My question to you is if we say, “We trust you,” to a customer, “Now you can trust us”, what are some ways that we can communicate that to customers in our email marketing, our social marketing, our websites, etcetera? How do you convey that you trust someone else?
Joseph Carrabis: Interestingly enough when first meeting someone in the real world, not the virtual world, in the real world when we first meet someone if we know we’re going to be meeting somebody for the first time, we tend to dress, I’ll use the term in a very specific way. You know, for example, if I’m meeting somebody for the first time, I have learned through history that my physiology, ‘cause I’m kind of a broad person, can be a little intimidating to people, and my habit of making very direct eye contact. Even the tone of my voice can be intimidating. A lot of people say that I speak with authority, which always cracks me up because, you know, that’s kind of like you think I understand what I’m talking about? You think I believe what I’m talking about? I do research all the time to make sure this stuff is accurate. So anyway, when I know that I’m going to be meeting somebody for the first time, I will personally I will dress so that my size, the breadth of my body is a little bit understated. I will make it a point to, when I meet them, to slouch a bit if they are my size or maybe a little bit smaller, or even if they’re a little bit taller than me I will slouch a bit. This goes back to the primitive aspects of our brain. I’m essentially demonstrating that I’m not a threat. I’ll change the pitch tone of my voice. I’ll change my breathing. Basically I’ll do an awful lot of stuff to make sure they understand that I’m a friend. Same thing happens on the online world. We design for an initial meeting based on who we believe we’re going to be meeting. The simplest most elegant way to do this is to downsize the visual appearance. Doesn’t mean you use smaller pictures; it means you use less pictures. You don’t create a lot of visual distractions. You use simple color schemes, nothing that’s going to cause them to be, you know, “Oh my god.” If the visual center is even you as a very visual person, the visual center is overload with too much information, then the underlying message is lost, even if that underlying message is embedded in the visual system. Of course the other thing that people want to be aware of is if you know for a fact your audience is extremely visual, then embed your visual information, the handshake visually, but again, don’t do it by overwhelming the senses. Do it so that the handshake message comes through. Simple colors, simple pictures, simple imagery, simple fonts. And then very slowly over time you can increase it on a website for example, and I know this drives CSS people nuts. If you have a landing page the majoring of people are coming to, not necessarily your homepage but a landing page, simplify it. Get your message across, but don’t overwhelm people because overwhelm usually means the brain is overloaded and won’t respond properly. Then the second page that they go to, add some flare, add some flash. And also invite them. You want to be friendly, you want to open that hand, you want to give them a good handshake, “Thank you for coming. Oh by the way, would you like to see a flash about what we’re talking about now? Would you like a demo? I’m not going to overwhelm you right now ‘cause I know you’re precious. I know your time is valuable. I value you, and I want to show you that I want to work with you. You want to work with me?” The way they show you that, the way they accept the handshake is they click. They move onto something else. They give you the next piece. Long time ago I wrote some columns for iMedia Connection about the first sale is the next page. This obviously was a while ago, internet time we’re talking about 2005. Whoa, the predawn. But that is an example of a handshake done in an email, in a website, even in some of the best movie. If you look back over the past, well the history of movie making, you’ll see that most of the movies that have lasted through time, have gained importance, cultural significance through time, start simply. And once you are into the movie, could be a matter of 50, 60 seconds, could be a matter of a few minutes, then they begin giving you much, much more visual information. Another example for your listeners, any of your listeners who get our newsletter, The Next Stage of Regular, it’s a very simply laid out newsletter and nine tenths of the images that I use are small, some of them are very comic, all indicating this is fun stuff. At least I believe it’s fun stuff. I hope you do as well.
Susan Bratton: That’s a way to disarm people through humor.
Joseph Carrabis: Yeah. Yup.
Susan Bratton: Mm hmm. Okay, those were helpful. Thank you. That’s much more actionable. This is my last question for part one, and when we go to part two I want to talk about predicting your own future, an exercise that you do that I think is very valuable for people. I want to talk about coinophology. You can correct me when we get there later. I want to talk about social media messaging with meaning, the story crafting concept. And I have lots of other things that I want to talk to you about, including the I think you call them the wise ones, the wise old ones. The old ones, you call them the old ones, our wild life. So to wrap up this episode, you do a series of training classes and workshops, and they all sound so interesting to me. I’d like to attend every single one of them. The one that caught my eye for this segment was Know How Someone Is Thinking In 10 Seconds Or Less. Could you just give us a bit of that before we have to sign off?
Joseph Carrabis: Yes, that’s actually the first class that we give the majority people who want to become certified or what we call Nextstagologists. People who use our tools for other, for their clients, in their practices. And the first part of the training is essentially when people do this, this is what’s happening in their brain when people cross their legs, you know. Some people might call it, what is it, body reading or something like that?
Susan Bratton: Body language.
Joseph Carrabis: Body language, thank you. And it goes, I would like to think it goes quite a bit beyond that, because not only are you paying attention to the body, you’re paying attention to the sounds the person is making, not only speech, but breathing. We’ve trained people, and I’ve done demonstrations, where in a room full of other people you can focus your hearing on an individual to the point where I’ve been able to walk up to people and, you know, suggest they relax, they’re getting a little anxious, their blood pressure’s going up. I do that at conventions a lot. Maybe that’s why people get afraid to have me at conventions. But when you know how somebody is thinking, you know how to communicate to them. You know how to get your message across. A variation of this that I used to teach back in the college days, I taught a women’s practical self-defense course. And people would sign up thinking I was going to teach them how to hit and kick and all that kind of stuff, and no. No. What I taught women to do was how to pay attention to subtle signs that people give off that indicate they, the other person, is having a less than generous or a less than healthy or a less than desirable concept of the woman. And one of the things that I taught women to do was literally if they felt they were being stalked, literally by someone walking with the intent of getting them, grabbing them from behind, I taught women how to subtly change their walking behavior so that the woman started walking like a predator, literally a predator, like a jungle cat or a bear would walk. Something that is literally on the prowl, not just to eat you but to devour you, to destroy you so that you will not escape from the encounter. And one of my great joys was one woman came to me months after the class was over, said she had been in a parking garage and had heard these footsteps and when she stopped the footsteps stopped and when she started they started, and she got very nervous. And she remembered what I had said, so she had done what I had suggested. She started walking like a predator, and all of the sudden she realized the footsteps stopped and ran, and then she heard a door slam and the footsteps on the stairs, the person was running away. Now did the other person suddenly say to themselves, “Oh look, that woman is suddenly walking like a lion” or “a tiger” or “a puma?” Probably not, but their non-conscious queued in that this is not going to be good for them. So that’s how you know how someone’s thinking and you can respond to it. What happens on the other side of that class – ‘cause this is the more important part, and when you spend time learning how the other person thinks, then you must – we encourage this – you must take the time to learn how you think and why you think the way you do. It’s wonderful that you know how that other person thinks and you can do things to understand them better and communicate to them better. Can you use that on yourself? Can you find those parts of you that you no longer like, that you agonize over at night? Can you find them and can you understand how and why you think that way? And use these same tools to take that piece out of yourself, to put a new piece in, to subtly and graciously alter what you do, how you do yourself so that you by your own definitions can be a better you. This is what I wrote about in The Three AM Phone Call on the last That Think You Do blog.
Susan Bratton: Okay, is there any place that we can go to read more about learning how someone else is thinking? What are some of the good resources for a beginner who does want to get a map of other people and leverage that for the good of both people?
Joseph Carrabis: I get that question a lot. And there is a bibliography at the end of Reading Virtual Minds. It’s, I don’t know, six, seven pages. Some of the things in there I admit, are very advanced reading. A lot of the stuff that’s in there is not very advanced reading, the stuff which is blog posts that people have written. One of my favorite sources is a journal called Evolutionary Psychology. The Evolutionary Psychology blog is very accessable. I wouldn’t recommend people read the actual published papers in the journal. I mean they’re free to; it might give you a headache though. But that blog is very accessable. You know, and the best way to learn this, for those of you who don’t want to take a class with us, really the easiest way to do it is to go to a mall and just watch people walking past you. And every time you make a decision about that person, you know, when you say to yourself, “That person’s well to do”, “That person’s not well to do”, “That person’s x, y, z”, question yourself. What made you make that decision? If you’ve been raised in a culture where everyone else is the same, then chances are everyone else makes that same decision. And now you’ve learned how to change that decision, not only for yourself but for others. Knowing how to change that decision means you know how to design for the change.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, I think just getting out of your own world and getting into anyone else’s gives you probably so many clues. Yeah, all right, good. Well Joseph, thank you so much for going through all of this with me. I have a much better standing, although it’s still in the distance for me. I’m not feeling, you know, very confident that I completely understand how you apply your work to the business of communicating marketing messages. I’m going to keep working with it and keep reading what you do, and it’s definitely taken me up to the next level. But what you’re doing, it’s an incredibly complex process, you know, so it’s not the kind of thing where if you’re interested in the neuro economics and you want to understand better how to message people, I think anyone who has gotten a taste of it from our conversation today should just get reading your stuff. So I want to tell everyone how they can find Joseph. He has his Next Stage Irregular newsletter that’s very good. You can go to nextstageevolution.com. You can follow him on Twitter @josephcarrabis. And he also blogs at The Think You Do, which is think.personallifemedia.com. And is there anything else that I, well of course your book, which is Virtual Minds, and this is volume 1, Science and History….
Joseph Carrabis: Reading Virtual Minds.
Susan Bratton: Yes thank you, Reading Virtual Minds. Thank you. Sorry about that.
Joseph Carrabis: That’s okay.
Susan Bratton: In your hands is the power to focus the consumer’s attention, so that’s a good baseline for how he’s conducting this research and applying this information. So I think that’s a good start. Did I miss anything important about how people should find you or interact with you?
Joseph Carrabis: No, that’s pretty good. Somewhere, I wish I could remember where, somewhere is a list of the conferences I’ll be at in 2011, and as Susan will tell you, I can be had for a cheap Scotch and a good cigar so please feel free to come up to me and invite me to the bar, and I will tell you all sorts of interesting things about yourself. How’s that?
Susan Bratton: That’s perfect. All right, well Joseph, thank you so much for coming on today and I’ll look forward to connecting with you next week for part two. This is one of a two part series with Joseph Carrabis. I’m your host, Susan Bratton. Thanks for tuning in today and I look forward to connecting with you next week. Take care.