We at Tech Essentials were all saddened to learn of the death of David Prowse this week. He was the actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movies—though the character was actually voiced by James Earl Jones. Funny aside: you can watch the scenes where Prowse’s voice was used before they dubbed in the more menacing Darth Vader voice we all know now. Imagine Darth Vader with a Scottish accent!
While I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan in the galaxy, so much from these iconic movies have permeated into everyday life. Everybody has heard the line, “may the force be with you”. One concept we all may know of is that of Jedi mind control where, by summoning the force, you may be able to influence the mind, brain and behavior to achieve a desired outcome. Obi Wan Kenobi famously used such control on some unwitting stormtroopers in the original Star Wars when he waved his hand and declared, “these are not the droids you’re looking for.” This mind control allowed him, Luke and others to escape the empire, and the rest is Star Wars history.
Now what if I told you that you could summon a kind of Jedi mind control of your own? No, you won’t be levitating rocks or convincing people to wash the dishes any time soon, but there are subtle things you can use in this era of web conferencing that can help to gain consensus and greater understanding among those you are speaking with.
For example, think of the science behind a well-timed head nod in virtual video meetings. Unlike in-person team meetings where everyone looks at the speaker, in virtual video meetings, you see all of the faces at once. This provides a massive amount of additional non-verbal cues that your viewers’ brains are subconsciously processing (while they consciously check out your background house decorations). Their minds subconsciously scan the visual surroundings (of the screen tiles) to instinctually decide what to be prepared for — fight or flight, empathetic connection, pleasure, etc.
Another Jedi-mind control adjustment that can bring major benefit: have your team on video while you are presenting your position or recommendation and have them prepared to provide subtle, affirmative (authentic) head nods while you make your main points. And, you should also nod affirmatively when you listen to your audiences’ questions and at key junctures when they speak.
How does this help you? Scientifically, listeners are extraordinarily sensitive to speaker head nods and, during face-to-face conversation (even video-enabled), will mimic your nods. Your head nodding up and down is, in effect, telling yourself that you have confidence in your own thoughts – whether those thoughts are positive or negative.
If your team is nodding, viewers will nod and, assuming they have affinity towards your message, they and the group will become more confident in their affinity for your message and will emotionally favorably connect with your positions. (Richard Petty, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, co-authored a study at Ohio State on this topic.)
A word of caution: your head nods may make your audience heads nod and, if they are negative towards your position, they will become more confident in their opposition. Thus, well-placed head nods are therefore the key to success.
We’ll cover more soft-technology topics interspersed with great actionable tips and insights at our upcoming (free) LegalTech webinar December 10 featuring panelists from The Florida Bar and its practices management expert (Jonathan Israel of LegalFuel), contract and legal entity management platforms (Symfact), document management and document security technologies (NetDocuments and DocsCorp), law practice management (Zola Suite), end user lawyers from small and larger law firms, enterprise application managers at government law departments (US Congress’ Government Accountability Office), certified mail-replacing legal e-notice and e-lien notice legal delivery tips (Self Storage Legal Network) and more. Please note that the Florida Bar has certified this free program for 2 CLE credits.
Now that you have been schooled in the ways of the force, RPost style, you must now promise to only use these powers for good and promise you won’t go to the dark side.