Lessons From Donald Trump To Grow Your Practice
August 18, 2015
by Dan Solin
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Advisors can learn something from Donald Trump, but I want to put that assertion (and the title of this article) in context. I am not referring to his comments regarding illegal immigrants, his suggestion that U.S. Sen. John McCain isn’t a hero or his personal attack on Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly.
My focus is on how Trump’s non-verbal behavior can be emulated to win the trust and confidence of clients and prospects.
Trump “dominated” the debate
Whether Trump “won” the initial Republican debate in Cleveland is open to question, but it’s clear he “dominated” it. This headline from Bloomberg was typical: “Donald Trump Dominates First 2016 Debate.”
How did he do it? His campaign has lacked any substance on policy. Some of his comments have been controversial and offensive to many voters. He also faces a large field of opponents with vast political experience and extensive track records on key issues.
Trump dominates because, consciously or otherwise, he understands the power of non-verbal signals. He stands tall. His gestures are very broad. You often see photos of him with his hands extended from his body, palms facing the audience.
In contrast, the gestures of some of the other candidates during the debate were small and inconsequential.
The power of gestures
Few advisors appreciate the fact that between 60% and 80% of human communication is non-verbal. Consider the impact of that observation. How you gesture may be more important than the substance of what you are trying to convey.
Psychologist Allan Pease, in his book, Body Language: How to Read Others’ Thoughts by Their Gestures, noted that: “Throughout history, the open palm has been associated with truth, honesty, allegiance and submission.”
Trump has this down.
By gesturing widely, with his palms open, he is subliminally conveying a powerful message: I am being totally open and truthful with you. You can believe and trust me.
Other studies have found that gestures make people pay more attention to what you are saying. In short, they are a fundamental component of effective communication.
Taken together, Trump’s gestures have a significant impact. They convey transparency and condition the listener to pay more attention to his message.