George E. Marcus, a childhood friend of Peter Guber’s, is now professor of political science at Williams College and has written extensively about the role of unspoken communication in the success and failure of politicians.
After reviewing the careers of modern political candidates in light of recent research in neuroscience, Marcus has concluded that, in fact, most communication between teller and audience is wordless, even unconscious, and leaders who ignore this basic truth tend to fail.
According to Marcus, “the brain knows in 80 milliseconds the gender of a person while we only ‘see’ the person at 500 milliseconds.” We receive this information through a system in the brain that functions as a constant surveillance system, scanning the environment for signs of potential trouble or danger.
In addition to relaying gender, this ancient survival system tells us, as soon as we set eyes on another person, whether that individual is friend or foe, authentic or fake, trustworthy or dangerous.
If we sense the other person is phony or distracted, we’ll automatically put up our defenses, either by tuning out entirely or listening with suspicion. If we see a frown or can’t meet the other person’s gaze, our guard goes up and we feel anxiety, anticipating emotional attack or rejection. But if the other person smiles and looks directly into our eyes, we begin to relax and feel more trusting. Most of this signaling occurs without our even being aware of it. “Intuition,” Marcus says, “is the brain knowing what consciousness later sees.”
MORE ABOUT TELL TO WIN
To validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.