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Chris Parker – Communication, Influence and Persuasion (#60)

How to become a better communicator, teacher, coach, mentor or influencer

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Chris Parker - Communication, Influence and Persuasion | The Black Country Buddhas Podcast | My Home Vitality

Introduction to guest:

Chris Parker is a novelist, poet, biographer, writer of nonfiction, academic, teacher, trainer, career coach, hypnotherapist, martial artist and all-round great guy.

Chris featured on episode #49 of our show when we talked about martial arts, movement, identity and the connection between your mind, body and the planet.

As well as all those vocations, Chris has spent over forty years studying communication and influence, and has been practising meditation since 1976.

In this podcast we have dialogue (not discuss – which will make more sense when you listen to the show) about what Chris has learned across his many years of researching communication and influence.

Enjoy the dialogue!

Contacting Chris:


Silat community: Coming Soon

Online communications business: Coming Soon

The Brain Always Wins: Book

The Brain Always Wins Podcast: Coming Soon

Debris: Poetry book

Monk: Novel

Living in the Moment: The Wisdom of Epiah Khan: A book of wisdom

Key quotes and takeaways from the show:

“An interactive feedback loop that operates as our primary method of exchange.”

The conscious can only hold 7 (+/- 2) bits of information at any one time.

The message includes pace, tone, pitch, body language, words, etc. it’s not just words!

Messenger and message congruence is crucial. “If you don’t regard me as an appropriate, likeable and trustworthy messenger, of a particular message, even if my message is right, you won’t accept it easily.”

How we share our presence through space.

Influence = “influentem” = “Flowing in”. It is where we flow into someone’s awareness and have an effect. Once someone is aware of us, or visa-versa, influence is inevitable – “we cannot not influence once someone is aware of us.”

“The size of the neocortex in a species’ brain is determined to a great extent by the sociability of the species. We have a social brain. We are the most social animals.”

Influence the brain, influence the person.

Communication and influence are emotional before logical and rational.

7 A’s: Attitudes, Attributes, Action, Adaptability, Awareness, (skilled) Attention, Audience Analysis.

Communication loop: Me (6 A’s & emotional state & physical state & clearly defined outcome) → You → Us

Communication always starts with audience analysis. Understand the psychographic of your audience before you give a message. What does the audience need to see and feel and hear and do to make it easy for them to move? “E-motion” – Emotions move us!

Every communication is bespoke.

A great communicator is curious. See people as if for the first time, every time. Treat everyone as if they were from a different planet. Respect = “Respecter” = “to notice with special attention.”

To understand someone, you need to see and hear them with skill. To see the micro expressions and really have empathy. Pattern recognition is key for reading someone and communication (patterns vary from human to human) – then match those patterns with your actions.

“I have to talk in your language, not mine!” “Code switching” – the ability to change your language patterns and phrases to match the language patterns and phrases of the other person. “I show respect by talking in your language.” This is how I cross the communication divide between us.

Chris on magic: “When you watch a great magician, you know they did it, you just don’t know how they did it.”

“If you have something to say, you should know it, otherwise you shouldn’t be there.” You must put the time in during rehearsal. “Have you ever been amazed by a band because they remembered all the words?”

Context is everything. You can’t be fully empathetic in every scenario because that may not be what the listener wants.

“Opening the curtains” technique.

“Put thoughts in the oven.”

“Be the editor of your own thoughts” – exclude “I”.

There is no such thing as “small talk” – that part of the conversation is vitally important.

During the initial conversation, test to make sure you are on the same page by getting the other person to agree with you.

Be brave enough to say you don’t know.

Spiral curriculum – revisiting topics to build understanding.

“What is your best learning state and how do you create it?”

We learn best at beginnings and ends.

“I have to remind them what it is they’ve learned so they can recognise their own learning.”

Demonstration → Explanation → Breakdown.

“The wisdom of the village” – I know it works but I still don’t know the science of it yet.

Tell them what you’re going to do → Do it → Tell them what you’ve done & give them ways to realise the progress that they have made.

Pave the way for the conversation with an overview first (like a contents page in a book) because the brain is a predicting machine. If you haven’t told me where you’re going, I’m second guessing you, which means you’ve lost some of my attention. As a presenter you only want the audience to think and feel what you want them to think and feel, when you want them to think and feel it.

Define the problem → Frame the thinking behind the problem → Communicate the solution → Describe the impact of the solution and how this process impacts on the individual personally.

Identifying the problem accurately is often disregarded and is very difficult. “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes finding the right question to ask, then 5 minutes applying the solution.”

When teaching, we should always work from strengths!

To learn about people – fishing technique 1 – Share some information with them that they don’t expect and see what they do with it.

To learn about people – fishing technique 2 – Tell people a story they’ve already heard and see what they do.

“There is no such thing as repetition” – context and perspective change all the time.

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

We respond to stories because they’re emotional. On their own, facts and figures don’t sell. “Facts and figures should be used to prove the points in your story, a story based on your understanding of your audience, one they can engage with.”

Story – Needs a good beginning, middle and end. Use multi-sensual language (not digital language). Create a mental film for the listener. You can keep bits out if you want the listener to fill in their own perception. The ending should always be the best bit.

“IT’S ABOUT THEM!” – “It isn’t about what I’ve got to say that matters, it’s about what you need to hear that matters.”

“Well packaged honesty.”

Scattergun approach to communication (for large group communication) – share 3 or 4 key points with your audience using slightly different communication patterns each time.

Communication sniper (for 1-2-1 communication) – get to know the person and be precise with the communication patterns used.

“Writing is rewriting.”

On writing and creating – Be the dreamer, the critic and the realist – over and over.

Create a logline (elevator pitch) for your work to identify the core of your message/story/presentation etc. – for a good example, read the logline for Jaws. If you can’t do that, you don’t know your story!

“I need to make you feel, think, say and act in the ways that I want you to, that wouldn’t otherwise have done if I didn’t communicate with you.”

Ethos, Logos, Pathos – Credibility, Logic, Emotion.

“Yes and” (as opposed to “yes but”) is potentially the most powerful phrase for interpersonal and intrapersonal communication. “And” is a building block which facilitates the communication feedback loop, “but” is a wall.

“It’s not the ink, it’s the think.”

“PowerPoint doesn’t suck, you do.”

“The first thing a caveman asked when he saw a sabre tooth tiger was not, how many teeth does it have?” – Start with the big picture before the detail.

Question of the day:

“How should our processes differ when communicating with individuals vs. a group, and how do you build rapport with a group?”

Links to podcast sites:

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The full podcast:

Related episode:

Listen to our first conversation with Chris about martial arts, movement, identity and the connection between your mind, body and the planet.

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Show notes:

  • 04:27 – The Black Country Buddhas Podcast experience.
  • 07:27 – The definition and importance of communication and influence.
  • 21:56 – Preparing a message before communication – The “prewords phase”.
  • 41:10 – Meditation and flow state in communication and advice for public speaking.
  • 46:03 – The importance of influence and communication in business, relationships and medical professions.
  • 51:53 – Context and empathy.
  • 54:21 – A poem from Chris about seeing people you know for the first time.
  • 01:01:40 – Techniques for getting rid of unwanted thoughts and clearing your mind for effective communication.
  • 01:08:06 – The vital importance of pattern recognition, “small talk,” looking and listening in communication.
  • 01:19:40 – How to transfer your knowledge through verbal and non-verbal techniques, and how to learn better.
  • 01:28:25 – The importance of accurately identifying problems and returning to the source.
  • 01:37:33 – “Fishing” techniques and there being no such thing as repetition.
  • 01:46:23 – The importance of story and some tips for good storytelling.
  • 01:52:18 – Weaving stories into serious presentations at work.
  • 01:54:08 – The importance of expertise and how experts need stories.
  • 01:58:27 – Tips for communicating with individuals and groups, and the differences between them.
  • 02:02:07 – How to structure a piece of communication or presentation: How many key points? How long? What flow? What message? Do you know your message?
  • 02:10:43 – Underlying principles of communication.
  • 02:11:50 – Discussion Vs. Dialogue and the two most powerful words for interpersonal and intrapersonal communication.
  • 20:14:15 – The significance of silence and sound, and Chris’ final challenge about seeing people for the first time.
  • 02:17:52 – A few final tips from Shaun on communication.
  • 02:19:25 – Further resources for communication, influence and persuasion.
  • 02:20:09 – Where to find Chris, his online community, his online coaching and his brand-new podcast show.
  • 02:22:28 – Next week’s guest, where to find more from Shaun and our brand-new website.
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