If you have nine minutes, and you want to see the most interesting political speech of all time, watch Donald Trump compare Ben Carson to other “pathological” folks such as pedophiles.
Yeah, that happened yesterday.
For those interested in my Master Persuader Filter, look for the following elements of persuasion in Trump’s performance:
1. Repetition. Lots and lots.
2. Visual imagery. Watch how visual he gets. You see movies in your head when Trump talks.
3. Trump so often referred to Carson being in second place that you think it must be true. (Depends what polls you look at.)
4. Association. Trump never calls Carson a pedophile. But he does say pedophiles are incurable, just like “pathological” Carson. You can’t unhear that association.
5. Trump finally showed a card he has been holding back. The most frequent criticism I hear about Trump is that he might be a risky choice to handle the nuclear codes. But evidently he has a 69-year history of never being out of control. (Otherwise you would have heard about it by now.) Compare that to Gentle Ben the serial attacker (according to Carson’s autobiography).
6. Trump is holding off (for now) on the final kill shot. As I already blogged, Carson claims he cured his prostate cancer with a food supplement but went ahead with prostate surgery anyway just to be a role model. At this point in the race I assume Trump prefers Carson to be “crippled” but not killed, to keep the damper on the other challengers in the pack.
7. Presentation skills. Holy cow. Trump has always been good at this game, but he took it up a level with the Iowa speech. I’m a professional speaker, and I was in awe. Watch his body language, his intonations, and his humor. He owned that audience. And he wasn’t reading a teleprompter. I believe this speech will be replayed in college classrooms for years as an example of best practices in persuasion.
8. Trump asks “How stupid are the people of Iowa that they would believe this crap?” or words to that effect. Influencers do not say, “The data is inaccurate.” Influencers say, “Do you want to be a gullible loser?”
Influence is about you, not data.
Remember the famous story about Steve Jobs convincing John Sculley to come work for Apple? Jobs did not describe the pay or the job benefits. He simply asked if Sculley wanted to be a person who changes the world or a person who sells sugar water.
So ask yourself who you want to be. I do that every time I wake up.