“OK, so why is 2020 the year communication changed?” She was incredulous and unconvinced.”
When you read the explanation below and you don’t go to find a 9 word meme with a stupid photo below the text you will know and will have discovered the first hidden key to the dramatic turning point 2020 is.
Paris France, February 1, 2020″
It was the end of a long day of being tourists getting lost in the rain and cold.
I told Bianca (my fiancee) that I was working on a course in Charisma. I’d had a great trip to Paris. The city has certain infectious vibes. I expected Parisians to be very vivacious and charismatic. They weren’t. They were small town sweet. Hard workers. At least in the area where our apartment was by The Seine. And it was then that I realized my definition of charisma had been lacking. These engaging “small town folks,” talked, listened and were curious for more. Sounds a lot like charisma. My initial “prediction” was right but the answer looked different than I had anticipated.
“You already wrote Irresistible Attraction and it’s a pretty good book, still helpful for people you know. Spend more time on the persuasion books and courses.”
In one way she was right. I.A. is essentially one of the best short reads (250 pages) on attraction that’s ever been written. I had been there and done it.
But it’s not really current because of social media and videotrends that have shifted how the world thinks and feels.
The charisma course is different from anything I’ve done.
And a lot changed in persuasion.
Cialdini’s “Principles of Influence” now at an advertised 7 principles but now also at a practical 4 1/2, is now becoming archaic. It aged well until 2009.
Even my work, still largely applicable, but in the digital world upgrades were not just necessary, they were mandatory in my mind. The 49 Laws of Persuasion I had codified in the last the four years brought us to 62. 62 Laws of Persuasion. 62 is simply too big to deal with in any way other than 24, 25, 26, 27…62. Don’t want that flavor. 62 is so many I didn’t even know how the heck to get them out in a package that wouldn’t work against the book. So here I am with a few …not deleted…but truly diminished laws, largely because of the digital world’s take over of the real world…and over 50 more new laws, including stuff that is SO new it really has only been applied and evaluated in Social Media. It might simply be too big for books and a lot more profitable in course context.
“So you’re going to do a book about Charisma?” I see the amazon page she points to. There’s plenty of marginal books there I’ve read.
No. A course.
“When? This will take your life up for the next six months.”
(She was my fiancee not my wife and we were in Paris, 14,000 miles from her home and 4,000 miles from mine.)
“Look, we go to South America, meet your family, get their blessing come back to Europe and live here until the end of 2020. I do my creative work here.”
She was unconvinced, but fully supportive. My two books on persuasion at this point in 2/20, are literally a couple of months of Kevin Hogan Hours away from being done.
We spent the next few days at The Louvre, The Pantheon on The Seine, etc. et al.
I knew what I wanted to do was get some critical content that would be impossible to say no to.
She didn’t like to talk about it, but the fact was I had spent most of the last two years seeing women from 18 – 35 meeting them online. I hosted so many dinners I literally forgot names but had time to take a few special people to various countries or places in the U.S. that mattered to me. I met almost all of these girls on dating sites and I was out testing all kinds of waters. I was out of a relationship that was mostly positive and one that, early on, I thought was likely to be permanent. So in 2020, I was NOT looking for THAT girl. I was more testing boundaries, mine. What was I afraid of? What did I care about? Could I make myself uncomfortable to experience social anxiety in a context where I am typically very comfortable. After all, young women are more dramatic and traumatic than women over 45. That was the answer there. Under 35 it was. I told my closest friends I had no interest in approaching anyone who had 35 or more birthdays.
I had a testable hypothesis. People for 40 years have told me I’m charismatic, and all kinds of other cool phrases.
Questions. Why don’t people ask questions? What IS there problem. We talked about this. “We are scared of looking foolish.”
We paused and I said, “because we don’t know everything and don’t want to look stupid.”
“But what about other entertainers like musicians. They don’t really ask questions.”
Oh, but they do. You just don’t notice it. Check it out:
‘Are you havin’ a good time?’
‘What’s on that poster honey?’
‘You wanna meet after the show?’
‘Is that as loud as you guys can get?’
Every question is almost pathetic but because they already have a bond with their audience from past shows and their programming their brain with their music for years, they can ask ANYTHING they want and they will turn up the heat in the building.
Singers ask lots of questions in the course of a concert, not including what’s in the songs they are singing themselves. Questions can incite emotions.
“If questions are so important to charisma and songwriters know that why aren’t questions in the titles of songs?”
- Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize??” (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots)
- Explosions in the Sky- “What Do You Go Home To?” (All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone)
- The Apples In Stereo – “Can You Feel It?” (New Magnetic Wonder)
- Bat For Lashes – “What’s a Girl To Do?” (Fur and Gold)
- She & Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”…
You’ll know these too…
- Jimmy Ruffin – ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
- Whitney Houston – ‘How Will I Know?’
- Tubeway Army – ‘Are Friends Electric?
- Dionne Warwick – ‘Do You Know the Way to San Jose?’
- The Beatles – ‘If I Fell…’
- Elvis Presley – ‘Are you Lonesome Tonight?’
- Baha Men – ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?
It goes on and on and on. People just don’t notice. A huge percentage of songs have questions as the title and sometimes they are SO good that they help propel a song to the top of the charts.
“But Kev, that doesn’t really mean that questions make someone charismatic it means that charismatic people use questions.”
I rest my case.
“OK, what about stories.”
Stories. Before we stop talking about music, realize that almost all music is a story. Even scores, you know the music that has no words, tell stories.
It’s funny, because the exception to the rule is THE most covered song of all time. When Paul McCartney wrote ‘Yesterday’ for the Beatles he was making a whole bunch of different points, including the fact that the story in the song does NOT have an ending. Do you know the song?
He’s telling you that yesterday was a really good day. Then there was a change and she left the guy without explaining why. He’s so depressed he starts to believe in yesterday and not the future. And the song STOPS.
5 years after The Beatles split up the song still ticked off John Lennon. “It doesn’t have a bloody ending, it just leaves you hanging.”
“And that’s an open loop right?”
Exactly. There’s a little tickle in the brain that first resonates with everyone but the song leaves you in yesterday, the past and doesn’t reconcile. John was right but he never wrote a similarly structured song. Now ask yourself, “Why don’t people learn to tell GREAT captivating stories which are more powerful than the best music on the planet?” They could get any girl or guy they wanted. forget the age. The business could make almost as much money as it wanted to.
“But Kev, that IS the exception you say and not the rule which means that we haven’t really proven anything, except that an open loop can be provocative and compelling.”
That’s fine. Then at least consider the question in the song, “why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say…” and that’s another open loop which just drives you nuts and causes you to go back and look for the answer again.
Most songs are stories but not all of them. Almost all great songs are great stories.
“Well Kev, not everyone can make a webinar like you can. No one ever taught us how to tell stories. We just talk and hope it doesn’t sound…”
You hope it doesn’t sound stupid….
March 11, Minneapolis
We Uber home from the airport. My Office Manager didn’t want to commit to picking us up because she might be sleeping. That was not a good sign of things to come.
“So you don’t want to pick us up?”
“I don’t want to keep a promise I can’t keep.” (Sounds precisely like something I’d say if the answer was NO WAY but I don’t want hurt feelings.)
I was not happy. It was the beginning of the end of a relationship that was important.
That’s the beginning of a story that is best left untold, but it is a BRILLIANT beginning to a story filled with betrayal, resentment, disgust, sadness, remorse, regret, sadness.
That’s a lot of story elements that EVERYONE will want to read but neither of us will write that story. Instead we both have fodder for a heckuva a good piece of fiction.
Here’s a secret for the day before the world changed: Every single thing you see, feel, touch, hear or taste has a story “behind it” or IS a story in progress. Stories are the lifeblood of life. People are desperate to tell their stories and hear CERTAIN KINDS of stories but no others.
“So you make your course. You have a webinar tonight with England. Record it.”(We’re sitting there in PARIS, falling in LOVE and she’s telling me to DO MY WEBINAR not cancel it. Who is this girl?). “Dissect it like you do everything but this time, find out why people can’t stop listening to you. Why do they want to be with you? Why do they do anything to have dinner with you?”
Two days later the world changes…not just for me…but for the world.
February 2, 2020. Paris, Dinner at a restaurant serving Spanish dishes…40 days of normal life left on planet earth.
Honey not everyone wants to have dinner with me.
“That’s not quite how your history on Facebook reads…”
OK Bianca, people want the PERSON for themselves, for their business, it’s virtually all the same. What has changed looking at everything we’ve talked about.
Legend Point from Wife:
“Everything. You want an answer you research it and find out the truth. Millenials google it and the answer which is carefully drawn from their preferences answers the question differently for me than it is for you. They don’t want to see ANYTHING that does NOT REASSURE them about what they already believe. That’s the biggest change.”
“People don’t think about “news” they think in memes. They believe anything and as soon as they google anything, they find out they were right.”
Except they’re wrong most of the time.
“It depends on what the culture is, but yes, I agree most of the time that’s true.”
Then let’s put a fine point on this. Why do millenials like Gen X’ers like me, like younger people like you?
“Women are worth the problems in general. Look at the last two years in your life. You’ve had at least 50 women to dinner (I almost correct her). Most millenials aren’t as smart, in fact it isn’t even close, as you would say. Most millenials, including boys would much prefer an older person, someone stable as far as money, their place in society, they’ve learned all the hard stuff that millenials don’t even want to read about and most important they want someone to take care of them, because the alternative is we will stay with our Mom’s until we are 30 or even 40. What was a big embarrassment for you when you were young (not working before teenage years) is now considered “child abuse, child labor infringement…”
“Of course, you gave us everything and want to keep us in your house until we are retired. This is your fault.”
Yeah, it’s not my fault. But yeah a lot of Gen-Xers played that hand of cards very poorly. So what is the PROBLEM that I have to solve.
“Older people become millenials by habit too. In other words a 50 year old woman can easily become a 30 year old in a year or two. Doesn’t work, doesn’t have responsibility, doesn’t know how to adapt to life in 2021. Because of you, millenials have not only brought down the definition of a “work week” or “work for a living” to “pay my loans, give me education, free health care and I won’t set your house on fire.”
I was working, they were protesting and whining and complaining. Had they put that much effort in work they would have a bucketful of money today.
“You must teach people how to communicate in 2021. I’ve read all of your stuff. It’s all great but you forget that Millenials already connected on What’s App and Instagram because we are terrified of talking to people in public. That means we’ll have digital babies someday because we’ll never get past a first date or a meeting with human resources. We have no “soft skills” as you say in North America. People fight and argue. If I really don’t like you, including my parents, I just cancel them and move on.”
“The reason everyone loves you aside from the fact that you are good looking is that you make everyone feel good when they meet you.”
“Especially. That’s why it’s not just older men with younger women but older women with younger men. You must have found that in your research.”
Yeah of course, I just didn’t get it all at a gut level.
“Pretty soon the old stereotypes from ancient cultures and current cultures around the world won’t be seen as strange as they have in the last 75 years, but normal as they always have been in history. Older will marry younger.”
Both men and women?
OK, so communication.
“Well you tell me. What’s different in communication.”
Everything. And I mean that. Cialdini’s Principle of Reciprocity is still important for people above 40 but younger? No.
Because no one believes someone under 40 will reciprocate. I believe American’s see that as the Bernie Sanders Cult of Give me X because I live here.
“Let’s say you are right. You usually are. But not always Mr. Hogan.”
Yes honey. Continue.
Almost exactly the same thing.
“The Mona Lisa is not going to be worth as much because of age related differences.”
Forget the Mona Lisa. That’s exceptional, unique.
You’re more likely to buy something and place a higher value on it if you believe it to be scarce or hard to acquire.
“Kev they have a phone. $1000. Maybe $2000. They don’t need a TV, a big house. They don’t HAVE a drivers license because that means they’d have to work to pay for their expenses. Millenials live with parents. Where does scarcity play into that Kevin? It doesn’t. Millenials don’t need to leave. Millenials don’t need to do anything. Your identity grew around the stuff in your house. Not millenials. A millenials identity grows around their social media.”
(That is disturbing) So you are telling me that resource/money motivations are useless.
“Of course not. 3/4 of young millenials probably believe they don’t need a dream, don’t have to work all that hard because the government in South America will take care of them. And don’t forget, all of these “influencers” are selling things to look good. People are so scared of imperfections that they have filters to make their faces-”
-Yeah look like E.T. It’s not attractive.
“But they think it is.”
We live inside of a phone, Kevin. All of our emotions are triggered by something that happens INSIDE of a phone.
“I’ve taught that for a long time.”
Then start understanding it.
March 12, 2020. The Day the Planet Changed
We woke up after sleeping until the 2 year old made noise outside of the bedroom.
“I got it. You sleep.”
I go to Fox News on my computer. I’m shocked. I go to CNN.com and I’m still shocked. She sleeps about 70 more minutes and then I tell her, that we got home in the nick of time. The world is essentially locked down. SHE knew what that meant because it happened in Santiago the year before.
Stuff like this doesn’t happen in the U.S.
“Yes you told me that in Chile, but this is what happens and it will not be over with any time soon. The world just changed for real.”
Everything we had talked about for a month had just been magnified 100 fold.
Now there would be no more social anxiety because everyone would have a mask and stay home. They would wash their hands with 70% alcohol, pay $20 for a 4 pack of toilet paper. They would be out of a job as of today with the exception of those busineses that are like Netflix, delivery services, google, amazon, cable companies, the other 60% of humans in the free world were screwed.
I read everything I could about this virus. It was hard to disemminate truth from fiction, figure out what was happening and make sense of a stock market crashing at warp speed.
“I hope we get to go to Europe soon but if you really think this is going to last for a long time then we’re home. Now we will be connecting with the world in a similar way as before but with one difference.”
Almost all of your communication MUST revolve around THOSE conversations that happen inside of a phone. If you want the millenial to listen to you then you better not just “believe” but KNOW that THEY don’t see life outside of the phone. Think about it. When was the last time a millenial KNOCKED on the door to see if your son was home?
Never happened. And in a way that makes them, on average untrainable for the skills that matter in life. If they can’t knock on a door that’s a scary sign.
“I’m not going that far but Kev, did you see any young couples out today?”
(Tens of thousands of people in Paris last month but now we are in a lock down)
Yeah, but not many. They’re all locked down.
“So teach people how to get my friends to look at someone and then have a conversation that makes them both feel good about each other.”
This isn’t just about dating it’s about business and selling and persuasion.
“And you said the differences between these things are all very small.”
Sounds like me…. you know if this does last more than a few weeks, people are going to be unskilled at face to face communication and they won’t trust other people, especially people who don’t think like they do. That means-
“That means you have to teach people to be liked and then teach those liked people to be able to communicate for both personal reasons and food, water, shelter. Now I wonder if we’ll ever get back to Europe.”