Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

Latest Articles:  Stopping the Black Swan Can You Become a New Person?

The vast majority of people trust their emotions over rational and logical thought.


It matters, because there are a few good reasons… and some terrible that are destined for danger and destruction.

Thursday – Gary calls, “I want to buy an Audi….”

Gary is a consumer price advocate/genius and a good enough stock market picker to have his portfolio outperform mine this year. (!)

“Why would you do that? You have a great car.”

“People in my neighborhood think lower of people who drive Toyota/Honda. Been bugging me for a couple years now.”

“Killing you?”

“Kind of…you know when everyone thinks they’re better than you.” (That’s code for ‘yes.’)

“Screw people. Who cares what they think? I’m not selling my Sequoia for a Lexus. No. Waste of money.” NOW if he buys it, I’ll know just how important it is to him because I hit as hard as he does when it comes to spending money on depreciating “assets.”

“Thanks Kev, I appreciate you.”

Saturday: Phone rings. I hate the phone. “Gary what’s up?”

“I bought the Audi, whatcha think?”

And there is the answer.

“I think for $25 a day you’re going to feel like another million bucks for the next decade. Not to mention your wife will be able to tolerate you for years to come. Good purchase.”

He was surprised and almost speechless. Kevin Hogan is saying this to me?

I tell everyone, EVERYONE, “you deserve to have any ONE or TWO things you want in life, and you CAN have those one or two things. But you aren’t going to get EVERY-THING you want in life because that can’t happen over time in the real world.”

Let me explain:

Gary sent me one of my all time favorite guitars, as a gift, 4 years ago as a congratulations on my divorce gift. He knows if I was playing for a group with something other than my Les Paul, I’d feel weak. No one else knows that, but HE knows it. His gift was an amazing Telecaster. An exact copy of James Burton’s guitar he used all through the 70’s as Elvis’s lead. Very few in existence worldwide. I play it and I feel GREAT.

Lance comes over yesterday and I told her to play me something from her upcoming album. She looks down at my guitars. She can pick ANY of them. There is the Telecaster and it was right next to Les Paul. With elegance and grace she gently set the Les Paul aside. And of course the Les Paul is something every pro has in their arsenal. But almost no one has a beautiful guitar like this Telecaster.

“Oh my god, Kev, this is a f’ing great guitar.”

She held it gently and looked at it for two minutes before she put the strap around her neck. Then she played it and I held my breath. The sound she pulled from the strings was as fabulous as her neo-Nicks voice. She totally dug the guitar. There is an absolute connection that happens when someone you respect is playing something that matters on your guitar. Three people have played this guitar in the last 4 years. 3. I don’t want anyone playing it, to be candid. But Lance is not anyone. I FELT great because a kick butt singer I like, digs my guitar that Gary gave me. That feeling, that meaning matters going forward.

How you FEEL EVERY SINGLE DAY matters.

I play guitar EVERY DAY. I do NOT DRIVE every day or even most days.

Legend Point: Your Gut Instinct can lead you right in contexts like MEANING.

When I’m playing blackjack, thousands of dollars ride on single decisions. Results are instant. Every situation has one and only one correct set of decisions. (Exact bet amount, number of hands to play, hit, stand, split, double)

Confession: About once every four hours of playing (1/800 decisions) I will over rule the math and go with a feeling. It’s an educated feeling. I don’t know a lot of people who have played almost 500,000 hands of casino blackjack and lived to tell about it.


The math is clear. There is one answer: You have 17 and you will stand against any dealer up card. But about once every two years I’ll take a card knowing the math is profoundly against me. It draws the attention of the floor manager. The dealer must announce this kind of play to their manager, “Player hitting hard 17.” Then they have to wait for authorization to allow this insane player decision. She WILL confirm this looking at me seeing that I am signalling for a card so I don’t later claim I didn’t want the card after all I have 17! A simple mis-undersetanding.

“He’s a fricking idiot,” everyone who’s watching me thinks. The floor manager has to come and observe because only a smart cheat, a fool or a seriously good card counter would make this play.  His job is to know which I am.  I remember almost every instance and I drew a card that made a better hand and more than half the time it has. This is not long term replicable.  It’s not smart. I’d shoot anyone I teach the game to if they did the same. But MY GUT was compelled.  And I rarely follow my gut if I’m not an expert. Almost never. It’s too dangerous in any aspect of life.

Very few decisions in life are played out instantly, and immediately judged by others with disdain or amazement. Most people will make crazy gut choices because it feels most like their true self and the fact is no one knows the result of the decision. No one else sees it. You have

Legend Point: When you think you know more than reality, when you are down to a brutally difficult decision you often choose the illogical, irrational choice because the debate in your mind is won by the part of your that FEELS MOST LIKE WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON.

And that is a risky way to live.

September 2018 research conclusion from Sam Maglio, professor of Marketing at U of Toronto says, “Focusing on feelings as opposed to logic in the decision-making process led participants to hold more certain attitudes toward and advocate more strongly for their choices.”

Maglio (who worked with Trady over at Yale on this project) also reported to Emotion, “…focusing on feelings…change behavior, too.”

And dropped a potent thought, gut based decision made in today’s polarized political climate may not be conducive to a functioning democracy.

It appears that focusing on feelings caused people to behave differently and that the attitudes were more likely to stick than those decisions made decisions through rational thought.

Gut decisions are made more often by people who consider themselves to be independent. Obviously believing yourself to be independent isn’t the same as being independent, but the distinction is critical.

People who believe themselves to be independent DO make their decisions by relying on their feelings more than other people.

[Jiewan Hong, Hannah Chang, 2015 Journal of Consumer Research]

One cool study they did found that those who considered themselves “independent thinkers” chose to rent smaller prettier apartments than others who chose to rent functional and more convenient places to live.

If you want your clients to make logical choices you might direct your message toward interdependent thinkers, seemed to be the marketing takeaway.

Emotions in Selling

Let’s look at “feelings” and what they mean in the persuasion process.

The pendulum swings back and forth during the process called oscillation. At each moment in time it’s a slightly different place than it was just a fraction of a second before. And so it goes until it stops…where? Right back in the middle… “I don’t know.” “Maybe.”

The unconscious mind runs off of survival instincts, sometimes with success, sometimes not.

The unconscious mind is very different from the conscious mind. It runs on autopilot. Basically a stimulus/response mechanism that adapts along the way…but slowly. The conscious mind is that “computer”, if you will, that thinks, calculates, and can make a decision. But those decisions come at a cost. The unconscious is often drawn in many different directions, not just one or two and to cut off any option is a threat to the freedom of the being.

(Write that down.)

This will be referred to, by people as, “I have a bad feeling,” “I’m not sure,” “I don’t feel comfortable,” and so on.

Eliminating Choices

Eliminating choices to a human (and many other animals) can be quite an experience. You and I hate to see that freedom say, “goodbye.” And for good reason.

While there are options (escape routes), there is comfort in the status quo. When there is comfort in the status quo (what’s going on today), there is seemingly little reason to change. Many animals hunt other animals with this fundamental principle as the guiding principle. “Let them feel secure, safe, then kill.” Sun Tzu may have even written about it.

People want to “feel good,” and “feel comfortable” so they can live in the illusion that they are “happy,” when of course the delusion will be shattered in short course. There is no relationship between “feeling comfortable” today and long-term happiness. I would suggest the opposite..but…

Is it Ethical to “Close”?

…is going for the “yes” response like going for the “kill?” That seems…so wrong!

And it would be if you were going to kill someone.

Unfortunately, most people perceive every change from the status quo as a threat to their survival, at the unconscious level.

Someone wants to quit smoking cigarettes, for example. Now at the conscious level that is a no-brainer. Lung cancer will chew you up and spit you out. But at the unconscious level, the smoking is behaviorally wired into the brain as an adaptation. Just like overeating. You wonder why so many people that live in poverty are grossly obese? They want to FEEL GOOD and they want the most important choice they have to not be taken away. Think you can change that using conventional thinking? Not likely. It has nothing to do with “sense” or “logic.” Someone’s feelings will challenge all of your persuasive communication and in fact that is just about ALL communication.

Take away the option of smoking, and the being goes nuts inside. Anxiety hits stellar levels. Take away the option of choosing more food and the being once again goes nuts inside.

Feelings are the Muck of Life

They know they shouldn’t FEEL this way, but they do. In Hale Dwoskin’s book, The Sedona Method, he shares Levenson’s tools for letting feelings of fear, anger, shame, resentment and grief …go. Why? Because feelings are the muck of life. They kill the being. They are the unreliable indicators that destroy lives. And when you feel bad AND your life is going to heck, you have a double dose of disaster. Most people really believe they should “trust their feelings.” If you do, you are destined for more than failure in all aspects of your life. You will never persuade or be persuaded of something you currently don’t experience. In other words, you will remain S.Q. for the rest of your life.

What ARE Feelings?

Remember focusing on feelings causes people to make decisions that people feel are most truly representative of themselves.

Feelings are a barometer of the unconscious mind’s past experiences and genetic programming which, more often than not, need to be changed.

Legend point: And when you are attempting to persuade someone, you can bet that the person’s conscious mind will analyze your offer and come up with a fairly quick rational decision followed immediately by a flood of anticipated regret if they decide to do what you ask. So they say yes then they “feel no.”

Now the person doesn’t trust you. And they…think…it’s you! You’re manipulating them. Really?

What Makes People Buy?

Ever see someone buy a $40,000 vehicle right after they quit their job?

Legend Point:  They needed to fill the option void that would likely exist upon further review.

Everyone knows that once you buy it, it’s yours in the car biz. So, they buy today BECAUSE they won’t have the money tomorrow. Makes no sense because sense doesn’t come into play. It’s all instinct and behavioral shaping of the unconscious mind that causes people to FEEL. As soon as they feel STRONGLY, then everything can quickly go to heck, unless something is done and fast.

Remember that the next time someone tells you they don’t “feel right” or “have a bad feeling.”

Here’s the reality principle:

Life: It really is all about persuasion.

People must go up one level from feelings to thought and take control of their lives. Part of that is all about being persuaded (changing) and persuading (causing change).

Remember for that one or two things that cause people to feel “better” EVERY DAY, well you might just want to go for it. BUT if that is not the case… it’s probably worth reconsidering.

Almost every time you open your mouth, you want someone to do something for you.

You want them to say “yes” to you, “no” to the competitor and do business just with you.

You want the girl to go out with you, dump her boyfriend and be eternally devoted to you.

You want the guy to marry you, massage your feet, and bring home the bacon.

You want them to hold the mayo, bring you a fork, and change your $100 bill.

You want them to pick up their clothes, turn the music down and study.

It’s all about persuasion.

I could show you a lot of books that have some pretty funny ideas about what gets people do things. Sometimes they work, sometimes they rarely work, sometimes they just end up making you look…well…dumb.

You have to deal with the feelings. You have to get people’s feelings positively linked to you. Real or illusion, if you have the answer to their problem, the solution to their challenge, you must create positive feelings in that person or you will end up with wider swings of oscillation.

You have to assume that people will feel regret or anticipate the feeling of regret and prepare them for that outcome.

The Decision Pendulum

You absolutely must realize that at any moment people are on the pendulum between the conscious mind response which is probably correct, and their feelings which are probably all over the map trying to “make sense” of your proposal or offer.

You must get commitment and reinforce the person’s decision as a good one.

When you have commitment, in most cultures you have psychological pressures from the inside that almost obligate the person to move forward with what they have agreed to. Hopefully you represent the best product, service, idea…person in the area you excel in. As you become a Master of Influence you truly gain a valuable power that can bring on compliance rapidly in almost all situations.

The Science of Influence is the place to begin. What makes the Science of Influence different from every other program about persuasion? This material is fresh, potent, tested, and has nearly all of what you will discover is new! There is no rehash of past salespeople or scholars.

Science of Influence Master’s Home Study Course (12 CDs)
with Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.

This program is the culmination of years of selling synthesized with five years of academic research into compliance gaining, persuasion and influence. You won’t find a program like this, designed for you, anywhere else.

Find Out More about the Science of Influence or to Order


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