Mind Dynamics: What Are Mind Cues?

Mind Cues are triggers that everyone holds on to at a subconscious level. Most people don’t even know that they exist. If you deal with people as a teacher, preacher, counselor, doctor or salesperson – you all should become very familiar with these items. You will be able to gain a better rapport with people or in the case of a salesperson – increase your revenue and closing ratios. These cues, as I mentioned, are very subtle and are stored at the subconscious cellular level. Let’s look at a very strong Mind Cue:

When you were young, most of you have wonderful memories of your mother or grandmother and spending time with her in the kitchen. You can remember all those great times and loving conversations that the two of you had while baking chocolate chip cookies. Now as a grown adult, whenever you enter a shopping mall and walk past the Mrs. Field’s or Nestle’s cookie store and smell those freshly baked chocolate chip cookies – you immediately get a wonderful loving sensation that comes over you; that memory of you with your mother or grandmother all those years ago. This is an example of a Mind Cue that was triggered by the sense of smell. See how these work? Now the opposite could be true too – if bad memories occurred, that same smell would elicit a negative response as you passed the same store.

For everyone that has to speak or present to groups – here is a very powerful cue: When speaking, never and I mean never, raise your hands above the level of your shoulders! Why is that? A large portion of our worldwide society was abused sometime in their childhood. If you raise your hand/arms higher than your shoulders, this triggers a negative Mind Cue of being hit or stuck from back in childhood. This can leave a negative impression of you with the audience members that had a subconscious trigger at that moment. Remember President Clinton? He was a master of this point. He always kept his hands in what was termed the Clinton box – above belly button and below shoulders. You need to do the same when you stand in front of a group.

Here is another one; when speaking to someone, never and again I mean never, point to them with your index finger. Remember as a child all those times that your parents told you how bad you were as they shook that index finger at you? Guess what? You pointing your finger will elicit that same negative Mind Cue trigger as being scolded and your customer now will not buy from you. Always point or gesture to someone with all fingers together and your hand open – as if you were going to shake someone’s hand. This will make sure that you do not activate that ‘pointed finger trigger’.

When meeting or working with a client/customer/patient, never stand up next to them while they are seated in a chair. You need to sit down next to them or kneel to their eye level. Why? Remember when you were a child and your parent would scold you for doing something bad? Typically, you were sitting in a chair and they were standing over the top of you. The physical dynamics of you standing over your client will elicit those same negative emotions of being scolded by a parent and you will lose that sale! This is also a great way for waiters and waitresses to increase your tips – kneel down at the table or sit on an empty chair/booth while taking your customer’s orders. Data was collected in 1991-1992 on a sample of 207 dining parties at a Mexican restaurant and on a sample of 148 dining parties at a Chinese restaurant in Houston, Texas. The servers used a coin toss to randomly determine whether they would stand or squat when first interacting with a table. They also recorded the customers’ experimental condition-bill size and tip size. A waiter at a Mexican restaurant increased his average tip by $1.22 (from 14.9 percent to 17.5 percent of the bill) by squatting down next to the table when introducing himself to his customers. A waitress at a Chinese restaurant increased her average tip by $0.72 (from 12 percent to 15 percent of the bill) by squatting down next to her tables. [We will examine more restaurant applications later in a new program specifically designed for waiters and waitresses].

Do you start to see a pattern? Most all Mind Cues are embedded into our subconscious mind during our formidable childhood years; and most are negative in nature. I hope from these few examples that you can see how important mastering Mind Cues can be for your career.

Mind Cues fall into the category of Nonverbal Communication and Body Language Skills. Some call the nonverbal communication a ‘second conversation’ that is occurring simultaneously with our ‘first’ verbal communication. Depending on which books and research you read, some say the nonverbal is as important as the verbal; while other say that the nonverbal is MORE important than the verbal message. I tend to follow the opinions of the latter group. To me, having studied nonverbal skills and having taught public speaking courses, you need to be very aware of what you are doing in front of a group. Gestures do in fact speak louder than words, because as we have seen here, they are tied directly to the subconscious memory and trigger points.