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Lie To Me? I Saw You Twitch…

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Whatever You Do, Don’t Blink

I don’t watch a lot of tv, mainly because I have a short attention span, and something has to be pretty compelling to catch my interest.  If you haven’t caught an episode of Fox’s new series, “Lie to Me” you probably want to check it out. The show follows Dr. Cal Lightman, a ‘deception expert’ who studies micro expressions and body language to figure out if someone is lying.  The interesting part of this (for me, at least), is that the science underpinning the show is the work of Dr. Paul Ekman, who holds a PhD in clinical psychology and has been studying facial expressions and body movement since 1954.

The show points out that facial expressions are universal, and frequently places photos of the show’s characters, frozen in emotion, next to cultural references making the same gesture or expression to illustrate the point. (The last show pointed out a ‘self comforting gesture’ of holding one’s own hand, with photos of Princess Diana and Michelle Obama.)  Darwin was the first to publish on the topic, in 1872, and Ekman’s work expands on that. The show also points out how expressions can ‘leak out’ without the subject realizing they’ve done it. I’ve spoken with a few different people who thought the observations in the show were so dead on (liars actually maintain eye contact, to watch and see if you believe their lies) that they were uncomfortable watching and turned it off.

Reading Your Clients?

From a real estate perspective, I am always using body language and facial expression to help read a client’s thoughts…it’s easy to see as you show a couple a home if they like it, without ever needing them to say anything. Granted, some folks are tougher to read than others.  I know lots of Realtors who have been trained to recognize and interact with different personality types, so perhaps a brief training in reading microexpressions could be useful too? Dr. Ekman’s company offers a Microexpression Training Tool that claims to teach you to read microexpressions in an hour’s time.  (You can demo the tool on the website, trying to guess on five different expressions. I scored an 80 percent, not bad!)

Although I don’t think that the focus on sniffing out lies is necessarily the most important use of the skill for agents, being able to read microexpressions could probably help you interact and communicate with your clients more effectively. Test out the demo and let me know how you did!

Photo credit

Heather is a Realtor with Century 21 Redwood Realty in Ashburn, Virginia. She's also the 2008 VARBuzz Blog Brawl Champion, mom to four fantastic kids, and the wife of a golf professional. If she had free time, she'd probably read a good book or play golf. You can find her on twitter, @hthrflynn, or writing on her blog, LoCoMusings.com.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    February 10, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Sweet.
    I caught that show blazing through static one night. Very interesting stuff. That lead guy was awesome in Pulp Fiction…but I digress.

    I’m gonna have to follow up on this stuff, fascinating. Daniel Pink touches on this stuff in book “BLINK” too, calls it “think slicing” I think.

    Good work….thanks.

  2. Joel McDonald

    February 10, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I think all of us have certain benchmarks built into our “body language reading skills” & they can be really helpful if we actually pay attention to them…

    Last time I was at an airport, I was delayed for several hours, and I played a little game… I happened to be sitting next to booth with a couple of folks trying to get people to sign up for a credit card & get a free flight. It was fun to watch people’s body language, and predict whether or not they would sign up. Most people’s minds were already made up that they didn’t care what they were selling — they weren’t interested, and it was fun to determine which of those people would sign up for a credit card.

  3. Vicki Moore

    February 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Pretty funny Heather – I just added this show to my DVR for that exact reason.

  4. Lisa Sanderson

    February 10, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    The cultural references are the best part of the show…had me roaring when they showed Nixon and some other favs! Having teenagers, I get a lot of practice reading non-verbal communication…they hate when I figure them out so easily LOL

  5. Austin Smith - Goomzee.com

    February 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Hmmm…I skipped the training and scored a 40% on the demo. Not as good as your post is, Heather, I can see how this would be an integral part of an agent’s tool chest.

  6. BawldGuy

    February 16, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Good stuff, Heather. This is nothing if not NLP by another name. It’s been an arrow in my quiver for a couple decades. Once you’ve figured out the applicable template, you can read folks almost like a book.

    You can take it many steps further by understanding their base of operation — visual, etc. Now I have to figure out how to record yet another show. 🙂 Thanks for the heads up.

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Business Marketing

Tired of “link in bio”? Here is a solution for Instagram linking

(MARKETING) The days of only one link in your Instagram bio are over. Alls.Link not only lets you link more, it gives you options for marketing and analytics too.

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Woman checking Instagram on phone

If you’re like me, you’ve probably swapped out the link in your Instagram bio 100 times. Do I share my website? A link to a product? A recent publication? Well, now you don’t have to choose!

Alls.Link is a subscription-based program that allows you to, among other things, have multiple links in your bio. I’m obsessed with the Instagram add-ons that are helping business owners to expand the platform to further engage their audiences – and this is NEEDED one.

With the basic membership ($8/month), you get up to 10 customizable Biolink Pages with shortened links (and you’ll be able to choose your own backend). You also get access to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your pages. With the basic membership, you will have Alls.Link advertising on your Biolink Page. Plus, you’ll be allotted a total of 10 projects, and Biolink Pages with 20 customizable domains.

With the premium membership ($15/month), you get link scheduling for product drops and article releases, SEO and UTM parameters, and you’ll have the ability to link more socials on the Biolink Page. With this membership, you’re allotted 20 projects and Biolink Pages with 60 customizable domains.

If you’re unsure about whether or not Alls.Link is worth it (or which membership is best for you), there is a free trial option in which you’ll be granted all the premium membership capabilities.

Overall – premium membership or not – I have to say, the background colors and font choices are really fun and will take your Biolink Page to the next level. Alls.Link is definitely a program to consider if your business has a substantial Insta following and you have a lot of external material you want to share with your followers.

The day-by-day statistics are a great tool for knowing what your audience is interested in and what links are getting the most clicks. Also, the ability to incorporate Google Analytics into the mix is a big plus, especially if you’re serious about metrics.

If you have a big team (or manage multiple pages), I would suggest going premium just for the sheer quantity of domains you can customize and link, though there are various other reasons I’d also suggest to do so. Take a look and see what works for you!

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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