Our guest today: Mark Bowden
Mark Bowden is an expert in human behavior and body language, and creator of TRUTHPLANE™, a communication training company and unique methodology for anyone who has to communicate to an audience with impact. Mark gives keynote speeches worldwide on persuasive verbal and nonverbal language and communication structures to stand out, win trust and profit when you speak.
Some of the topics we’ll discuss during livestream (“you” refers to Mark)
How to host a successful and engaging virtual session (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) from a body language, facilitation, setup and presence perspectives:
– with one other person (podcast interviews, sales calls, or just catching up with someone, etc.)
– with a small group of people (typical company meetings – internal or with clients)
– with a large group of people, such as a webinar (Zoom webinar) – hundreds and sometimes thousands of people
How to influence people through virtual meetings – you talk about “making friends” with those you encounter. What are some of the techniques that work well in a virtual setting?
What are some things that could trigger a negative effect or leave a bitter taste in others?
How to “control” your virtual environment? (And is that even possible?)
What really matters in a business encounter? We are constantly trying to make others say yes or agree with us, or simply “like us” – is that even a good goal to have, or perhaps there’s a better approach?
Have you had an experience where you purposely turn others away? For example, in situations where I identify a call with a prospect that isn’t productive, or perhaps the person isn’t a right fit for the project, what’s a recommended approach to approach without being rude? 🙂
I studied NLP a long time ago and can’t call myself anywhere near an expert. You speak to a few techniques such as mirroring, could you elaborate more on how and if we can translate those techniques in a digital setting?
In person stuff
With life slowly getting back to a new normal, we are moving back towards more in-person settings, and it can feel a little strange, even for me. What are some of things we can practice or pay attention when going back to new or existing social environments?
Perhaps the pandemic has made some people even more defensive of others than they used to be. What can we do to open up others, make them more comfortable in a post-pandemic world?
I picked up your book Truth and Lies, but I’m not quite through the book! You may have mentioned it there, but I’m not 100% how or why you decided to be a body language expert. Love to learn more
This is part of my #30daylive event and challenge between Nov 29 – Dec 28, 2021, where I share tips, tools and strategies learned in the past 7 years working as a content entrepreneur, every day for 30 days. I hope you will drop by as often as you can, for any period of time, ask me anything (AMA) related to content creation and entrepreneurship. Let’s grow together to build more creative and financial freedom all while making a positive impact!
Watch our interview
Day 15 of 30: Mark Bowden: How to be more effective on Zoom and in person with body language #zoom – powered by Happy Scribe
Hello, everyone. This is Fei from Feisworld Media, and I’m very excited. I’ve been telling everybody about this event. I’m here with Mark Bowden, who is a world expert in body language expert, and I absolutely love it. So before we get started, I want to just quickly introduce Mark. I feel like he needs very little introduction given our shared connections, but just in case you’re being exposed to his work for the first time, mark Bowden has been voted the number one body language professional in the world for two years running. So, yes, now it’s a time to sit up straight, even if you are sitting at home. Mark is the founder of communications training company Truth Plane, whose clients include leading business people, politicians, presidents of Fortune 500 companies, and prime ministers of G Seven nations. His highly acclaimed TEDx Talk, an award winning YouTube show, the Behavior Panel, has reached over 20 million viewers, and he’s regularly called upon the media to comment on body language around election news human behavior, including on the Dr. Phil Show. Mark has written four books on body language and behavior, and I download the Kindle version, Truth and Lies, a week ago and absolutely love it.
And there’s so much we want to get into, but you guys will not believe this, especially if you’re on YouTube. I’ve been talking about how to zoom, how to moderate better, all those videos, and I consider myself a little bit of an expert, but Mark is hired by Zoom to conduct more training moderation. I’m just super, super thrilled. Welcome, Mark.
Great to be here. Thanks so much. It’s a real pleasure to be here, especially a pleasure to be in your vibrant home right now. We were talking earlier about this incredible artwork that your mother does, which is just looks stunning from here. I’m sure in the room it’s even more vibrant. So thanks for having me in your home. I appreciate it.
Thank you so much, Mark, for noticing this. Actually, it’s something that we’re going to talk about as part of our discussion today. And I want to just give a shout out to Michael Lucky for introducing thank you. Officially. Thank you so much for being here, Michael. And yeah, so thrilled. So, Mark, we’re going to jump right in, actually, since you mentioned the environment and noticing what’s in my home office. And I’m feeling a little first of all, I was here early for the lifetime, and I ran off to my closet to have to find a jacket because I realized you always dress up for your regular meeting was like, no, I can’t be wearing a hoodie for this.
Well, you know, I want everybody to understand just how important they are to me. And so I’m wearing exactly what I would wear if I came and did a live keynote, a live meeting with you. If I came to your office as a professional, this is what I would be wearing. And so I want to do the same even in that virtual environment, simply so you know that this is just as important to me as if I met one of the leaders of the G Seven if I was working with somebody who’s running a multinational corporation. It doesn’t matter who you are if you’ve shown up live for me right now, and especially because I’m in your home, Faith, and you’re in my home. And we’ve got to make sure that we, I guess, appreciate that boundary of you’ve invited me into your space, I’m around your mother’s artwork. It’s a bit of a familiar relationship, isn’t it? And I want to show you that I respect that, actually.
Now you mention, I realize it does make a really big difference. I know people carry different styles when they sit in front of zoom, but what you mentioned about the consistency of you appearing to a much larger audience, which I’ve seen. You spoke in front of thousands of people. There’s one scenario I can think of in front of tens of thousands of people running naked. We’re going to get into that.
Not quite showing up like that today.
For you, but very serious look. But yet you’re still warm. Your environment is very warm. So I would love to hop right in for people you know know you, Mark, I hear this all the time. People are sometimes taking Zoom calls from their basement from a less ideal situation. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s such a privilege for us to have these home offices, but what are some of the tips that you can give to my audience for them to maybe reconsider decorating their office or making into a more welcoming and more warmer environment?
Yeah. Okay. So let’s go through a few things that I think will make a big, big difference. And listen, before we go into this environment behind me, let me just show you one way to make this environment, the environment of me, a little more easier for you to watch. Haven’t you noticed that I’m going to try and change my camera right now? Haven’t you noticed that there are a whole bunch of meetings that you’re on that look a little bit like this? Has that changed it? Oh, no, it’s not going to change my camera for me, unfortunately. But look, ultimately what happens is you end up looking up people’s noses like this because you’re using the laptop as a laptop. And so you end up kind of this up the nose shop, and you’re looking at the ceiling rather than the area around somebody. So what I want people to do is think about getting their camera at eye level. Often that means getting your waste paper basket like this and pouring out all the content of that and sticking your laptop on top of that. You don’t ever need to worry about the waste paper on the floor because nobody is going to see that.
But ultimately we want to get your camera at eye level so you don’t hide, dominate your audience, be it one or many. Also you want to make sure that they can see more of the environment around you because your nonverbal communication is not just your eye contact, your face, your hands as well, but it’s the premise under which they see you, the framework under which they see you. And what I’m trying to do here is just show you a little bit more of that environment, just let you see some indicators. By the way, you can’t see the whole room here. You saw other parts of the room. You’d see it’s a bit of a disaster over there. It’s certainly a complete disaster on the floor now, but I put this at an angle whereby I can orchestrate a certain area and show you symbols and signals of what’s important to me, what I would say, kind of a value statements. Obviously, books are important. I have logoed up some of this environment as well, so I can have a corporate environment and corporate logos, but still be in my home environment. I totally understand what you say, that there are areas that are private in your home, of course, and you can only do what you can do.
So I understand if you want to use a virtual background, but even so, even if you’re using a virtual background, I wonder, can it be something that indicates to your audience something of your values, something of your personality, rather than it being just kind of a blurred background where they don’t quite know where you are? So try and engage other people by showing them something of the environment that you’re in. Does that make sense, Faye?
Yeah, it absolutely does. I love moving you to the left, the main seat, so we can always blow up your video and people can see more of you even on the live stream too. That makes perfect sense. I also noticed something about like you’re basically taking you’re taking advantage of the longest distance, like that corner behind you and that had the depth view or something like that could somehow just make you look, I think, look a lot better, whereas I feel like it’s more even, right? I’m just in front of a flat wall, more or less.
Well, look, you’ve made the sense of the space that you can, okay? And I love your set up there. We’ve got some light coming in at the side. So rather than light in the background, right, in the background, which would probably your camera wouldn’t know what to focus on. It would focus on the light and turn you into a silhouette. And then you look like you’re part of some witness protection scheme. That’s never a good look in most organizations. But what I love is you’ve got that vibrancy of color and light and those are talking points, you know, don’t notice how we started talking together about your mum and you’re telling me about your mum. I got a lot of your family background, and that’s simply by me noticing something and going, hey, tell me about that. And notice how easy you were about telling me about that background and me understanding some of your values. Because, by the way, you know, your mum did those great pictures, but you don’t have to put them up. But you do, and that’s really important. Yeah. I’m sure if you said to your mum, hey, Mum, these are beautiful pictures, but they’re just not right for my environment.
I’m going to put up something else. She’d go, oh, okay, good, good. But here’s the thing. You choose to put up that artwork in the back, and that means something very important about you and your mother and the history of her and the tradition of that. Clearly, it’s very valuable for you. Now I know that. Now I know how I might be able to connect with you on those values. By the way, Faye, I want to show you something.
So my mum made me this for my 50th birthday.
And it’s a patchwork cushion, obviously, but it’s made out of my old Hawaiian shirt collection. So I used to go to Hawaii every year, and I collect these beautiful Hawaiian shirts. Shows up great on this camera.
Yeah. And so she made that for my 50th birthday for me. So, look, now we’re here in a business situation, but we’re talking about our relationships with our mothers and how incredible they are at art and the craft, and there’s a connection there. Now, if we have met in a faceless Starbucks cafe and had this conversation, do you think we’d ever be connecting in that way?
No way. Yeah. And so what I want people to understand is that, you know, over the last many months, we’ve all had our issues with Zoom, we’ve all had our problems with transferring to that and really getting used to that. But I want everybody to think about the opportunities that this has. We have not talked face to face before, and we’re already in each other’s homes, and we’re already connecting via our parents. What an incredible opportunity that would have happened in no other place and time than this.
Yeah. I mean, to me, Mark, first of all, you’re deep into sort of human connections, body language, and you’re absolutely right pinpointed right away that especially in the past two years, having been an entrepreneur for the past six years, I noticed just in the past two years alone with camera turned on, any clients, any prospects, will immediately ask me about these artworks. And I can’t help but pouring my heart out and to explain to them why it means so much to me. And in fact, yesterday I was telling my producer that before I die, I need to build an art museum for mom. I need to find a home for her legacy. And this is part of my legacy and it’s really serious business. So thank you for noticing and piecing all this for me. Really?
Yeah. Well, look, and I want other people to notice other people’s zoom backgrounds as well. Because here’s what we know about people’s homes. Most people get somewhat of a choice of what goes on around their home. I know, not every choice, but somewhat of a choice, let’s just say. And usually they will choose items to be on display that have significance and value to them. And if you’re the person who can uncover some of that significance and value, you’ll uncover what drives them. You’ll uncover not only what drove them to put that thing on the wall or have that thing in the background, but you’ll uncover the values that drive a whole bunch of other stuff as well. Maybe they’re buying decisions, maybe how they want to be led, maybe what kind of leader they are. Maybe what they see is a great vision for the world or their community. So inquire about their backgrounds, just go, hey. So I’m just curious. I can’t quite see here’s another example actually, Faye, let me do this because I see there’s a whole bunch of books there, but I can’t quite make out the titles. But out of all of those books that are there, Faye, which one has had the most impact on you?
Which one stands out for you out of all of those books? I’m just curious.
Oh, wow, what a great conversation starter. I feel like I have to look at the list and I would say, you know, it’s interesting. I will talk about Michael lucky’s book, the Heart of Transformation. It has had a really significant impact on me because, number one, with full transparency, I’ve been working with Michael for the past two years and this was very special, is very special to him. But his first book to publish, so we went through a lot of, I feel like, emotional, spiritual roller coasters to not know exactly where this is going to go. And so I’ve never really had such an intimate relationship with a book as much as I’ve had with his. And besides, also, Michael is a really good friend as well. But besides that book, I would say I’m giving away like one more book. I would say Superfans by Pad Flynn and meeting him in person. I remember the book cover. I don’t have it handy right now, but it’s like, oh, not followers cross. All followers cross out clients and it says Superfans. And those are the people who are there to purchase everything you ever produce, which I have been a super fan of.
Seth Godin purchased and read every single book and made a ton of friends through his network.
So it works interesting. Okay, so look, just by asking that question, okay, we elicited the relationship that we both have with Michael. Great. And then you go, okay, there’s this superfans thing. And you’re the kind of person who is prepared to go all in on Seth goddamn. Like, yeah, I’ll be all in on the merch and the ideas. Okay. And that helps me understand something about you. Look how quickly I got there via looking at your nonverbal environment and just being innocent and just going, I can’t see what’s back there. What is it? What’s most significant back there? And I could carry on doing this. Actually, Faye, I see those, like, lilies in the background that I’m not so good at being able to tell plant from plant. What are those back there?
I know those are actually artificial. Those are like fake flowers because they don’t need much work. But yeah, it’s so funny. I can’t help but giving you all the details you didn’t necessarily ask for.
Oh, no, I’m doing this because I want people to see just how delighted another human being is when somebody goes, I don’t quite know what that is back there. And you know, what you’re about to do is not only tell me exactly what they are, but tell me the significance of them. So anyway, look, I just stopped you there, Faith. Tell me about tell me about those.
Oh, it’s interesting because my mom, as the artist, we bought the house a year ago, so she kind of put herself on this, like on this track of finding decorus for the house. And a lot of the flowers, fake flowers that you find at regular stores look really fake. And they’re not cheap either. And they’re fake. And we happen to go to this thrift shops and where everything’s donated and they’re super and they’re really, really cheap. And they’re made out of handmade by this woman who has a story, makes all these flowers using silk panels. Once again, so they’re really natural. They look so real on camera, and they need absolutely no maintenance.
Again, connections to your mother, connections to silk. Okay. Another value comes up, which is the idea of the thrift store. Okay, but you want it to be really good quality. He’s going, okay, I don’t want to maybe pay more than I should, but I still want it to be really good and be connected to a value system. But that’s the thing. If you show up or I show up in a faceless environment, then it’s very hard for another human being to connect with us. I have seen people out there and they completely blur the background or they put up a very kind of dry, corporate virtual background in there. And what happens for our instinct is when insufficient data, we default to negatives. So if we can’t see enough, we’re not optimistic, we don’t go, hey, blurred background. I bet it’s all good news. I bet they’ve blurred it because they’re just in such a great environment. They wouldn’t want to offend me by just how well they live. We don’t do that at all. We go they’ve clearly got a problem with where they live. I wonder what’s up with them. They should feel like that I’m an okay person.
I wouldn’t mind I wouldn’t be offensive if they don’t not quite living in the way that they want to be living. Like, we start making up all kinds of stories, not really positive ones. So you’re better off just delivering something of the way you’d like to be seen because otherwise your audience will make up the difference and they will tend to not be optimistic around it. So, look, I got loads of signals around here that hopefully you kind of pick up on, but certainly, hopefully, comfort and warmth and being welcome that I’m here just having a chat with you. Like we might in a cafe or something. I’m just kind of hanging out with you. You might see awards to the side here as well that might make you think, okay, well, maybe he likes winning stuff. Clearly books are important. The little family portrait of the background there, I’ve even got the lights switched on here, which help you understand that somebody’s at home and they’re thinking, it’s warm here.
Yeah, it feels really warm. Even though I know you live in Toronto, I live in Boston. It’s cold.
Yeah, very warm and cozy. You’re not having the winter jacket on, literally. That tiny little bit of warmth, that color, just makes me feel comfortable, that you are comfortable. And I love Mark. I have to share this. This kind of happened relatively recently when I had a phone call with Michael Lucky, who just moved across the country from Connecticut all the way to Portland, Oregon, and I noticed there was a keyboard. I actually felt right behind him. I actually thought it was awkward. I’m like, he never talked about music before. I bet it’s like the previous owner left it there and he doesn’t know what to do with that piece of instrument. And I asked him, and he told me this whole story about how he wanted to learn the piano when he was younger. He really regretted that he didn’t continue. And he wants to pick it up again now. He’s very open about his age. He’s like, in his 50s. He really want to learn how to play music. And I happen to work for and with several Steinway artists, and I put them together with Cosmo Bono in six months of learning.
You not believe, as Cosmo calls me, which he rarely does. He’s like, you will not believe how talented and how dedicated Michael is. He’s able to play all Chopin like FOC music, and it was just so beautiful.
Right. Well, again, you know, without these things in the background or taking the risk to play them, to display them out there, it’s very hard for us to make these connections, and therefore, all we’re left with is the business of the day, the meeting of the day, rather than the connection. And there’s nothing wrong with the business of the day. Like, you got to get stuff done, obviously. But how do you know how to trust people? Now, Fey, now, I know your connection with Art, your connection with your mother, all of those elements, your connection with being all in on somebody. If you find something, you go, I really like this. Like, you’re all in on that. That’s really helpful for me because now I go, well, so what would it be like if we worked more together? Those are the kind of values that I think would be helpful in our work. Without that, my brain is completely at sea. Completely at sea. How do I know how to trust you? What to trust you around? Well, you can kind of say, hey, go and look at my website, or go and talk to a customer of mine, or whatever, but it isn’t like feeling the connection for yourself.
So well done for taking the risk of the fake flowers.
Oh, thank you. I have so many followup questions because you triggered another thought in my mind about getting to know me as someone who goes all in, which I do. And so, for instance, I hate to use the word promote, but I really wanted to share today’s conversation knowing that everybody is super busy, especially on Mondays, that a lot of people ended up tuning in to these segments after we’ve gone live. But if you’re watching this live right now, I know some of you guys are please leave us. Any questions or no silly questions. It’s such a rare opportunity to have Mark on, so I decided to share across share about you, your work on my social media channels. I sent it across my email list. I have about 2100 people there, which is a lot for me, and I shared it in my YouTube community as well. There’s a community tab. As you know, you’re also a YouTuber. And for me, I actually thought for a second to say, like, okay, I’m sort of taking a risk here, too. What if people don’t like Mark, which I know everybody loves you. What if Mark doesn’t show up?
Because we changed this meeting a couple of times. But I feel like, you know what? Once I’m committed, I’m all in, and it’s okay. Like, frankly, I had a backup plan in case Julie says, oh, I can’t make it anymore. He’s running late. All right, I’m just going to go live by myself. But that’s kind of how I see the world, which is one thing that I heard from multiple people about the fact that you are someone you commit fully and you don’t have a plan for necessarily everything, which is totally counterintuitive for the world that we live in today. Everything’s goal oriented. Everything has to have a specific outcome, but you’re more relaxed about it. Also, I kind of want to welcome your thoughts on that.
Yeah. So first of all, I have never not made it. Not making it. Number one is you have to be there. If you say you’re going to be there, you’re going to be there. Okay, so then I arrive. I always arrive. I’m always there before, I’m always there now. Yeah, I’m not good like some other people I know about having really kind of good, crisp goals and going like, this is what I want to achieve. I’m kind of good if it’s a numerical goal. For example, with this YouTube award over here, that was for 100,000 viewers. And so with the work that we’re doing on YouTube at the moment, with the behavior panel, it’s tricky to work out the goal other than, well, let’s get a million subscribers and then we’ll get a gold one. Now, what are we going to do to do that? I don’t know. I mean, we’ll work that out as we go along, but there’s the goal. I’m pretty good at numerical goals. Now, within that, for me, there is the importance and the value of how you’re going to do that. And that I have got very set in that all I ever try to do now is show up and be helpful.
That’s it. That’s it. So all I’m trying to do right now is just be helpful for people so that if we go away from this conversation and some people go, yeah, I didn’t like it, I didn’t like him, I didn’t like what he was saying. All I’ll ever do is go, oh, that’s a shame, because I was trying to be really helpful. There was nothing else going on other than I was trying to be helpful. And if it didn’t help them, nothing I can really do about that. So that’s what I’m trying to achieve. And certainly with clients that I have, when they go, hey, you know, the client just now in financial services who are launching their business, they’re kind of relaunching their business and they want to grow and grow and grow. And they were going, hey, we think we’re going to get the might of our marketing department on to making video, and we’ll walk people around the office and show them the team. And it was like, all right, okay, well, how’s that going to help anybody with the problem that they have? How’s that going to help? Why not just make some videos where you just deal with for free the most important problems that people who should be your customers and clients have?
Just why not start the work immediately? Which is kind of what I’m trying to do here with the audience that are watching this is help immediately and not go, oh, well, actually, for the answer to that, you’d really need to look in my book and you need to go, and buy that. No, it’s just I’ll give it away here and be helpful. And if you’re a client down the road, that’s great. And if you’re not, that’s great. I don’t really mind. If I’m helpful, that’s great. And if I’m not, that’s okay as well. But certainly all that’s on my mind is, can I just help as much as possible? And then I can walk away going, well, I did what I wanted to do, which was try and be helpful there.
I love it because I think that’s really ultimately why you are very, very successful at what you do. It’s not so much outbound marketing and sales, but people come to you because of the charisma, the willingness and transparency of your content. They are already being helped by, once again, for people who wouldn’t see this earlier, I watch your three minute video. I mean, literally. Turns out we both know Dan. And I didn’t know I knew him until my partner told me about it. But I watch your three minute video sitting in a hotel room, and you talked about this thing. And then this was eye opening, which I’ll review why in a second about facilitating these 5000 person webinars. And the organizer and myself, we’ve been looking for the solution forever. So when I saw it, and I wasn’t thinking about like, oh, how can I save $70? Or trying to recreate this piece of plastic myself, I trust Mark and he’s using it as an international speaker and that’s great. I got Logitech brio as soon as that’s done. You didn’t I noticed you didn’t go, like, affiliate link, click here, do that. It’s like, there you go.
The brio on a plexicam. No, absolutely. And Dan was so dan at Plexicam. And, you know, I just want to let people know I don’t have shares in the company. I don’t have any affiliate links. The only reason I’m showing you Plexicam is that it’s brilliant that’s the only reason, is that if you get one, you’ll be better off than if you didn’t get one. Now, I’m always trying to be helpful when I talk about Plexigam. So, you know, I show people show people my Brio on a Plexi cam and, you know, let them know how you can now look through to the screen and the middle of your screen, and I say every time, look, if you’re handy with Plexiglas, make one of your own. And I do often say, I started off thinking about this idea, and I was using a coat hanger, you know, and then I saw dad had done one with Plexiglas. I was that’s brilliant. That’s much better than my my coat hanger idea that was scratching up my screen and all kinds of stuff. Like, Dan had a better idea, but look, nobody has to go and buy Dan’s Plexicam.
You can stalk something out of a coat hanger. It’s just easier in my mind, it’s easier if you. Go and buy the thing because it’s only a few dollars and it works a treat. Again, I don’t need affiliate links for that because I’ve already got the value out of being helpful. That’s the thing. And like, you see FA, you know, you go and get one yourself and you go, oh, yeah, Mark was right. So it probably means if I give you some more advice or help, you’ll probably take that as well. So we go down a road of you trusting me and trusting that I have your best interests in mind.
Absolutely. And with that said, I know some people here are really eager to learn some of the tactics that you have shared, communicated on various channels, for sure. So speaking of Plexigam, I actually have I would like to always improve the way that I present host moderate on these zoom sessions. Granted, I think I would say most of us are using zoom, like 90% of the times. And then the other 10% Microsoft teams or Google me, it doesn’t matter what you use. But Mark, lately I’ve been hosting every other month these super, uber massive sessions. As a moderator, I don’t get to see any of the attendees. I see their comments at the most. And then on top of that, I’ll be very transparent to say because of some of these people are very prolific and, you know, Steve Wozniak and then also Mark Randolph from Netflix. So some of the questions are scripted, which frankly, makes it a little more challenging because I am also the go with a flow type of person. And that’s why Plexigam is able to allow me to see the script while I can kind of freestyle part of it.
But I would love to be able to engage with people more. I want them to feel my presence as if I’m in the same room with them. What are some of the advice, perhaps you have for these much larger meeting audience where I don’t really get to engage and I don’t even know how much I’m influencing them until I get the survey. And by the way, the results are great, but I’m still here to learn.
Yeah. So on those kinds of events, is there some way you can connect with the audience via text or anything like that or just like no way at all?
Yes. Since I’m moderating it in this case, thank you for breaking it down, because some people in some cases will be able to interact with them, but since I’m the moderator with the guests, I won’t be able to really interact with them. So the only presence I have is just sort of just me on stage. But even, I think worse than TEDx, right? Or Ted Talk, where I can still sort of see the front row and pinpoint certain things. I’m unable to do that. So I wonder how I can be more natural and just engaging. Like, I’m really there, not reading off a script.
Yeah. So what I want you to think about is what I’m doing right now, which is, every now and again, I, like, lean right into the camera, and I look right down the camera, and I lower my voice because it’s closer to my mic, which is right in front of me here. And what I do is get the sense of being even more intimate with you. Okay? Now, remember, if we were doing this as to live in the same geographical location to thousands of people, I would be right back here, right back here somewhere, talking on a big stage, gesturing in a big way, and that might be big and grand, and I maybe have big images up to the side of me there, but the intimacy has been lost. I’m somewhat in the darkness back here as well, and I want you to notice what happens as I tiptoe through the garbage now that I threw on the floor. But as I get more proximity with you, notice the relationship that you start to feel. Now, I know you like it for me, you’re like a little square down here. So it’s rather like I’ve got to remember that you’re there, and I got to remember that I’m talking directly to you, the individual.
So I’ve not got to think about a big audience out there. I’ve got to think about individuals. I’ve got to think about you. So I’ll say the word, you along, or rather than you all so what you are thinking or maybe thinking right now. And one way to make sure that I connect in some way with the idea idea of a human being is to have this here, and I place that just close to my camera. The moment is just kind of underneath. What it means is I’m looking right down the lens, but I can still see that smiley face just down, and it just keeps reminding me that there’s another human being there, essentially. So, again, you’ve got to keep the intimate connection with the audience. They’ll feel it, and you feel it for yourself. I mean, this already feels really quite almost secret between you and me, though many, many, many people could be watching right now. This feels quite secret and intimate between us. Well, I hope that’s helpful for you.
Oh, it’s very, very helpful. And I notice that you’re leaning in. There are a lot of techniques. I know it comes very natural to you, but for people who are watching now or later, it definitely takes practice. And I think it’s important to not overjudge ourselves and how we look, how we sound on camera necessarily right away. But I love how, Mark, you’re always animated, and you’re fun. You’re fun to look at. And most people are just sitting there with no emotion, no gesture, but you’re always pointing. You’re running around the zoom, which makes the experience just so much more engaging and relaxing. So, yeah, thank you for that. So I know that the scenario that I was describing, for me, that happens every other month, which, frankly, I feel like I need more practice, because every time I go in, I feel like it’s something new. And now I know exactly what to do. Now we have a lot of people watching this. They’re in more normal meetings. It’s them, maybe one other person. I love the one other person meeting, but sometimes it’s just even two, three, four other people up to a group of maybe ten people are normal for people stand ups, virtual meetings.
And, you know, like, it’s hard sometimes for people, especially for the hosts, perhaps to help everybody, to activate them, to keep them energized, to keep them engaged. What are some of the advice that you may have for these mundane, like, everyday zoom virtual sessions?
Yeah, so, look, I mean, people are doing many, many meetings a day. It’s exhausting for all kinds of reasons that we could go into psychologically as to why it’s so exhausting. But ultimately, what we need is some kind of zoom stamina, essentially. So how do you build that zoom stamina? Well, one of the things, if you feel there isn’t a social connection, it’s harder work for everybody. So can you ask for that social connection up front? Because that’s easier for the brain. The brain gets upset if it feels it’s not connected with other human beings, especially if it feels that it’s being judged and judged harshly and isn’t getting any feedback. So here’s what I do on meetings to one people or many, is when I show up and I see lots of dark screens there and just somebody’s initials, I go, So, look, here’s what I’ve noticed about virtual meetings. If I can see you and you can see me, this meeting goes much quicker. We’re going to understand each other so much better, and you can get exactly what you need from me almost immediately. So what do you want to do about that?
And then what I notice is we get more people coming up, because I haven’t told them they need to put their camera on, but I’ve made them a deal. If I can see you and you can see me, the meeting goes much quicker. Nobody was at the meeting going, I want it to be interminably long. They’re going, Well, I hope this is relatively fast. We understand each other so much better. Nobody’s there going, Well, I want it to be misunderstood. And if I say, you can get exactly what you need from me almost immediately, it suggests that there is some value here to let people know that it’s more advantageous for you to be able to see each other. And that way, and there’s a benefit to it that way, you’re more likely to see them engage in the environment around them. And if you can’t see the environment, ask questions about people’s environment. So a good question is where are you in the world right now? If you don’t know this person already, you don’t know where they are. Find out where they are because you might be able to connect very quickly around the geographic location or what’s happening in the weather system there at the time.
Just connect that you are a human being that knows other geographic locations, knows weather systems, understands that it’s a sunny day for you. I’ve had sunny days as well. We do get sun in Canada now and again, even in the winter. Quite a bright day out there. So just find ways to connect again that will build up your zoom. Stamina what causes fatigue is being is antisocial behavior, okay? Which would be ultimately you can’t see anybody and they’re just voyeurs. They are passive consumers, not active contributors. You need to help other people in the meeting, give them space to be active contributors because otherwise they’ll be passive consumers and they’ll just consume and consume and consume and consume and then leave and you won’t know whether you did anything that was valuable or not. And that’s antisocial. When somebody just takes stuff and doesn’t say, hey, thanks very much, that was kind of useful because of this, that’s an antisocial behavior, okay? So help them out of that because this environment can easily create antisocial behavior. The other antisocial behavior is you looking at yourself all the time. That’s a little bit tricky. Now I often need to be able to see myself out the corner of my eye to know am I in frame or not?
But really what I’m going to do is take my smiley face right now and I’m going to stick that smiley face over the top of my image right now so I can’t see myself anymore. All I can do now is focus on that camera and I’ve now got another instead of me, I’ve got a little smiley face over here as well that’s already relaxed a part of my brain which is constantly going, are you in frame? Are you in frame? Are you gesturing? Are you animating the frame? I can now relax from that a little bit now it’s maybe calmed down my personality a little bit, but probably about time. Gives me a bit of a rest. So look, think of all the things that might be considered antisocial and try and set up a situation where you’re less likely to be antisocial and more likely to be social. Hope that makes sense to you?
Faith yeah, it does. Absolutely. You mentioned to create an environment that’s positive and help people open up. Are there certain techniques or questions perhaps to open people up a little bit more, asking them a question and actually wait for it? There’s one exercise I tried counting down. Instead of trying to answer anything ahead of time for anyone else, actually wait for the answer, even 5 seconds could feel like a really long time. But do you think creating that space on Zoom is possible and helpful?
Yeah, I mean, finding time to ask them questions and get answers from them if you use hierarchical questions. So questions that cause their brain to go, okay, I’ve got to work out the best or the smallest or the biggest or the most lively or.
Know, so I could ask you a hierarchical question. Out of all your mum’s art that you have, Faye, what for you is the most significant piece? The one that you look at and go, that is the one I would have over. Anything else?
It’s really hard, right? It’s very challenging for me to answer that question. I think I do like them all.
I know it’s easy to like them all, but if you were forced to pick, which one would it be?
I think, oh, wow, I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that, actually. Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s always something that she’s maybe currently working on, and it just opens up all the whole new possibilities, like I’m always done, by the fact that she doesn’t run out of any ideas and just dreaming these things up out of the blue.
Notice what happened in that question is you couldn’t find any. You couldn’t find but I went again, went, oh, pick, pick, pick. I can’t pick, I can’t pick. And then you went, it’s whatever she’s working on at the time, and you found something there. Okay. And something happened about the value system around that. Still at her amazing age, she is still creating stuff, still making stuff. And so it struck me there’s a big value in that for you. A huge value in that for you. But the key there was to stick to the question, because I could have immediately gone, oh, no, it’s okay. Well, here’s a better question then, right? Rather than going, no, I’m going to stick to this question. So you have to get used in this environment, in fact, in any environment where you’re asking great questions, you have to get used to hanging in there and not filling in the space for the other person because you get worried about them as the answer. And you force them into a question, you force them into making choice because the brain likes to create hierarchy. Notice how hard your brain work to try and go, I’ve been asked for a hierarchy.
I’ve got to do it, I’ve got to do it, I can’t do it. I’ve come up with something. It’s the most recent thing. It’s the thing that she’s doing right now. You’ll find an answer and that answer will have some real value to it. You gotta kind of force your audience, put more effort in yourself to forcing them into being more active around their participation. It would be so easy, and I could do it in that you get me on a call like this and basically I can talk to myself for hours. And so again, I need to be constantly aware of going, get back to Fae, get another question for Fae, get other people involved. Otherwise it’s kind of antisocial. It’s just me talking at myself for a long, long time. And I do that internally anyway. Parts of my brain have conversations with itself all the time anyway. That’s a decent answer for you, Faith.
I love it. I love it because I know that we don’t have instant. I’m sure you hear this all the time. It’s very, very easy and relaxing to talk to you. It’s strange in a way that because I’m consuming so much, learning so much, and have to reflect and will continue to do so beyond this call. Yet I feel very at ease and I’m very relaxed, which is not often the feeling I get while learning. And it’s unfortunately, there are a lot of problems in our educational systems that put so much pressure on kids so that they can’t even enjoy some of the really important things that they’re learning. But I gotta make sure that I let you go within ten minutes or less. I would love to learn about your experience of the ability to run naked in front of, I don’t know, is it 30 or 60,000 people?
Well, so if anybody’s out there going, what on earth is Face talking about? All you need to do is to Google Nike streaker, nike streaker and you’ll find me there. So yeah, that was an ad that I did for Nike shocks. I can’t remember what year it was. It was the year that Nike shocks came out. There’s probably some shoe aficionados out there who know the exact date of that, but we filmed that at Millwall Football Club. I think we had maybe about 20, maybe 15, 20,000 people maybe in each and a go, and they would be moved around and other spectators CGI’d in computer graphics later on. But yes, it was four days of filming in front of still a very large crowd of people running around completely naked, other than some Nike shocks.
Oh, I didn’t realize that you were actually wearing the shoes.
I’m actually wearing the shoes, yeah. You wouldn’t want to do that barefoot.
Well, that’s interesting. I was trying to say, like, who got cast? I mean, you clearly got casted for the role. Was it like any competition? Were there like a line of naked men, like, competing for that spot in London?
There’s always a line of naked men somewhere. Well, I was already quite known for this area of physical performance, of being able to demonstrate, create a feeling, an idea, with my movement. I’ve been in visual theater for many. Many years. So I would have been part of a list of people. Hopefully not massively long. That literally not a lineup of just naked people. A lineup of very specific naked people who could create what I create there. Which is really the idea I’m talking with is Frank Budgen. Who directed it. The most awarded ad director at the time. Extraordinary director. And what we talked about was, how do we create this idea of being totally free? How can we get this idea of complete freedom? Even when you’re being chased down by the police and you’re in such a massive crowd? That would be such kind of social risk if you’re naked and football players and what would freedom really look like? I mean, the idea of streaking was already there, but then they’re streaking and they’re streaking, and hopefully what you see there is the epitome of the greatest streaker ever. That was the idea.
What would be because that moment of running naked in front of a crowd is that moment of, like, I just don’t care, I’m outside of society, I’m completely free around this. But you’ve got to create that in a few seconds that people must already know what an amazing streaker this is. The best streaker ever. So that’s how I got the role. I was part of a group of people who could do that and had a conversation with the director and he went, yeah, let’s do this one.
That’s amazing. I mean, I probably was like around early 2000 to 2003 when the shoe came out, and I remember watching, thanks to Michael, who actually sent me the video. I was trying to watch it and I realized it was like a four x three orientation. It was a little pixelated, so wasn’t super clear. But did you have any fear then or now to say, oh, my God, with a 4K camera, the six K camera these days, are you at any moment concerned about what the level of details people are seeing or it’s not really a big deal to you?
Well, in the final edit, they had to pixelate it or it wouldn’t get broadcast on US TV. I mean, there may be all kinds of footage out there, but it certainly hasn’t made the internet at this point. We were shooting. Yes, at the time there was no such thing as 4K, but he had hired the channel for outside broadcast team to do the shooting on it much better quality cameras than they’d normally be using. But ultimately he’d used people who were used to following football matches. That was their job for live terrestrial TV in the UK. Yeah. The thing is, when you’re running naked around a football pitch, you’re more worried about sharp objects than anything. When you’re being chased by stunt guys dressed up as police officers who you’ve said, look, just go for the tackle. Just try and get me down. I will try and escape you. Just try and get me down. You just try and take me down. And of course, they do. A lot of the time, so many, many takes were me hitting the ground hard.
Yeah. And I would do that for a few minutes and then go, okay, I’m getting very cold, I can’t run anymore. And then I’d have to go in. They had a masser who would get my legs back and moving and try and take away some of the bruising that was now happening around my body every time I’m taken down or I jump over a fence and I don’t manage to make it, and I hit the concrete and all of that kind of stuff happening. And over four days, you just do your best and then get your body back into the shape and go on again. But I do remember after four days, I came back home, sat in a warm bath, and basically went into shock. At that point, the adrenaline had gone down, and it was then the body was like, what have you now gone and done to yourself?
Speaking of feminine, so funny, I was.
A lot thinner by day four, believe me.
A lot of white by day four.
Lovely. Thank you so much for sharing this, because I don’t think I’ve heard the story in full length anywhere else on YouTube during my research. So you revealed Visuals Theater, and I think that would be my last question, which is I was going to say, I wonder what Mark’s origin story is going to be. Why did he choose NLP? Neuro Linguistic Programming and Mirroring and the Body Language? It just seems like, what is the perfect transition and that has lend itself to so many opportunities, including working with Zoom. But I was just like, Where did all this come from that you just picked this or yeah, well, I just.
Really fell into it. I was involved in, first of all, visual art, how you tell stories with pictures, and then how you tell stories with moving pictures. Got really, really good at that, really good at helping other people do that. And at the start, that was in the theater, film and TV context, and then people in PR started to come to me in London and go, can you do that with our clients? And these were people in business and politics. And so I started working in business and politics with what are the environments and the human maneuvers that we can set up in order to convince the camera and therefore the public of, you know, a certain outcome, a certain to influence and persuade. And I got very good at that within the theater, film and TV context. And really, business and politics weren’t very far ahead in that at all. There was really nobody who knew what I knew was doing what I was doing in the world of entertainment that had ever moved, bought that, only nobody was really doing what I was doing in entertainment at the level that I was doing it.
And then taking that into business and politics was a whole other step. Once I took my work to there. And where I am right now, there really was when I started, there really was nobody who knew what I knew in the field that I was in. So it was pretty unique. That’s why in the world of body language, when I wrote my first book, winning Body Language, or is it over here somewhere, this book here, the information that was in this had never been written down before. The techniques here were word of mouth, actually going all the way back to ancient Greece. Never been written down within theater and visualize been passed down visually, ultimately. And in the stories of theater, which, of course, as you probably understand, the Greek theater was ultimately a political propaganda. It was a political manipulation. So everything was thick really quite nicely. And I had something very unique. So to an extent, I’m not sure I picked it. It kind of picked me, or I kind of floated to the top on that, maybe.
That sounds really interesting. And as you’re revealing all of this, I’m thinking it makes so much sense because my love for multimedia. But I also have interviewed so many Cirque du Soleil and circus artists from Seven Fingers from worldwide. And it’s incredible. Even I’d recently watched Cirque du Soleil’s documentary and it’s describing there’s some parallels to what you just said, communicating a story in their world of fantasy, but it’s not completely removed from reality. And it’s just so fascinating.
I trained a lot of people who work with Cirque du Soleil and a lot of friends who were in shows as well. Yeah. So the connection is, when I first started off in visual theater, we had early visions of circus without animals. And therefore, because the great thing about circus and animals is the implicit danger of it and keeping that danger within the ring and within that tight ring. And the audience, their fear that the danger will come out of the ring. I mean, it’s only the clowns that ever get to pass that barrier. And we started thinking about because we already knew the days of animals in entertainment are going to disappear and disappear for some very good reasons. And so we started going, what could we have instead that’s dangerous? And thinking, well, just big machinery. There’s two circus with diggers and chainsaws and stuff that people would feel is where do we get that animal danger, essentially. And then Circus Solid came in, and it had some elements of that danger, but almost what it replaced it with was an aesthetic around a beauty, just a delight, an incredible imagination and almost danger of taking yourself into that totally big imaginative world.
So I love circus solace.
Unbelievable. There are so many shared experiences there. Oh, my goodness. We have to talk about it for the Montreal’s Completely Circus Week in July or something. I went there for, like, watch, like, 15 shows in a row. I recommend to anyone anywhere. So I want to respect your time, Mark, and thank you so much for joining me today. And, yeah, is there anything that you want to leave our audience with before we head off or before we end the stream?
No, just look, if you found this useful, you found this helpful. Link in with me. I sit around answering questions all day, every day, linking in with people. You’re very welcome to carry on this conversation with me via LinkedIn. You’ll find me there.
Amazing. Awesome. All right, I’m going to end the stream now. And, Mark, don’t go anywhere just yet, all right? Thanks again for watching, everyone.
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