What is the missing puzzle piece to telling stories and getting more of what you want?

This lesson is a critical skill that can make a world of difference if you take the time to master it.

I recently held a boot camp in which I taught nested loops. Afterwards, a student came up to me and asked why I had not taught nested loops. The answer... I did not know how to make the concept clear and easy enough to allow people to use it in the real world..
After much thought, my hope is that this explanation is clear enough that you can take this very powerful method of unconscious installation and use it... now.
Unconscious installation is presenting suggestions and information to your subject that your subject is unaware of and perhaps even later amazed to find out that they have carried out what you instructed.
The reason that I always viewed nested loops as difficult to teach is the careful planning that is needed as you begin to learn how to communicate in this way. Even in my live boot camps, students will understand it in class; but they will not put in the time to master the skill when they leave the boot camp. I urge you to really put some time into this. The benefits you will have for the rest of your life will far outweigh the small amount of time you spend mastering nested loops now.
Your unconscious is compelled to make sense out of all the information it receives. In other words, your unconscious needs to add meaning to what you are experiencing. Furthermore, your unconscious has a need to close any unfinished idea or experience (or "loop"), and it is able to follow many "loops" at any one time.
Creating a loop is very easy, because it is nothing more than storytelling. Are you a good story teller?

Let’s see...

  1. Do you capture your subject’s attention? If you do not, the loop is closed right then and there. When you lose your subject’s attention, their mind has shut down. You must capture their attention.
  2. Can you “move” your subject emotionally? Nested loops can connect emotional states. By connecting these emotional states, you can lead your subject in the direction that you choose. A great conversational should be  to direct your subject’s thoughts.
  3. And most important of all... You embed information and suggestions inside these stories (loops). What happens is when each story (loop) is closed (completed), the information and suggestions collapse into your listener's unconscious. This creates amnesia, and your listener is completely unaware that any sort of installation process has taken place.

Nested loops are complex, and they use multiple stories. Each story is interrupted part of the way through, and the next story begins. If you have been in any of my boot camps, then you may or may not have been aware that I am always doing this.
How would you know that this is happening to you? Well, many people become increasingly curious and a bit frustrated at the same time, because it is difficult to keep track of the stories and they do not know how some of the stories end... yet.
Information and suggestions are embedded in each story (loop) during the process as each story (loop) is closed in reverse order.

Let me explain the structure a little better...

  1. Start story 1 (In the story, embed information and suggestions.)
  2. Interrupt story 1, and begin story 2 (Embed more information and suggestions.)
  3. Interrupt story 2, and begin story 3 (Embed more information and suggestions.) 
  4. Continue interrupting and beginning as many stories as you would like, then go on to the next step.
  5. Complete your stories in reverse order. For example, if you have a total of three stories that you started, then you finish story 3 then story 2 then story 1.

My boot camps (and nearly every one of my interactions with anyone) use several nested loops.
Keep in mind that loops can be closed in the same conversation, the same hour, the same day, or weeks or months later.
Here is your homework...

  1. Write down five pieces of information and suggestions you want to install in your subject.
  2. Write out five stories that each elicit an emotional state (example... curiosity, intrigue, etc...) in your listener as well as contain the information and suggestions you want to install.
  3. Determine where and how you will interrupt and jump to the next story as well as close the stories in reverse. (You may use phrases like “That reminds me of another time...” or “It is like the time I....”.)
  4. Practice, practice, practice.

This is one of the most powerful methods of covertly installing ideas, information, suggestions, etc... into the unconscious minds of others. This skill is a must to master if you truly want to become an expert communicator and leader.

If you are still a bit confused, consider attending one of my boot camps. You will truly leave a different person.

Bill Gladwell is an entertainer, speaker, and trainer as well as a self-contained, one-man spectacle and Social Dynamics expert.

Don’t be a chicken.


I cannot stop listening to conversations around me. Most people call this eavesdropping, but I call it research. My best estimate is that 90% of conversations are carried out at a very superficial level. In other words, typical conversations follow this model…

John: “How was your week?”
Sally: “Not to bad.”
John: “Anything exciting happen?”
Sally: “Not really. Just work. I did start reading a new book.”
John: “That’s nice. Have you seen any good movies lately?”
Blah, blah, blah, blah… Oh, and yada, yada, yada.

I have overheard 90-minute conversations at the table next to me in a restaurant that had no more substance than the short conversations with their server. Some of the blame for these superficial conversations falls on smartphones, smartwatches, and every other piece of “smart” technology that you carry with you everyday. Most people are more concerned with the notification that just popped up on their phone than with the human being sitting in front of them.

Recently, a study was conducted that discovered having a phone on the table during a conversation lowered the perceived quality of the conversation as well as the connection felt between the two people. The interesting part of this study is that the phone did not even have to belong to either of the two people holding the conversation… the anonymous phone simply had to be present. When the phone was not on the table, the conversations received a higher perceived quality score and the connection between the subjects was rated as being stronger. If an anonymous phone simply sitting on the table negatively impacts a conversation, imagine how much life your personal phone drains from your conversations.

My first (and very easily accomplished) piece of advice to having deeper conversations with others is to put your phone on “do not disturb”, turn the volume off, and put your phone out of site of everyone involved in the conversation… including you. I promise that you will not die when you do this. It may, however, cause you some anxiety. This anxiety will diminish as you make this a normal practice. What this anxiety is telling you is that you are addicted to your phone. I am not using the term “addicted” as a metaphor. The anxiety you feel is similar to the anxiety that smokers feel when attempting to stop smoking or that alcoholics feel when quitting the booze or a chicken feels when it does not receive a food pellet when the blue light shines. Don’t be a chicken. Put the phone out of sight.

With your phone out of the picture… literally, the blame for a superficial and lame conversation falls on you. It is not the other person’s fault. That “other person” probably has not read this article or books on communication or even cares about improving their communication skills. Just by reading this article, I know that you are among a small percentage of people who want to do things better and make life more enjoyable. The majority of people go through life doing the same ol’ thing day after day after day without even considering that they can do something about that. It is up to you to captain this ship.

To guide your conversations into deeper waters, you must learn how to ask the right kind of questions. Deeper questions. Questions that require some thought and more than one or two words to answer. Let’s rework the conversation from above…

John: [Instead of John asking, “How was your week?”] “So, what was the most challenging thing about this week?
Sally: “I had a guy who was not happy with his order, and it took me an entire afternoon to fix it.”
John: “What happened to make him unhappy about his order?”
Sally: [Sally tells her story about what happened.]
John: “What did you do to help him?”
Sally: [Sally shares some more of her story.]
John: “How can you prevent that from happening to someone else?”
Sally: [Sally explains what she can do.]
John: “How great does that make you feel knowing that you spent the afternoon solving his problem? I bet he really appreciated that.”

What is different about this second conversation is the way that John asks Sally about her week. Instead of asking a question that requires very little thought and produces a stock response (“How was your week?”), Sally has to think about the most challenging part of her week; and John now has a dialogue with which he can continue to explore and ask more questions.

Two important things are happening as John continues to ask Sally followup questions based on what she is telling him about this challenge from her week.

  1. With each follow-up question, John is taking Sally from a place of superficial answers to a realm of emotion. By asking Sally for more details, Sally becomes emotionally involved in the conversation as she relives (in her mind) the experience. Of course, if Sally would have said that the most challenging thing about her week was that her dog, Skipper, died, then John could take a different approach and still create a deep conversation. For example… Perhaps John could respond with, “Oh, no! I am so sorry to hear that. How long did you have Skipper?”; and John could continue to ask questions as long as Sally wants to talk about it. The key for John is to guide Sally to all the happy times she had with Skipper. In other words, change Sally’s focus from Skipper’s death to great memories she had with Skipper. If you find yourself in a situation such as this… stay calm, be sensitive, and simply be there for the other person.
  2. John is making Sally feel like she is the most fascinating person in the world. This is my favorite method of building rapport and a connection with someone… Make the other person feel like they are the most fascinating person in the world. This is accomplished by eliminating all distractions and placing your entire focus on the person in front of you, and keep the conversation about the other person by asking questions that encourage them to open up.

I suggest you make a list of 20 questions that you feel comfortable asking others that are designed to elicit an answer that is more than one or two words and makes your conversation partner think. The questions you design should require a response that will allow you to ask more and deeper questions to keep the conversation going.

Here is a list of questions to get your mind started. These questions are designed to elicit an answer about which you can ask deeper questions…

Personal Setting

  • When you were young, what toy do you remember the most?
  • What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
  • What is your all-time favorite city?
  • What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?
  • Without telling me what you do, what is the most fulfilling aspect of what you do?

Business Setting

  • What do you ultimately want to be remembered for?
  • If you could go back and tell the younger you only one thing when starting your company, what do you think that would be?
  • What keeps you awake at night?
  • What makes you get out of bed every morning?
  • What one thing in your business could you change that would make the biggest positive impact?

Now, put your phone out of sight; and go practice asking better questions.

Bill Gladwell is an entertainer, speaker, and trainer as well as a self-contained, one-man spectacle and Social Dynamics expert.

Relationships begin before you meet.


I was bingeing one of my favorite television shows, “Psych”, when it occurred to me that the premise of the series is a great life (and sales) lesson.

The main character, Shawn Spencer, is a consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department. His advanced observational skills and impressive memory allow him to convince people that he solves cases with psychic abilities. 

Shawn originally becomes known as a psychic when, after calling in tips on dozens of crimes covered on the news which help the police to close the cases, the police become suspicious of his knowledge. The police theorize that he could only know this information by being on the "inside", so they decide to arrest Shawn as a suspect. To avoid being sent to jail, Shawn uses his observational skills to convince the police that he is psychic. The police chief warns Shawn that if his "powers" are fake, he will be prosecuted. With no choice but to keep up the act, he establishes a psychic detective agency and becomes an outside consultant to the police.

But how does this relate to life and sales?... Shawn does his research, and you should too.

  • When I receive an email from someone I do not know, I research them.
  • When a probable client hands me a business card, I research them.
  • When I schedule an appointment, I research the company and every person who is involved with the meeting.
  • When I have a networking event, I research who will be there before arriving.
  • When I am going to meet anyone in any situation, I research them.

When you spend the time to do your research, you greatly increase your chances of making a new friend and turning a probable client into a lifetime client. While everyone else is looking around the room for something to use as a rapport builder, you already know where they grew up, what university they graduated from, the name of their spouse, how many children they have, their favorite sports team, what sort of music they are in to, and where they like to go on vacation.

You see this all the time in sports. Every team will scope out their competition before the big game. They learn the key players, the way their opponent plays, their strengths and weaknesses, et cetera; and a plan is developed that will give them the best chance to win.

You may be surprised by what you find when you do your research. I prefer to conduct business and meet new people on referrals from friends and loyal clients, but sometimes I am meeting a complete stranger. Over 50% of the time, I discover during my research that I have a mutual friend with the person I am meeting. When this happens, I contact our mutual friend and ask them to shoot the person I am going to meet a short email to let them know of our connection. This creates a strong and instant way to open the conversation when we meet. Having a mutual friend also conveys a small sense of trust, and even a little trust is better than none at all when meeting someone new.

7 research tools to help you get started...

  1. FullContact — FullContact is a powerful contact management tool. There are apps available for iOS, Android, Mac, Chrome, and the web. FullContact will keep your contacts synced over iCloud, Google, Exchange, and Office 365 accounts. You can scan a business card with your smartphone, and real humans (not OCR) transcribe the card’s information to your contacts within minutes. The best and most useful aspect of FullContact is its ability to do some of the researching for you. When you enter the information that you know about your contact (such as name, email, et cetera), FullContact will begin searching the internet and pull additional information into your contact listing. If any changes to your contact’s information is found, it will updated those fields for you. I have been using FullContact for a few years, and I find it to be a very valuable tool.
  2. Google — Search for a person’s name on Google; and you may gather a lot of information including their website, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, any podcasts they may have appeared on, any publications they were in, blog posts, and much more. While you are at it, you should probably do a search on your own name. If you are using Google to research others, people are probably doing the same to you. You want to stay on top of what people are seeing when they search your name... good, bad, or indifferent.
  3. LinkedIn — LinkedIn is not the place to go to catch the latest memes that your friends posted, but it is a great source for anyone conducting research. With a simple search of a person’s name, you will usually find a plethora of information about that person including where they work and have worked in the past, where they attended college, what interests they have, if they have been published, reviews of their work, other LinkedIn members they are connected to, and much more. For business purposes, I begin my search here.
  4. Facebook — I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  Recently, I have all but boycotted this social site; because I disagree with many of their practices. I do, however, keep my personal account open; and I keep my professional page up to date. I use my personal account to conduct research. As with LinkedIn, you can usually find some very useful information about people by conducting a simple search of a name. What makes Facebook useful is the personal information you can find about people. If someone has their profile open to the public (and most people do), you can get a rather accurate picture of the inner-workings of their mind. People tend to dump on their feeds all of their hopes and fears and political views and party photos and religion and favorite movies and on and on. In addition to finding out the names of their entire family, you will also be able to determine what kind of person this is when no one else is looking or at least when they are in front of a screen. I encourage you to read their profile as well as their posts. I admit that I make judgements from a person’s Facebook feed as to whether or not I want to meet them in the real world.
  5. Twitter — Twitter is like the worst bar you will ever encounter where you stand on a table and tell everyone your deepest thoughts. There are people yelling, spreading rumors, talking about sex and politics, sharing happy stories, telling horrible tales, arguing, and the occasional fight breaks out; but there is some great information on Twitter if you are willing to dig. Simply by scrolling through who a person follows will give you a look into their likes and dislikes. Being the “bar” that Twitter is, you can determine how someone thinks when they believe their post is going to get lost in the Twitterverse. Like Facebook, I find Twitter a tool to help me determine if I want to meet someone in the real world. Twittter does, however, have an advantage over Facebook... If you make contact with someone on Twitter, there is a very good chance that you will receive a reply. For example... I recently contacted a large pencil manufacturer via Twitter to start conversations about a sponsorship for my show. A very large number of people in my audiences receive a pencil during the show, and my son suggested that I should find a sponsor. Within 24 hours, I had a response back from this particular manufacturer; and within a few days, the first shipment of pencils was on its way to me.
  6. Alignable — I do not spend a lot of time on Alignable, but it is worth a look if you are not finding much information on other social media sites.
  7. Hunter —  Hunter lets you find email addresses in seconds and connect with the people who matter most for your business. This site is very easy to use. Here is how it works... Say you know that John Smith works at Johnson & Johnson and would like to shoot him an email, but you do not have John’s email address. You simply enter Johnson & Johnson’s web site (jnj.com), and it will give you a listing of all the email addresses within Johnson & Johnson. If you do not find John’s email listed, Hunter will also give you the format of the company. For example... {f}{last}@jnj.com. Chances are that John’s email address is jsmith@jnj.com.

Too many people walk into meetings, business and personal, without any sort of preparation. It is worth your time to arrive with an arsenal of information that will help you quickly build a relationship, start and guide the conversation, and achieve your desired outcome.

Bill Gladwell is an entertainer, speaker, and trainer as well as a self-contained, one-man spectacle and Social Dynamics expert.

How to start a conversation with anyone anywhere.

December 05, 2017 at 07_23PM.jpg

After 28 years and thousands of clients, I have learned that opening a conversation is typically the most difficult step for people. This usually means meeting someone new in person, but it also applies to picking up the phone to make that initial call or sending that critical first email. Labels have been given to the uncomfortable feeling that builds inside when you are faced with a first contact... approach anxiety, shyness, worry that you will not be liked, fear of being judged, call reluctance, fear of rejection, or that the entire interaction will just simply go wrong.

If you are one of the few who have never had a problem walking up to anyone anywhere and striking up a conversation, then you may be tempted to stop reading this right now; but if you do stop reading, you may miss out on a tip or two that will make a noticeable difference in your life.

When you stop to think about it, these challenges that you face when it comes to meeting someone new were programmed into you when you were a child; and you have carried this programming with you as you got older. When you were younger, how many times did you hear... "Now remember, don't talk to strangers."? Maybe you were even told to stay away from strangers. Now, that same program unconsciously fires off when you simply think about opening a conversation with someone whom you have never met. It is time to start programming your mind with the thoughts and behaviors that you want in your life... not what others have installed for you.

But how?

In business, I have heard many trainers and managers teach the "3-Foot Rule" to help people overcome their reluctance or even inability to open a conversation with a stranger. What they recommend is that you make a commitment to open a conversation with anyone who gets within three feet of you. (That is about arms length... give or take a few inches.) They prescribe doing this for a week or two until you become comfortable with opening up conversations with strangers. What usually happens to people who commit to this exercise is that they begin to avoid getting close to people after a few days. What started out as a way to overcome your fear using exposure therapy ends up installing a fear of getting physically close to people.

I have been guilty of teaching the 3-Foot Rule. The method worked for me... at least, that is what I thought. I remember committing to this exercise for an entire month when a sales trainer recommended it to me. I introduced myself to everyone around me, I made a comment (within context) about the environment we were in, and we had a pleasant interaction. It worked! By the end of that month, I had nothing but positive feelings when I thought about opening up a conversation with a stranger; but when I started teaching the 3-Foot Rule to my clients, I found that they were not getting the same results that I got. In fact, I was reinforcing their fear of talking to strangers!

I had to take a step back and examine why the 3-Foot Rule worked for me so well, but it was not working for most of my clients. When I did, I realized something very interesting; and that is the day I stopped teaching the 3-Foot Rule.

When you meet someone new (a stranger), it is not about you... it is about them.

If you are focused on overcoming your challenge of meeting people, then you begin to think about how you could say something wrong or how they will not like you or how they will think you are a creep or how they have a higher social status than you and on and on. Your focus is on not screwing up and being rejected. As Dr. Phil would say, "It ain't about you!"

To become an effective communicator... specifically, to successfully walk up to anyone anywhere and open a conversation, your focus must be on the other person. Instead of focusing on yourself and everything that could go wrong with the interaction, focus on only one outcome.

Focus on putting a smile on the other person's face.

That is it! It is not about you, it is not about the way you look, it is not about being rejected, it is not about the way you walk, nor is it about how you bumped into a chair while walking over to meet them. It is about putting a smile on that person's face. It is about giving them a feeling that they will associate with you. It is about making someone happy for no reason at all. That is your purpose. Say to yourself, "I am going to do everything I can to make that person smile."; and then do it.

A very good example of what I am telling you can be found in one of my favorite movies. Do yourself a favor, and watch this clip. I am positive it will put a smile on your face. https://youtu.be/Xd8qocJNO7Y

Taking that first step or dialing the phone or typing that initial line in the email can seem like a big challenge to overcome; but after you commit, the rest becomes easier. Let me give you an exercise to make this happen.

  1. Stand (or sit) up straight, and take a deep breath.
  2. Imagine that their is a version of you standing (or sitting) in front of you who has all the confidence and courage and qualities needed to open a conversation with someone and make them smile. Notice everything about that you in front of you. How are they standing (or sitting)? How are they moving? How are they breathing? Et cetera.
  3. Now, step into that other you. Literally, physically step forward (or sit down) into that you that you created. As you do, take on the same posture and other physical characteristics of that you. Breathe in the positive energy and confidence.
  4. Go! Walk over or dial that phone number or begin that email. Just do it!

Something else that will help...

When you walk up to someone or make that call or compose that email, imagine that the person you are about to meet is the most interesting person in the world; and open and continue the conversation as if this were the absolute truth. Ask them questions about themselves, give your attention to that person, and get them to smile. That is your focus.

On the phone and via email, I will admit that it is easier to open a conversation. On the phone, you typically have a reason for calling; and I would hope that you are not simply calling people cold from a directory... unless you are being paid to strictly do just that. When calling someone, simply open with something like, "Hi, John. I was with Kevin Johnson a couple of days ago, and he asked me to give you a call." By letting John know that you were asked to contact him by a friend or respected business partner, you begin to get grouped into that category. Keep in mind that in addition to setting an appointment or getting a date or whatever it might be, your goal is still to make them smile. For example, perhaps mention that Kevin told you about the time that he and John were golfing and a deer took off with John's ball. You can use a similar strategy when composing an email.

In person, there are countless ways to open a conversation with someone. One of the easiest methods is to ask for someone's opinion. For example, if you are standing in line at the grocery, you may say to the person behind you, "I have been debating about trying that juice (pointing to an item in their cart). What do you think about it?" You can open a conversation in this way while waiting at Starbucks or in an office supply store or even while getting your hair cut. People are usually more than willing to give you their opinion.

At networking events for either professional or personal purposes, I always see people standing on the sidelines not doing what they came their to do... network. It looks like an 8th-grade dance. One of the main reasons for this is that they do not know how to open a conversation in that environment. It is actually very easy if you simply tell the truth. Walk up to someone and open with, "Hi, I'm Dave; and I thought I would see if there is anything we can help each other with. What do you do?" Continue the conversation by asking questions while holding the thought that this person is the most interesting person in the world.

There is an old adage that governs every interaction you have... "All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends; and all things not being equal, people still want to do business with their friends."

Stop being so uptight, loosen up, and make friends. Make them smile.

Bill Gladwell is an entertainer, speaker, and trainer as well as a self-contained, one-man spectacle and Social Dynamics expert.

Everything you say is a lie. At the very least, it is not the truth.

Bill Gladwell _ That's A Lie.jpg

Since 1989, I have made a career out of effectively communicating and teaching others to do the same. One of the most difficult aspects of teaching how to effectively communicate is getting people to accept that what is coming out of your mouth is not the truth. Being aware of this fact will not only make you a better communicator, but it will also allow you to engineer what is remembered by your listener.

If you do a search on the Internet for “memory recall altered”, you will find a large body of research that has shown that every time you recall a memory that memory is altered and rewritten. To further compound this phenomenon, you are not simply altering and rewriting your original memory. You are recalling the last version of your memory and altering and rewriting that version. That’s right!… Each time you recall a memory, that memory is becoming even more distorted from reality.

Because you are dealing with memories in your own mind, it is difficult for most people to take a step back and admit that a memory is a very fluid thing; and this creates a false sense of confidence. When told they are mistaken, people will insist that they are correct. People are so confident in their own memory that many will not believe they are mistaken even when presented with proof to the contrary. Cognitive dissonance may come into play at this point.

Cognitive dissonance is a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort, and people will go to all sorts of lengths to reduce cognitive dissonance. For example, Tom may hold the belief that he has a very good memory; and Amy presents evidence that he is wrong. Now, Tom has a belief that his memory is very good and is being proven wrong at the same time. This puts Tom into an uncomfortable situation, because Tom is facing the fact that he may not have as good of a memory as he believes. Even at this point, Tom is likely to continue insisting that he is correct due to his confidence in his memory.

Now that you are aware that you alter a memory with each recall, what do you do with that information?

First, always keep what you now know at the top of your mind. When you are presented with a different view by the person with whom you are speaking, consider that you may be incorrect… within reason. For example, if you are being told that the earth is flat or that it is snowing outside when it clearly is not, then stand your ground; but if you are being told that you said last week that you would include free shipping, consider that you did indeed offer free shipping.

The obvious problem arises when you are remembering a scenario differently than the person with whom you are speaking. Do you always concede to the other person? Well, not always. Ideally, the person with whom you are speaking is aware that they could also be the one remembering incorrectly. In reality, you both are remembering incorrectly. When you both can step out of the moment and realize that it is a good possibility that neither of you are correct, then you can come up with a solution together that makes everyone happy.

What if you absolutely know that you are the one who is right? I recommend that you start by asking yourself, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?” It may behoove you to simply concede and move on. You are the one who must decide if keeping the peace is more important to you than other possible, less desirable outcomes.

Simply being aware that aspects of your memories are deleted, distorted, and generalized each time that you access them makes you a better communicator. With this information, you can make better decisions when it comes to communicating, making friends, and influencing people.

Let’s talk about influencing people using what you have just learned. I am going to give you an example of how I utilize this phenomenon in my life, and perhaps it will encourage you to brainstorm areas of your life where you can begin using it in your communication.

During the performance of my stage show, I ask several audience members to write down on a piece of paper different facts about themselves that no one in the room would know. Each person then seals their paper in an envelope. I then proceed to determine what the person wrote down by asking a few questions and reading the body language of the person. For example, I may ask someone to think of a pet that they had at some point in their life. I then tell them things like the kind of animal, the color, and even the name of their pet. This part of the performance is what brings people back again and again, and they bring friends and family with them.

Although this earns the greatest applause of the show and many times a standing ovation, I want each audience member to leave with a memory of this experience that is much better than the experience itself. To make this happen, I recap the show just before I leave the stage. During my recap, I say something like, “…And then we had Kevin think of a pet that he had as a little boy, and I was able to tell him that it was a dog named Chuck; and Karen thought of her first kiss, and I was able to tell her where it happened and the name of the boy.”

Notice that during my recap I never mention that each person first wrote down some facts about themselves or that they sealed these facts in an envelope. I simply say, “You thought of your first kiss, and I told you where it happened and the boy’s name.” By doing this, I help the audience members to alter their memories of that experience. I purposely delete and distort certain elements of the experience they had a moment ago, and the memories get encoded into their mind as a different experience than what actually happened.

After every performance, I do a meet and greet with my audience; and every night, people come up to me and ask, “How the hell did you know my pet’s name when all I did was think about it?” I also regularly have guests who attend my performance who were referred by a friend or family member. I ask them what they were told about me, and I typically get a version of, “My friend, Mary, told me you told her to think of her first kiss; and you somehow came up with the boy’s name.”

Be aware that no one is telling the truth, you could be wrong just as easily as the person with whom you are speaking, and it may be a better choice to be happy than to be right. This could prevent you from having a lot of stress and negative feelings throughout your life while helping you create countless moments of pleasure. With a little brainstorming and planning, you also have a communication tool that will allow you to engineer and experience that your listener will never forget.

Bill Gladwell is an entertainer, speaker, and trainer as well as a self-contained, one-man spectacle and Social Dynamics expert.

It's not them. It's you. — Why people are not replying to you.

An entertainer, Facebook “Friend” of mine posted a “rant”. For eleven seconds, I thought about replying to his post; but we have never met in person or even corresponded online, and I thought he might take my advice too critically. So, I decided to write a column on the “rant”.

Here is his rant...

Ok, Time to RANT...

So, how do you handle so called professionals that don’t return your calls, texts, e-mails, facebook messages or whatever form of communication you use?

Let’s assume that you communicated with a so called professional, using their desired form of communication... What is a reasonable time for them to respond? I have always made my very best effort to return all messages within 24-48 hours. Even if I’m traveling or have to respond with a message acknowledging that I received their message, but I will have to get back with them in a couple of days.... even in that case, I still respond within the 24-48 hour time frame. I have lost the technology war from time to time and have not received their message, or it got lost somewhere on the “www.interwebnet”, Facebook hell or the text message black hole, but those times are very few and far between and I’ve always rectified the situation.

So tell me how you would handle these types of people. I would love to hear your strategy. Also, answer this question? Should we publicly call out those that do not respond to messages in a timely manor? Or... create a Facebook page to list them as non-responders?

Just my rant... sorry for the length of the post, but I can’t wait to hear your replies.


What I wanted to reply with was, “Have you ever considered it is not them?”

When you do not receive a response from a client, potential client, or other business contact; 94% of the time it is not their fault. You have not given them a strong enough reason to return your call or text or email or Facebook message or whatever form of communication you used.

Why would anyone take the effort to get back to you? In other words, what is in it for them?

Suppose you left a message for your toughest client letting them know that you had $1,000 in cash that you would like to hand to them, and you just wanted to set up a time to meet.

One of two things would happen.

  1. You would get a return call within 30 minutes asking when you could meet.
  2. Your client despises talking to you so much that $1,000 cannot get them to have a conversation with you.

If you are leaving messages similar to these, then you should never expect a response.

  1. “Hi, Tom. I am calling to follow up on our last conversation.”
  2. “I wanted to send you an email to find out if you received my last email about performing at your holiday party. Sometimes, my emails get sent to spam, and I thought you might not have seen it.”
  3. “Hey, Kelly! I am just wondering if your boss gave you the thumbs up.”
  4. “Hi Chris, my name is Tom. I am an entertainer, and I wanted to know if we could talk about any company events at which you could use my services.”
  5. “John, I sent you the agreement; and I have not heard anything since. I am calling to see if you had the chance to look at it.”
  6. Blah, blah, blah...

Give them a reason to call you back. Try these instead.

  1. “Hi, Pam. This is Bill Gladwell. When we spoke yesterday, I asked you to take a look at my website at BillGladwellLIVE.com; and I realize that anyone can say anything on the Internet. So, I asked a couple of my clients if they would be comfortable having a brief conversation with you. You will receive a call from Jane Doe, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, within the next day. Jane has personally hired me for several events. I also asked Kevin Bacon (yes, the actor) to shoot you a quick email about me and my show. You will officially always be the winner when your friends play “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. I will give you a call in a couple of days to discuss your event further.”
  2. “Jack, I spoke with a business owner that has hired me to speak and entertain for his company a few times, and I was telling him about what you do over at ABC, Inc. He is very interested in your services and would like to speak with you. I gave him your contact information, and here is his name and phone number in the event that you would like to reach out to him first... Larry Smith, (123) 456-7890. Give me a quick call, and I can tell you a bit more about Larry.”
  3. If you are speaking with someone who is waiting for the thumbs-up from their boss, then you are speaking with the wrong person. Always start at the top... or as close to the top as you can get. You may have a chance of closing the deal if your contact is waiting on the thumbs-up from their boss; but you will close the deal most every time if the CEO calls his event planner and says, “Call Bill Gladwell, and get him booked for the February sales meeting.”
  4. “Chris, this is Bill Gladwell. A good friend of yours, Don Young at AZ Company, gave me your contact info and asked me to give you a call. I have someone that I think you should speak with who could use your services. My number is (123) 456-7890.”
  5. “Hi, John. I am looking forward to working with you. I emailed you our agreement and the invoice this past Monday, and I wanted to remind you that you are saving 10% (that’s over $400) for having the agreement back to me within five days along with payment in full. On a different note, I ran into a friend of mine who owns XYZ Enterprise; and she would like to speak with you about how you can help her company. Give me a call, and I will connect you with her.”

You may have noticed that I am helping people grow their business and make money. If you can do that, they will very likely help you do the same.

Make people feel good, help them reach their goals, and you will get more of what you want in return. At the very least, they will respond to your communication 94% of the time.

On the other hand, just keep blaming and complaining about the “so called professionals”, and those of us who take responsibility if we do not get a response will continue to grow as you remain stagnant.

Bill Gladwell is an entertainer, speaker, and trainer as well as a self-contained, one-man spectacle and Social Dynamics expert.

Some kind words from a friend and client

Some kind words from a friend and client of mine, and you should click on the link below and attend his show if you are in the Moab, Utah area this summer.

Dear Magicians,

I wanted to send a quick update. As many of you know, I put a lot of emphasis on the Bill Gladwell interview from the Magic Master Summit. Well, I’m stoked to announce that everything is in motion, and we open our own theater in May, based off of everything I learned from Bill Gladwell.

If you haven’t checked out his presentation yet, I highly suggest it!
— Dave DaVinci

Learn more about David DaVinci and his show by

clicking on this link now...


How to steal the mic from a talk show host

I have been hired to perform at the 29th Annual Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival in Arizona.

  • The good news... I was asked to make an appearance on KPNX's Arizona Midday. It was a fabulous time with some great people.
  • The bad news... I found out that only "trained professionals" get to ride the ostriches.

Here is the segment that includes the makings of a great joke... "An ostrich, a thought reader, a contestant from The Voice, and a magician walk into a Midday segment."

NOTE: Watch me take the mic from the host.

Click on this link to view the segment...


Two degrees to Sir Winston Churchill

This past weekend, I performed for close to 300 people attending a Rotary District Conference in South Carolina. I had been looking forward to this particular weekend since I was booked, because I was told I would be sharing the stage with Sir Winston Churchill's great-grandson, Jonathan Sandys.

It turns out that Jonathan is a great speaker who focuses on the leadership lessons from his great-grandfather, he is a wellspring of stories about Churchill that you may never hear from anyone else, he is a great human being, and my newest friend.

To my surprise, Jonathan's blog post that hit the virtual news stand today is about his experience with me. You can read the post at this link; and while you are there, take a look around his website and subscribe... http://leadlikechurchill.org/lie-to-me/

Let's talk about how long it takes to change a habit?

I had a company ask me for details on my smoking cessation program; and whether you smoke or not, my response turned into something that will be helpful to anyone looking to change a habit. There are a lot of misconceptions out there.

How long does it take for people to stop smoking with your program?

There is one thing that holds true for anyone who wants to make a change using hypnosis or not… It takes 21 days to change a habit, right?


Yet, this is what you will hear from most people, even “experts”.

In the 1950s, Dr. Maxwell Maltz noticed a pattern among his plastic surgery patients. He noticed that it would take his patients a minimum of 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. With an arm or leg amputee patient, Maltz noticed that his patient would sense a phantom limb for a minimum of 21 days before adjusting to the new situation. Maltz wrote, “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

Most people forget or never knew that Maltz said “a minimum of about 21 days.” Current studies concur that it does take a minimum of 21 days to change a habit. In a study from 2009, it was shown to take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.

Hypnosis does not make you stop smoking. Hypnosis does, however, greatly speed up your learning curve. In my initial session with my clients, I explain that I could move in with them and stop them from putting a cigarette in their mouth every time they reach for one; and I can encourage them to replace that craving with a more pleasurable and healthy alternative. Over a 2 to 8 month period, they would be a nonsmoker. — OR — They can commit to 4 to 8 weeks of using hypnosis, and they can achieve what they want in 75% less time and without a new house guest.

Over the past 27 years, I have had a handful of smoking cessation clients who stopped after our first session together, and they never went back. This is not the norm. Most people have a good 30 to 60 days of committed listening before being a nonsmoker becomes who they are deep down.

Can smoking cessation be accomplished with only hypnosis audio programs?

It depends. Specifically, it depends on the client. This is not a limitation of smoking cessation programs or hypnosis. The success of making a change is dependent on the level of motivation and commitment of the client.

If you want to lose weight and get in shape, I can get you the most expensive exercise equipment and the best personal coach that money can buy; but if you do not use the equipment and meet with your coach, you will never reach your goals. The same is true with smoking cessation. I can give you all the tools you need to learn how to never put another cigarette in you mouth; but if you do not listen to the hypnosis audio programs as advised, you will continue to puff away.

I have had countless clients permanently become nonsmokers using only my hypnosis audio program. These people had leverage on themselves. They were told by their cardiologist that they had to stop smoking or their 5-year-old daughter began to mimic smoking with her crayons or their brother died of lung cancer. Others, however, needed to be accountable to someone. These are the people who I see in regular sessions for a period of time. In person or online, I ask the person how many times they listened to their audio recordings over the past week, what results they are seeing, what their biggest challenge is, and how close they are to their goal. Some people need this, because they are unable to hold themselves accountable.

When someone falls short of their goal using a hypnosis audio program, many times it is like a patient who does not take their prescribed medication. It is not the medication… it is their noncompliance.

What does your smoking cessation program entail?

My hypnosis audio program has been developed through 27 years of finding out out what works and what does not. These are the critical areas and challenges that are addressed in my program.

  • You must have the motivation, commitment, and leverage to change any behavior. With a written plan developed by you and the hypnosis audio series, you will develop a conviction to become a nonsmoker and stay that way.
  • This program is not aversion therapy. When you make the experience and feelings associated to choosing not to smoke much more pleasurable than taking a drag off of a cigarette, you do not need aversion therapy.
  • Longtime smokers typically end up with a lit cigarette between their fingers before they consciously are aware of it. It is an unconscious activity for them. A crucial step is to make them consciously aware every time they think about or touch a cigarette, and interrupt that behavior.
  • For some, smoking is a form of self-punishment or crutch. It is something that they can blame for their behavior in other areas of their lives with out taking personal responsibility. It is important to eliminate this thinking if it is an issue for you.
  • Fear of turning to a new vice stops many people from giving up smoking. Many people believe that they will gain weight if they stop smoking. Without the proper guidance, this can surely happen. When you learn to replace smoking with a positive habit that is much more pleasurable and healthy for you, you will minimize the possibility of turning to a different negative habit.
  • It is okay to be stubborn as long as you focus that stubbornness in the right direction. You will learn how to be so stubborn that nothing could ever get you to put another cigarette in your mouth.
  • Many smokers link smoking to other activities. For example, some people smoke on the golf course or on the drive to work or after a great meal. These links must be broken and replaced with new empowering alternatives, and your mind will be programmed to make new beneficial connections.