Smile for the camera! Have you ever tried to make an infant smile? It sure makes you feel good when you’re successful, doesn’t it? But I doubt it was because you told her why the chicken crossed the road.The reason the baby smiled was because she has something called mirror neurons, not because of your sparkling wit. Though mirror neurons helped you develop that too. Nope. Here’s what’s really going on and why it’s so important for you to understand and use this in your video marketing. Mirror neurons raise the child Back in the mid-90’s scientists discovered that not only does a special set of neurons fire when we imitate something we see someone doing, but they also fire when we just think about it. In other words, your brain has the same experience whether or not you go through it in real life. But they also discovered something even more bizarre and wonderful. That you didn’t even have to see the event take place in your head. All you had to do was hear it. And the hearing was enough to make those same mirror neurons fire just as brightly as if it was happening to you. But most astonishing of all is where those mirror neurons live; astonishing because of what this implies about their purpose. They live in the part of the brain – the premotor cortex – responsible for language, empathy and pain. That means one of the things they can easily do is create a bonding experience with the person they see speaking or performing some other action. So the child likes magazines If this were not true, there would be no soap opera magazines, no gossipy TV shows about movie stars, and in fact, no celebrity culture at all. So blame mirror neurons for all those magazines at the check-out stand in the grocery store. But you can also blame them for art, culture and charity. Oh, and video. You see, when you make a video, layered with images and actions and audio and music, you’re basically taking your viewer on a journey that leads to a new relationship. And amazingly, you have the power to determine what that relationship will be by the expressions you make and the actions you take in the video. But mirror neurons can also backfire For example, when you’re around someone who drips with complaints, your mirror neurons fire constant messages of pain. And bingo, you’re now bonded with that person over the pain messages your own mirror neurons are sending you. But since you have free choice, you probably choose not to spend any more time with that person than absolutely necessary, because you don’t want to be brought down by your own body! On the other hand, it’s great to be around someone who exudes life and possibility and dark humor and (oh, wait, maybe that’s just me) fires your mirror neurons with a big dose of happy. You feel energized and want to spend more time with that person. In fact, you can’t help it! But why would you want to? What we’re talking about here is the video marketer’s secret language of bonding. This is the most profoundly important, largely untapped tool every video marketer has at her disposal. Why the video marketer shuts the mirror neurons off And yet, what do people actually do when they get on video? Well, you’ve seen the YouTube videos of people conducting themselves like automatons, trying desperately not to show any emotion, lest they betray some truth about themselves that they fear will make them look silly, stupid or otherwise not credible. It’s so ironic, because in trying to remain stoic, they deny themselves the one tool that costs them nothing to use. Their own authentic persona. All things being equal, your persona is the one part of your marketing arsenal that no one can steal. So what a waste to conceal it in some futile effort to be like everyone else. How you can turn the mirror neurons back on First, take a lesson from a passionate public speaker: Now, think of your persona as your competitive advantage and everything changes. The expressions you allow yourself to show, the actions you allow yourself to take, all have a profound effect on your potential client’s mirror neurons. And when you add in music, lights, your words and your message, the total effect can be irresistible. So if you want someone to smile when they think of you, smile at them first. Well, it works with yawns, doesn’t it? It works for babies. And it will work for you, too.