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
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.