I feel I cannot talk about #Donald Trump without using a disclaimer. So here goes. I have no association with the Trump administration what so ever and other political figures are available. My interest in him are for research purposes only. For anyone interested in the mind as I am…he is a gift. People have called him a narcissist, a lunatic, a psychopath but I couldn’t possible comment on that. I prefer not to diagnosis people from afar.
What I am fascinated with is understanding how a billionaire grandfather of seventy becomes not only one of the most powerful…most recognisable and most talked about man on the planet. I am sure that not one day has gone by over the past week where the word ‘Trump’ has not passed your lips. People are ‘trumping’ all over the world. Trump has the whole world in a ‘tiz’. The question is how Trump made it to the White House…how he fooled the guards and slip through the net and more importantly, is there anything we can learn from all of this.
Influencing skills before Trump
Many a scholar on influencing would advocate that how you influence others is based on your strength of character, presenting yourself as a role model who people look up to and wish to follow, presenting good ideas, working with well-prepared discussions, listening and treating your opponent with respect. Using criteria and data. Trump was having none of it. He threw out the rule book…
What Trump did instead…
One of the things that is undeniable about Trump is his unwavering self-belief. The more people ridiculed him the more he stood his ground. If he believes black is white…then black is white. If he believes it is not raining when it is obviously raining then it isn’t raining. Lesson #one: belief in whatever it is you believe in. If you say it loud enough, with conviction and often enough then people will believe in you.
Hillary was well prepared. She had experience and knowledge on her side. But trying to get Trump to engage in a coherent discussion was like trying to nail jelly to a wall. Hillary and Trump were running two different races. While Hillary talked facts and figures. Trump talked emotions. He read the mood of his people perfectly. He knew that if he stirred up people’s emotions he wouldn’t even have to use joined up thinking. Who thinks about facts when they are emotional? All he had to do was whip them up into a frenzy and they would do the rest. Lesson # two: People do not get stirred up by facts and figures no matter how fascinating you might think they are… and that’s a fact.
He was able to pick up on the mood of a disgruntled set of people. It didn’t matter what he said and how he said it. It didn’t even matter if he used words that didn’t exist. He was singing their song and that’s all that mattered. The set of people he engaged where the people that he felt politics had forgotten. These were poor white folk and rich people in general. The poor white people had nothing more to lose and the rich people had everything to lose. Poor people do not care about well formulated sentences and whether you have read Proust or not and the only language rich people care about is the language of money. Trump presented himself as the ‘Great White Hope’. The more the educated middle class laughed at his blunders the more his popularity grew with his target audience. The more people laughed at him the more his people sided with him because to laugh at Trump’s lack of finesse, his racist remarks and sexist activates was tantamount to laughing at them. Lesson #three: Find out what language people speak and then speak it back to them.
Trump gave people the Ok to say what they believed. People didn’t become racist and sexist overnight on Thump’s say so. Many of these people had kept a lid on their beliefs because of political correctness and out of fear of what would happen to them if they spoke out under an Obama regime. Trump gave them permission to say what they thought along. He made racism and sexism Ok again. Lesson #four: Find out what people core values and beliefs are.
Now one of the biggest criticisms of Trump was his locker room banter about ‘grapping pussy’ everyone was up in arms. How terrible! Trumpians have never supported that comment. No one has come out to defend the comments. But while people were getting all huffed and puffed about a comment made 20 years ago…they took their eye off the ball. People were distracted by his hair… relationship with his daughter …his gold apartment…his bankruptcy. Everything! Lesson # five. Focus on what you’re doing. You cannot change the past. Do not let past events get in the way of the here and now and your future.
Trump was ridiculed for taking to twitter and making his feelings known. As soon as Meryl Streep uttered her piece about him he responding on twitter. This was a stroke of genius actually. He got to this people first. He didn’t arrange a press conference to retaliate. He used the medium that people use. There are 320 million people on twitter. Social media is how people communicate and get their information these days. Why wouldn’t you use it? Lesson# six: Use the medium the people use. Communicate with people how they communicate with each other.
Lastly and this one is the biggy or the ‘bigly’ should I say. The whole world thought that Trump was a joke. He was underestimated but he just kept coming back for more. Trump trumped all his opponents and is sitting smugly in the White House while people are taking to the streets o figure out what happened. Lesson #seven: Never underestimate the power of being underestimated.
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