Transcript: Cracking The Code 01: Competence. 8 Dec 2006

Thom wrote his book "Cracking The Code" on the air: This was the first week, covering "from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence".

Cracking The Code 01: From unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence. 8 Dec 2006

Cracking the COde

Key

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[Thom Hartmann] And Johanna Vondeling is with us. Johanna is my editor at bkconnection.com; Berrett-Koehler the publisher that published " Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - and what we can do about it", and we're working on a new book called "Cracking the Code" about unraveling how political communication happens, and Johanna and I are going to have a conversation about this today, and we'll see how this goes. Maybe we can shed some light on some things for all of you listening. Hey, Johanna, welcome.

[Johanna Vondeling] Thank you Thom, it's great to be here.

[Thom Hartmann] Great to have you with us. So, we're going to flip roles here. You'll be the interviewer and I'll be the interviewee, so let me hand the microphone to you, as it were.

[Johanna Vondeling] OK, that sounds great. Well, you contacted me several months ago and said that you were interested in writing a book applying neurolinguistic programming to politics. And that sounded really intriguing and I want to hear today more about that and basically start from the top. What's the big idea for the book?

[Thom Hartmann] Sure. Well, the main concept for the book is that there's a lot of incompetent communication going on politically on the one hand, and on the other hand, there's some very, very, very deliberate and conscious and intentional and powerful communication going on in the political arena. And up until, well actually I'd say even as we speak, most of the really competent political communication that's been going on, very intentional, has been coming out of the right. It's been coming out of Gingrich and Frank Lunz and the work that they did that is grounded in NLP and other allied fields starting all the way back in the 1980s, and with the Reagan revolution and then certainly I believe it was in '94, Newt, you know, storming the gates of Congress during the Clinton administration.

And they very carefully form how they speak, what they're speaking and to whom they're speaking. And so my goal in putting together this book is to illuminate for people, to share the story with people, to give people a good grasp of both the nature of this communication; how this is all working, how people communicate, how we understand, how we think, how we do grok the world, how we get things, and how to become an unconsciously competent communicator. That is, how to be as good at communication as some of the people on the right, because people on the left, by and large, in my experience have not taken the time to do the homework.

Frankly, the people on the right weren't taking the time to do their homework back in the fifties and sixties. I mean, they were running around saying things, you know, that were viewed by Americans as right wing fringe stuff. They're saying those same things now, but it's not being viewed as right wing fringe stuff because they've learned different ways to say it. For example, instead of talking about ending the estate tax they talk about ending the death tax. You know, that kind of thing.

[Johanna Vondeling] So, it sounds like there's a whole science to this that goes back many decades. Is this the kind of thing that the average reader can learn how to do, or do we have to spend a lot of time trying to pick it up?

[Thom Hartmann] This is absolutely something that the average reader can learn how to do and I really want to target two groups of people with this book. One, in a very small way, are those people who are involved in the political milieu. I'm hopeful that they will collect tools from it; you know, politicians, political consultants; folks like that. But the larger picture, I want to reach out to all of the political activists out there, which should be all of us.

People were are, from folks who are having a conversation with their brother-in-law over dinner, over the water cooler at work, to discussions with their friends, their spouse, whatever it may be, and help them have more competent communication about politics and a better framing of politics. And there's this transition unconscious incompetence to conscious competence that I want to make. People start out unconsciously incompetent; they don't realize that they don't know how to communicate. We're all all the time trying to communicate and we're all all the time trying to use that communication as a way of achieving something, of achieving some goal; persuading people basically.

People sometimes say, "Oh, wait a minute, this is all about manipulation." Yes, at a certain level, because, you know, go into a store and say "Here's a dollar, give me a candy bar". Is that manipulation? It's an exchange. It's an attempt to get something. You're giving something to get something. So, good communication functionally is about trying to accomplish something. It's about trying to, you know, whether it's about communicating an idea or a concept or eliciting a behavior. So, most people start out unconsciously incompetent: they don't know that they don't know how bad they are at communicating.

[Johanna Vondeling] I think that a lot of this could sound like manipulation to people and I think certainly a lot of people would agree that the kind of thing that Frank Lunz is doing, or that Newt Gingrich is doing is manipulation. What's the difference between what you want to teach people how to do and what these sort of professional spin meisters are doing?

[Thom Hartmann] Well, two things: first of all, I want to give the average person the tool kit so that they can understand how to personally become better communicators. And Frank Lunz and Newt Gingrich are not at all interested in that. Although Newt with his memo about language, his famous language memo in which he said, you know, whenever you refer to Democrats use any… and there was a whole collection of negative adjectives, and whenever you refer to Republicans use… and there was a whole collection of positive adjectives, and he did a whole videotape to train Republicans on this. He was pretty straightforward about that. But they were never about giving people the toolkit. What they were about was taking a couple of the tools and using them to establish frames that were in large part, frankly, lies and using them to promulgate those. You know, for example I went back and deconstructed Newt's 'Contract with America' and if you look at the legislation that the Contract with America was pointing to, 6 of the 10 items were we're basically one thing: tax cuts for the rich would accomplish 6 of those 10 things in Newt's mind. I mean, it was all about packaging.

So, I'm suggesting that I would like people to understand these tools at a deep and real and meaningful level so that when somebody tries to manipulate them, whether it be on the left or the right, they can immediately spot that. They can hear that the story coming down the road. They immediately know, "Hey, wait a minute, this is", you know, whatever it is. This is an attempt to communicate or this is an attempt to miscommunicate, to influence. This is an attempt to influence that I am going to go along with, that makes sense to me, or this is an attempt to influence that I am going to resist. Being conscious of the attempt to influence happening is, in my mind, half the battle.

[Johanna Vondeling] What is the difference between communicating, you're talking about this book will be useful for, you know, talking to somebody over dinner, around the water cooler, is there a difference between talking one-on-one with people and trying to communicate and persuade them than talking with groups?

[Thom Hartmann] Yes. Yeah. And there are two points that I want to make. The first is the difference is the transition from unconscious incompetence to conscience competence or unconscious competence, and the other is the way that people understand things: visual, auditory, kinesthetic. And so let me just break this answer into these two pieces.

[Johanna Vondeling] OK.

[Thom Hartmann] The first is that we start out not knowing that we don't communicate well. Then somebody comes along, like I'm going to do with this book phone and says, No, wait a minute. Here's how people communicate. Here's how people understand the world. Here are the different ways that different people understand the world, experience the world, and experience communication."

So they become conscience of the fact that there is a toolkit here that they don't know how to use. Then they become, so now they've become consciously incompetent. Then they start using those tools; they start practicing them. And I hope by the end of this hour, by the end of this day, you and I will have had a conversation that will have delivered at least one good solid tool, or set of tools to folks that they can practice with and perhaps even talk about on our message boards. And so they become consciously competent.

They are doing it, it's working, but they know that they are doing it so they are consciously competent. And it's like riding a bicycle, you know, at that point where you're riding the bicycle, but, you know, dad is still holding the seat kind of thing, and the front wheel is still wiggling like crazy and then he lets go of the seat and OK, I'm consciously riding this bicycle and I think I'm doing this! And then you make the transition from that into "Hey, look, no hands!" you know, "I know how to ride a bike!" And that's unconscious competence. That's where, you know, that's how most of us drive, for example. We don't think about driving. We are not thinking about it so we're unconscious about it but we're competent about it.

And so my goal is to help people make the transition from unconscious incompetence all the way through to unconscious competence. And the first step is highlighting for them, telling them the story, giving them the tools and the first tool has to do with understanding how people hear things, how people see things and how people get things. But we'll talk about that right after the break if that's OK with you Johanna.

[Johanna Vondeling] Sounds great.

[Thom Hartmann] OK. We're talking with Johanna Vondeling of bkconnection.com; Berrett-Koehler publishers.

...

[Thom Hartmann] I'm talking with Johanna Vondeling. She's my editor over at Berrett-Koehler publishers. They published my book " Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class and what we can do about it" and we'll be publishing, coming up in the fall of 2007, my new book "Cracking the Code: the Art and Science of Political Persuasion". And we're talking about that book. Johanna, welcome back.

[Johanna Vondeling] Thank you so much, Thom. Well, before the break we were talking about how what you want to do with "Cracking the Code" is help readers and listeners go from, transition from unconsciously incompetent to consciously competent and in order to do that they have to understand that people communicate differently, they feel differently, experience life differently. Can you talk about the sort of different categories of ways in which people communicate and how they function?

[Thom Hartmann] Sure. There are, we experience the world through our nervous system and, you know, if we were absent our ability to see, to hear, to feel, to notice balance, gravity - we actually have a sense, you know, it's our inner ear - a sense of gravity, our ability to smell, our ability to taste, if we were absent all of those we would have no experience of the world existing, even. So all internal experience begins as some sort of external experience that we then internalize and we have different ways then of encoding and storing and using that information.

And most people rely primarily on one of their sensory systems and they use that sensory system as the primary way of experiencing the world and also as the primary way of storing their own internal metaphors; their own internal memory structures of what the world means and what, you know, how things are. There are, and the three primary ones that people use are visual, auditory and kinesthetic or feeling: our sight, our hearing, and our feeling. Now there are, there is, a small subset of people who have as their primary system taste or smell.

Actually, I actually have a friend who would say things like - we used to do business together - he would say things like, "You know, I love the flavor of that idea". He literally would say that and this was a guy who weighed 350lbs., and so it kind of caught him, you know, a tough one. And in fact I've often thought about writing a book about that, you know, people who sort by food, but that's a whole other, but that's a digression.

But most people, it's either visual, auditory or kinesthetic and as their primary system, we all have all of them available to us, but there are those three primary ones. And a visual person; a person whose primary experience of the world is visual, will reveal that by the way they speak. They will say things like, "I see what you're talking about. Yes, that's clear to me." In fact, they'll say on the phone, "I'll see you later", you know, when they're hanging up the phone. You say, "What? How can you see me now? You know, we're hearing, we're talking". But a visual person will use visual metaphor.

They also tend in their physicality, they tend to stand up straighter, they tend to be more concerned with their appearance, they're usually that kind of every hair in place kind of person, and they tend to hold their head back, hold their chest out, you know, this just kind of up, you know, in the world, to get their eyes as high as possible. auditory people, the second category - and visual people in our culture represent about more or less 70% of people, there's some debate about what the percentage is, but it's a majority.

Auditory people primarily experience the world through sound and through language and they give this away by saying things like, "You know, that sounds good to me. You know, I like the sound of that. That sounds like a great idea. Yes, I hear what you're saying. I'll talk with you later." You know, when they're wrapping up a conversation. And they store stories more than storing pictures like the visual people. The visual people primarily create metaphor that's visual. auditory people will primarily create metaphor that's auditory or that's story-based.

And then there are people who are kinesthetic; who experience things through their feelings. And the auditory people, by the way, are probably 5, 10, 15% - it's really hard to know of our population.

The kinesthetic people are 5, 10, 15%, maybe as much as 20% of our population. And kinesthetics understand the world through their feelings; they translate things into a gut sensation. They'll say things like, "Yeah, I get it, what you're talking about. That's a solid idea. I have a good sense about this. This really feels good to me". And when they're hanging up the phone they'll say things like, you know, "I'll catch you later. Stay in touch. Good reaching out to you." I got an email the other day from a fellow who, very, very kinesthetic, he said, you know, "We need to reach out to these people", you know, and this was a comment that he made. Oh yeah, OK, so that's the world he lives in. It's one where touching people is more important whereas a visual person would want to see people and an auditory person would want to, you know, talk to people…

And so, you know, these are the three primary ways that people understand the world. Now, the key is - and this gets back the original question that you asked about the difference between communicating with individuals and communicating with groups - the key with individuals is you want to try to talk to people in their own representational system so a visual person, you'd use a visual metaphor, auditory person auditory metaphor, kinesthetic person kinesthetic metaphor. With a group it becomes quite different and we can get into the details of that right after this break.

[Johanna Vondeling] OK.

[Thom Hartmann] Great. We're talking with Johanna Vondeling, she's the editor at Berrett-Koehler, bkconnection.com the web site, about my new book "Cracking the Code: the Art and Science of Political Persuasion".

...

[Thom Hartmann] I'm talking with Johanna Vondeling, who is my editor over at Berrett-Koehler publishers, the company that published "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - and what we can do about it", a book that came out this year, and we are discussing a book that we're still working on and that will be coming out in the fall of 2007 called "[i]Cracking the Code: the Art and Science of Political Persuasion[/i]", a book that I am writing, and Johanna and I are just going through some of the things for your edification as well as ours, and also if any of you who are listening, if you have any questions about any of the stuff that I am talking about, give us a call. We'll pop it on the air. Maybe, you know, there are some roads we should wander down here, to use a kinesthetic metaphor, I suppose it could be a visual one, or some directions we should lay our sights on or some stories we should explore, using multiple metaphors. Johanna, welcome back.

[Johanna Vondeling] Thank you very much. Before, a few minutes ago we were talking about what you're trying to do in "[i]Cracking the Code [/i]", the new book, is helping readers move to become consciously competent and in order to do that they have to understand that people experience the world visually or auditorily or kinesthetically and there are some other categories. I have, the question that I have about this is, are people just one of these categories, do they, or are there lots of different pieces, and if so, how do I manage all of this? Somebody who's not a natural communication expert, how do I juggle all these different things I need to keep in my head?

[Thom Hartmann] Mmm. Juggling, a good kinesthetic metaphor. There you go. See, that's how we give ourselves away, with our use of language. Excellent question. The, we are all, we all have all of these senses available to us. Some people are very rigidly locked into one mode but that's really frankly quite rare and it can be even a little disabling. One of the things that I see, that I used to see back when I would do consulting work with schools and things when I was writing on Attention Deficit Disorder and education are kids who are, for example, extremely kinesthetic, my son being one of them, who have a difficult time in public schools because they don't teach in a kinesthetic fashion. There's almost no kinesthetic component to public education. There's no doing; it's all listening or watching and so, for kids who have to do things in order to know them, it can be a real challenge.

But I would suggest that, you know, all of us have all these abilities, it's just that most of us have one primary system as our primary filter and then behind that there are secondary filters and tertiary filters. For example, my primary way of knowing the world is through my ears, is auditory. It's probably why I enjoy doing radio. It's why I started out in radio. I think it's also why I can write reasonably well and love to read, because that's all auditory; it's happening inside my head but I actually hear it inside my head when I'm writing I'm hearing my own voice going out on the page and when I'm reading I'm hearing the voice of the author and the characters.

And, you know, I don't know if that's the experience of people who are visual or not. I know my wife who is, you know, Louise, who is very, very visual, reads about twice as fast as I do, and I've never had this conversation with her. I probably will now. But my guess is that she's reading and grabbing the content just, you know, getting the content, making the pictures in her mind, and I've added a step to it, that I'm making up the sounds, you know, I'm sub-vocalizing.

And in fact in the speed reading course, the Evelyn Wood course, you know, I took one of those back 30 years ago, the first thing they teach you to do is to stop sub-vocalizing, to stop, you know, sounding things out. A lot of people actually even move their tongue a little bit or their vocal chords as they're reading.

So, another for example, our kids; we have three kids. One is quite visual; in fact, she's a graphic artist. One is very kinesthetic, you know, my son that I mentioned, and one is primarily auditory, our youngest. And again, there's not a, you know, hierarchy, a good or bad to any of this; this is just how we all are. And I remember one Christmas we were all together. This was four or five years ago and we were trying to decide what movie to go to. We were going to go out and see a movie, and the newspaper was on the table in front of us and our visual daughter was saying, "Well this looks like, you know, this looks like a good movie. I'd like see that one." And the auditory one is saying, "Yeah, that's OK with me, that sounds fine with me" and our son is like, "Well, I don't know, you know, I don't know". And the oldest is saying, "But just pick one, you know, which one looks best to you?" and he says, "Well, I don't know". And, all of a sudden I got it, and I said, "Justin, which one feels right to you?" and he pointed to one and said, "Well, that one". He knew which one felt right, but nobody had asked him that question. And so, it's a matter of, you know, at the level of individual communication, trying to step into another person's world and communicate to them using the metaphors that they use.

So if I'm talking to someone who's very kinesthetic, I'm going to use language about getting things or having or holding or, you know, the language of using your hands, basically, or experiencing your body.

On the other hand, if I'm talking to somebody who is primarily visual, or somebody who is primarily auditory, I'm going to use that kind of language.

When we get to talking with groups, though, and communicating with groups, then we have to be multimodal. And that's why in our very, and I'm sure you caught this Johanna, because you're familiar with this stuff, when we first started out our communication, this conversation about 30 minutes ago, I was saying things like, you know, my goal is for people to have a clear vision of this toolkit that we're talking about, to hear the stories of it and to have a good solid sense of how they can use these things in the world. And I thought that that, you know, what I'm doing with that is trying to reach, you know, so the auditory people are going, "Oh, he's got something for me", the visual people are going, "Oh, I see what he's talking about", auditory are people going, "Yeah, I hear what he's saying", and the kinesthetic people are saying, or are getting, "Yeah, I can get this", if that makes sense.

[Johanna Vondeling] Yeah. Is there a difference between communicating with people that you think will already agree with you and people who you think are not likely to agree with you? I mean, is it harder, do you need to use different tools to persuade the unpersuaded?

[Thom Hartmann] Well, first of all my goal is not always persuasion; it's understanding and I think that's one of our first goals is to, because if people truly understand situations or positions then they persuade themselves. It's not like we're an external force that's going to make people think a certain thing. When people, typically when people really have a solid understanding of something or clearly see it, hear the stories about something, then they go, "Oh yeah, OK, that makes sense, now I get that". But yes, with somebody who is antagonistic to an idea, it becomes particularly important to present it in the way that they can understand and that makes sense to them.

And we have a couple of callers with some thoughts on this and some questions on this. Shall we bring them in here?

[Johanna Vondeling] Yes, please.

[Thom Hartmann] Sure. Scott in San Diego, you're live and on the air.

[Scott in San Diego] Well good morning, Thom, always a pleasure talking with you and your guest.

[Thom Hartmann] Thank you, Scott.

[Scott in San Diego] Thom, when I read - I'm a writer also - when I read, I see movies.

[Thom Hartmann] Really!

[Scott in San Diego] Yes. When I write I try to convey a more visual type - I write instructional for computers and designing software stuff - and I try to convey a more visual feel so that they can actually see the steps, and I provide some illustrations but primarily text. But it's for me, when I read, and I read a lot, over a thousand words a minute last time I was tested, I literally see the movie play out. So when I'm reading your book "Walking Your Blues Away", I can see the action taking place in front of me.

[Thom Hartmann] That's interesting because I visualize virtually nothing. It's all story to me.

[Scott in San Diego] Now, the second thing that was interesting, and this is what struck me about it, was that I've been listening to your program for a long time, almost since it first came out. I listen to it a lot, and I finally got the message behind the message and it came to me verbally, but then I immediately saw it, the message that came to me verbally was: 'Thom is the good shepherd'. And then I saw you literally on a path with a whole bunch of sheep being the shepherd and protecting the flock. It was really clear.

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah, you see.

[Scott in San Diego] The first thing was auditory. The second thing was visual.

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah, but I'd say it sounds to me, being an auditory like you're primarily visual and that's not a metaphor that I would use to describe myself. I think of myself, again auditorily, I think of myself as a person in room with people having a conversation, rather than, you know, having a protective role. But that's fascinating. Scott, thank you.

[Scott in San Diego] Thank you.

[Thom Hartmann] Thank you for sharing that. Ron in Davis, California, we just have a minute before we have to take a break. Ron, what's up?

[Ron in California] Yeah, we need about 4 hours on this, Thom, but it's a very important thing. I've studied brain neurochemistry quite a bit, and all sensory input, be it auditory etcetera, olfactory, or whatever, has to go through a component in the limbic system, has to go through the thalamus.

[Thom Hartmann] Right, through the thalamus, yeah.

[Ron in California] And so the emotional center gets first shot at all information and within a thousandth of a second it's transferred up to the cortex. And then you can express it through your, you know, the ways you mentioned, but I think you should really consider that because of it's a hot button in the, I could express it auditorily, visually, whatever, but the thing is, what do you do with the heat of the emotions that are always there before the cerebral cortex kicks in?

[Thom Hartmann] Well, the people who are manipulators, I mean, if you think that Willie Horton ads, Bush was using, you know, the fear of racism, and for that matter the more recent ones with Harold Ford, using that racist emotion, which at its core is a protective emotion, actually.

[Ron in California] Yeah, actually it's not a racist emotion, it's fear, hate, etcetera.

[Thom Hartmann] Well, it's fear, and it's 'I want to protect my community, my own, my family'.

[Ron in California] Yeah, until the ? kicks in.

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah, that's right, and yeah, we'll get into that when we get back from this break. Let me talk about that a little more. Ron, thanks for calling and raising that. Johanna, stick around?

[Johanna Vondeling] Yes.

[Thom Hartmann] OK, we'll be right back.

...

[Thom Hartmann] We're talking with Johanna Vondeling, who is my editor over at Berrett-Koehler publishers. They published "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - and what we can do about it", and we have a book coming out this coming year, 2007; the fall of this year. It's going to be 9 months or so before this book is available. It's not even in the catalogs yet, or online. It's going to be called "Cracking the Code: the Art and Science of Political Persuasion". And Johanna, where were we?

[Johanna Vondeling] We were talking about how communicating to individuals requires understanding whether they are visual, auditory or kinesthetic, but that communicating to groups requires one to speak, the speaker to be multimodal which I'm guessing is a combination of all of these?

[Thom Hartmann] Yes.

[Johanna Vondeling] It was really helpful to me earlier when you were explaining how you were able to communicate with your son when he was a kinesthetic when you asked him how he felt and then he was able to respond to that. Can you give some examples of multimodal communication around a particular political message as this book would be about the politics of this? Perhaps healthcare, the minimum wage, the war in Iraq.

[Thom Hartmann] Sure, yeah, excellent question. All of the, any of those three and virtually any political story or any political position, rather, can be reduced to a human story. It can be reduced to the story of humans, of families, of individuals and so the extent, and here I'm starting with my own preferred system, right, the auditory system, but nonetheless. The extent to which you can convey a concept in the context of an individual story is the extent to which it will have power. Very often good writing, good journalistic writing, the Wall Street Journal for example, has some of the very best journalistic writing in the country, and they have forever. Their editorial policy is crazy, is insane, but they hire some of the best writers.

And they almost always start their stories out with the story of a person. They had, yesterday or the day before there was a piece about health care in the United States and it starts out by telling the story of a woman with lupus and, you know, how she's melting down and then they get the fact that she's melting down because she can't go to see the doctor, she can't go to see the doctor because even though she has insurance she can't afford to pay the co-pay and the deductibles, and then that gets into a whole discussion about how our Healthcare system is broken. That's the level at which I would do it.

I would always try to take an issue and frame it in the context of a story and then tell that story in a way that it evokes a picture of an individual. We always relate to individuals. The two units that we most readily relate to are individuals and families, and so, if you can, but particularly individuals. So if you can build a story, 'here's how this is going to affect, you know, my mom on social security', this is, or your mom, or whatever. This is how it's going to affect, you know, this woman in Kansas who has lupus. This is the consequence of it. And do it in a way that paints the picture that describes the scene. I mean, in that Wall Street Journal article they talked about, and it wasn't an attempt at persuasion but it was an attempt at informing and that's the first step, you know, ultimately, in persuading.

It talked about what she looked like, it talked about what her home was like, you know, you get this sense, this picture of this very middle class home, you hear this story, this very middle class home and in fact it was a story about how the middle class is really caught in the middle. There's the very wealthy who can afford the huge deductibles or even very, very expensive insurance, and then there's the working poor and the poor who have nothing virtually. But there's this huge middle class, too, who are just being, you know, thrown into that category at the bottom. So that's what I would do.

[Johanna Vondeling] OK. And that's an example of being multimodal, or?

[Thom Hartmann] Yes, yeah, because you are telling a story, so a person can convey the story, you are, well, for example, again back to the Willy Horton ad that, you know, our last caller brought up, the thing of how about the power of fear and the limbic brain and the, you know, how things get filtered through our emotional brain before they reach our, and first they start actually in our reptile brain, that's where the thalamus is, and then through the limbic brain and then into the cortex; our thinking brain. And the Willie Horton ad was showing images of a murderer that looked scary and pointing out that the guy was a murderer, telling the story that he was scary and then morphing those images into Michael Dukakis and so by the time, and using visual modalities they would use, it was actually a series of two sets of ads, and so for a while they would do these ads with Willie Horton in black and white with a particular type of music behind him and then a few weeks later there was a series of ads with Michael Dukakis in black and white with the same kind of music behind him.

Those had become anchors. They had become physiological, people experience them as feelings. Those pictures and sounds produced a particular feeling set: that's called an anchor and so once you evoke the anchor then you can attach it to something else. So they basically caused people to look at Michael Dukakis and experience the feeling that they felt when they were looking at and thinking about and getting the story of Willie Horton, and that's why it was so devastatingly effective and frankly I wish people had been immunized to it.

Johanna, a useful conversation?

[Johanna Vondeling] Yes, very much so, thank you.

[Thom Hartmann] Thank you so much for your great questions. Good talking with you, and we will talk soon. Johanna Vondeling, of Berrett-Koehler, bkconnection.com, the web site, and our new book is going to be called "Cracking the Code", my new book, "Cracking the Code: the Art and Science of Political Persuasion". It will be out this fall. Thanks so much for being with us.

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Robert Greenwald, political activist and founder and president of Brave New Films
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."