10 Things I Learned About Business By Playing Poker Professionally [OMP 010]

In this episode, I'll share business tactics that I discovered while playing poker professionally for 7 years such as reading people, spotting the best opportunities and negotiation. In The Offline Ignition Minute, we'll look at establishing a “baseline”.

Show Notes


Hey, this is Nicolas, and welcome to Online Marketing for Profits, episode 10. Finally the double digit number. I'm glad to be recording this one today.

As I'm recording this, I'm actually preparing to attend the Traffic and Conversion Summit in San Diego, hosted by the guys from Digital Marketer. This is a conference I attended last year. I've been following these guys for years and years now. Finally attended last year, and I'm going back this year. It really, really is an awesome conference, filled with a lot of tactics and hacks. It's very hands on. It's very focused on, I think, exactly what I do, solo-preneurs, and people that run home businesses or that want to start home businesses, or that run little, or very small to medium sized companies. Sure, big brands and all that can certainly use these tactics, but I think if you're thinking about starting a business, or if you are running a small business yourself, this is really the conference to attend to. It really is filled with a lot of things that you can take away and start using in your online business the next day.

Looking very much forward to attending it, and if you happen to be in the vicinity, and you happen to attend the conference, I think there were four or five thousand people last year, so quite a bit of people out there, if you happen to be there, just shoot me an email, shoot me a message on Twitter or whatever, try to get a hold of me. Maybe we can catch up and grab a drink or something like that. I'd love to hear about it, so let me know if you're near, if you're in San Diego in February for the Traffic and Conversion Summit.


The episode of today is really something I was looking forward to sharing, because if you listened to episode one, where I introduced myself and shared my back story and what brought me to be a conversion optimization consultant, you know that I actually started … I have a background in engineering, and eventually I left that to play poker professionally. I did that for about seven years, and during that time, it's during that time I was actually starting to build websites around poker, sharing my knowledge, and doing affiliate marketing, and community management, list building and all that. That's really how I really got started in online businesses.

There's a lot of similarities between grinding it out at the poker table, and grinding it out in running a business. There's a lot of things that are in common, if you know what to look for, and there's a lot of things I'm taking away from my poker days … I don't play poker professionally anymore, obviously. I still do from time to time with friends, but very little, compared to what I used to do. But there's a lot of things I'm taking from that time and applying them every day in my online business.

Today I'm going to share with you my top ten things I learned about running a business by playing poker professionally.

1. Know Your Numbers

The number one thing, really, is to know your math. You need to know your numbers. If you're playing poker, we call these odds, and pot odds, and implied odds. The odds of winning a hand, so if you have a jack and a ten in your hand, what are the odds of that hand winning? What are the odds of that hand winning once you get more cards, when you hit the flop?

If you've never played poker before, there might be a few terms here and there that I throw in, that I hope I'm not going to lose you, but I'm going to try to simplify it to the max, so that you can certainly follow along. As you … Typically in Texas hold em for example, you start with two cards, and then as the hand progresses, there are other cards added to the mix. Your odds of winning the hand will change as more and more cards get added. You need to know the odds of your hand winning and how much money you can make from it at pretty much every given second of a hand.

In business, knowing the numbers is crucially important. You need to know, for example, what's your cost of acquisition of a customer, of a lead. How much does that cost you? How much is your maybe lifetime customer value? If you're selling a product or service, how much does, on average, one single customer, how much did they spend on average?

For example, if your cost of acquisition is $12 dollars, but you know that your lifetime customer value is, let's say $84, obviously it's a good deal for you to continue to advertise, and keep focusing on acquiring new customers.

It's really, really important to know these numbers, because you can easily get astray, and start thinking that you're making money, while you're not. Also, it helps you focus on what's more important. For example, if you want to grow your traffic, but you don't know what your cost of acquisition is, you can easily be spending way too much money and not knowing exactly if it's going to be worthwhile. If you know what your conversion rate on a single page is – something I work with every single day with clients – you need to know, what would maybe doubling that conversion rate, how much would that effect your revenue? That's really important.

If you've never watched Shark Tank, it's really a show that I recommend people watch. It's a really good crash course into basic business fundamentals. One of the things that they really stress out is, you need to know these numbers. If you watch these days, you'll see that people don't make that mistake, but if you go back and watch episodes from season one or two, you'll see that some people come up on the show, and they barely know these numbers, and they get really smacked by the sharks telling them that they need to know these numbers, because if they don't, they're kind of shooting darts in the dark sometimes. Number one thing, really, know your numbers.

2. Pick Your Spots

The second thing is, it's really important to pick your spots. Don't try to do everything at the same time. Do one thing right. In poker, you can say that it's important to select a table that's going to be, perhaps, your best opportunity to win. Before you sit down at a table to play … I'm not necessarily talking about a Friday night game at your friend's, but if you go to a casino, oftentimes you have a choice of maybe 5, 10, 15, 20 tables that you can play at. You don't have to sit down at the first table you walk across. You can take a step back, watch what they're doing to see if there's some good players in there or some pretty bad players, and then maybe you can say, “Okay. I'm good enough to beat this game. I see these mistakes being done at the table. I'm going to sit on this one.”

In the same way, in poker, we never play all the hands. There's some hands that are not good enough, they don't win often enough, to even warrant playing them. As you get those trash hands, like we call them, we just throw them away and move on to the next one. Picking your spots and picking your table is really, really, crucially important in poker. If you don't do these things right, you're just going to lost from the start.

In business, it means focusing on the best business opportunities. It means not doing everything at the same time. If you're running a blog, you're trying to get affiliate offers to it, you need to decide what's your biggest opportunity, and to do that right. It might be that you need to blog every day to get more traffic, get more clicks on your affiliate offers that you're pushing, and that might be your sole focus. It might be that you already have a lot of traffic, and now you're trying to build your email list. You need to focus on getting more people to your opt in page, getting them to convert, and maybe working on your email strategy, email follow ups after that. You don't want to get sidetracked by then going to do, “I'm going to work on my Twitter, I'm going to do YouTube videos, I'm going to do Instagram, I'm going to post blogs, I'm going to come up with a video course, I'm going to work on getting leads, I might do a podcast, then I'm going to do a Facebook page, and I'm going to do all that, this and that,” it's really, really … It's close to impossible to be successful in all of this. You're playing all the hands basically you don't want to do that. You want to focus on the best opportunities, your best hands, and really focus just on those.

In the same way, when you're playing poker, it's okay to switch tables after you discover it's too hard to win at your table. Sometimes maybe the players at your table will change. It was a table you were able to beat an hour ago. Now the two worst players have left, and now you discover that this table is too hard to win, “I'm going to switch.”

The same thing in your business, you can certainly say, “A year ago it was okay to work on these tactics on Twitter. Nowadays everybody does it, so I'm going to move on to something else.”

Also, don't play games that you don't understand. Even if you see lots of people making money from them. It goes back to playing all the hands, and focusing on the best business opportunities. Oftentimes we see, there's a lot of courses on pretty much everything that has to do with online marketing. It doesn't necessarily mean that if someone else is making money from it, you can too, or it's going to be easy to do it too. Focus on one thing you're good at, do it well, and maximize that opportunity.

3. Be “Tight Aggressive”

Number three. In poker, we have a saying that says, “It's important to be tight aggressive.” Tight aggressive means that once you've picked your spot, once you've selected the table, once you've picked a hand that's a winner, it's important to be aggressive. You're tight in the sense that you don't play everything, you don't focus on all the opportunities, and you're aggressive, meaning that once you've picked one that you think is a good opportunity, you go all in at it.

In poker, we say we go all in. We'll pick a hand, and we say, “This is a hand I think can win over the hands of my competitors. I'm going to put as much money as I can in the pot to maximize the return, because this right now is the best hand.” That's a good strategy. You don't want to do that every hand, because again, some hands are losers, but if you do it enough with your strongest hands, and someone else follows you and puts the same amount of money in the pot with worse hands, you're bound to make money in the long run, and that's what you're looking for. You need to be aggressive with those spots that you decide to pick.

In business, it means be willing to sometimes take some risks if the situation is good. If you're presented with an opportunity to, let's say invest in something else, you're presented with an opportunity to maybe buy a property, or to set up a course that might be something different that people are not expecting, you think there's a bit more risk involved in that … If you think that the risk is worth the reward, then go for it. It's all about having a positive expected value.

The same way that, when you are dealt a pair of aces in Texas hold em, you're not guaranteed to win, but you have the best chance to win out of everyone at the table, because pair of aces is the best hand. You're not going to win all the time, but it's certainly a risk you typically want to take, and you want to put as much money in the pot as you can.

In business, if the situation has a positive expected value, you go for it. Unless, and there's a quick caveat, unless the stakes are too high, and you risk losing everything. In the same way, don't play with money you can't afford to lose. This applies, for example, in poker, in a tournament. In a tournament, at the end … Especially at the end where you can make a lot of money, that's where the money is, there can be some situations where the stakes are too high, you risk losing, for example, your entire stack – all the chips you have in front of you – for a reward that's not really there.

For example – I'll give you a quick example – in poker tournaments, sometimes the buy in – the amount of money you need to pay to get into a tournament – is too high for a lot of people. For example, some tournaments have a $10,000 buy in, so not everyone can afford that, obviously. How we do it is, we run what we call satellites, or super satellites. Basically, a super satellite is a tournament, might be 100 people in it. Everyone pitches in $1,000. Instead of paying $10,000, we pay $1,000, and now there's – if there are 100 players – there is $100,000 dollars it the pool, divided by the entry fee, which is $10,000 dollars – that's the tournament we want to get in – it means there are ten spots for the hundred players. Everyone pitches in $1,000, there are 100 players, that's $100,000 dollars, but we want to get into a $10,000 dollar tournament, it means there are ten spots in the tournament.

We play the super satellite. It's a normal tournament. We play it out, and we play until we go from 100 players to ten players, and those ten players will get a voucher to play in the big $10,000 tournament. What happens if there are 11 players left? There are 11 players left, and you have the biggest amount of chips out of all the 11 players left, and you're dealt a pair of aces. I said before, this is a positive expected value. You have a very good hand. You should go for it and put all the chips you want in front of them. But this is the difference. You don't need to, in this instance. If you just fold the pair of aces, you're just very much likely, because you have the most amount of chips, to get into the top ten and get your seat for the big event. In that situation, the stakes are too high. You risk losing everything if you happen to lose with your aces, which happens from time to time. It's a risk you don't need to take.

That happens also in business, when you're faced with some situations where it may be you're asked to put a lot of your revenue, a lot of your bank roll, your business bank roll, into a [inaudible 00:17:29] situation that, if it doesn't turn out good, you lose everything. That's something that you want to be aware of when we talk about gambling and being willing to take risks, even if the situation is good.

4. It's Much Harder To Win When You Have More Competitors

Number four. If there are too many competitors, sometimes our irrational, or inexperience, or whatever it is, even if you're the best one, it's a lot harder to win. You might be the best copywriter out there, or you might be the best SEO guy. You might be the best at something that really differentiates you from the pack, and that's great. It doesn't mean that you can win at, for example, coming up with an online business.

In poker, going back to that big tournament example, even if you're the best player out there, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to win all the time. It doesn't work that way. Poker has an amount of luck involved, and at some point, the larger the number of competitors in the tournament, it's going to be much, much harder to win the tournament.

Quick example. If you're playing a 5,000 player tournament, you're going to win a lot less often than if you're playing a five person tournament. If there are too many competitors in your business niche, if you're in too big of a market, you need to scale down and niche, and find the niche where you can be the best in a much smaller niche, and at least differentiate yourself that way.

It's going to be a lot harder to win when you go for these big markets, and those too large of a market where there are too many competitors, and people are being bombarded left and right from sales messages in these markets. For example. Health is a good example of money making, big markets, that if you're being too broad, it's going to be very, very difficult, or almost impossible, to win. You need to scale down, so you need to be like, “I'm going to show you a way to get abs,” instead of, “I'm going to show you a way to lose weight,” because lose weight is way too large. Get abs is something much, much smaller, and even that is probably too niche, it's probably not niche enough, but you get the idea. You need to shoot a lot less large when you go after these markets, because there are too many competitors in the big markets.

5. Master Human Behavior & Personal Branding

Number five is about human behavior and branding. When I first started playing poker, I basically focused on the four ingredients I talked about today, which are knowing your numbers, picking your spot, don't play all the hands, being aggressive when I do have a good hand, and focusing on games I can beat and not – even if I'm the best one – staying away from maybe games that are too difficult or too many competitors and all that.

Then, I kind of stumbled upon some books that made me realize that this human behavior part in poker, what we call poker tells, is really a crucial ingredient into having overall success. It's not as important as the math, it's not as important as the rest, and I think it's the same in business, but if you add that to your arsenal, it's really, really a good way to maximize your chance of being successful.

In poker … Poker is a great, great … There's a great correlation with playing poker, especially when the stakes are high, so in the tournament, when there's big money involved, or if you're playing high stakes poker, then if you are negotiating a business deal with some potential business partners, or maybe you're doing a pitch, so you sell your product or services in front of a valuable client that you really, really want to sign. There's a big correlation.

The big correlation is, these are highly, highly stressful moments. When stress is involved, typically human beings start to display different facial expressions, gestural cues, that give out how they're feeling at that moment. In poker, it means that if they have … If they're bluffing, for example, they could be totally giving out some tells that tell you that they're not comfortable, that they don't want you to call the hand, that they want you to fold because they're bluffing. If they have a super strong hand, they might be giving out signals that they're super confident, that they want you to call, they want you to continue because they're not afraid, they're not stressed at all. Because of the situation, because they think they have the best hand.

In business, it goes the same way. Like I said, if you're presenting a very important business pitch, and you're trying to understand how the people that you're talking to are reacting to what you're saying, if you want to maybe course correct, maybe you said something that they're … You want to know if they're understanding what you're saying, if you're getting your point across correctly, or if maybe you said something that you feel, “I missed the mark here. They're uncomfortable with what I said. I need to course correct,” this is … Learning how to read other people is really, really important, because you can basically save the day when you can course correct accordingly, and [inaudible 00:23:14] the situation, when you maybe made a blunder. You didn't even know it would be a blunder, but you realized that the other people you're talking to were not expecting that, and that made them feel uncomfortable. You want to stop that, and being able to read them in the first place is something really, really important. That's why I added these offline ignition minutes into the podcast every show, to give you an extra bit of layer into your arsenal as a business person, even though most of the interactions we do, running an online business, are online, and not offline, being able to read people when we do meet them offline is crucially important.

Learn how to read people correctly. It's a skill that can last a lifetime, because really, people, their behavior won't change, and it's really important. In the same way, learning how to brand yourself and present yourself in a good way that people feel confident about the way that they are perceiving you, is equally important. Learning more about body language and facial expressions, and how to read people, and how to present yourself the right way, is a key skill I think that everybody in business should try to learn.

There were the first five things I learned about business by playing poker professionally. Knowing your numbers, picking your spot and selecting the table, selecting the best business opportunities, be aggressive and be willing to take a risk if the situation is positive, unless the stakes are too high. If there are too many competitors, if you're in too big of a market, you need to niche down, and learn human behavior, body language, and it will last you, like I said, a lifetime, so it's really important to do so.

On that note, we'll break for the offline ignition minute, where I talk about your body language as entrepreneurs, and we'll be back after that to talk about things six to ten that I learned. We'll talk about negotiation, chance, cheating, and things like that. I'm looking forward to sharing that with you after the offline ignition minute. [Click Here For the Offline Ignition Minute]

6. Speaking First is Often a Disadvantage

Business tactic number six is about negotiation. One thing I learned about negotiation, and you probably have heard this before. It's not necessarily a big surprise, but sometimes, if the situation is right, it's important to speak second. Let the other party speak first. In poker, we call this playing with position. Depending on how the hand is structured, there's some hands that you're going to speak after other players, there are some hands that you're going to speak before other players. The hands that you are in position – meaning that you're speaking after – you always have that little extra information that you could use to your advantage.

If I know that my opponent has bet $100 dollars, or has raised to $500 dollars, or maybe has folded his hand, obviously that's information I would not have known if I had to act first. It's really important in poker to, when you're in position, to leverage that extra information to your advantage.

In negotiation, when you're negotiating a deal with someone else, oftentimes it's a good idea to let them speak first. Let them give out information. Let them speak as much freely as they want to. It's not necessarily always because you're negotiating a deal together. Sometimes it's going to be impromptu information you get when you're just grabbing drinks together, and now it makes you wonder about something they said, and maybe they're giving out too much information and they shouldn't be doing that.

It's always good to let the other person talk as much before you act, so you can use all the extra information you have to take the best, most informed business decision that you can. Going back to negotiation, for example, which is I think the best way to illustrate this, if I'm going to say I want to buy a website out from someone else, I'm not going to say, “Hey, I'm going to offer you $10,000 dollars for this website.” I'm going to say, “Is your website for sale?” And, “How much would you be willing to let it go for?” They might say, “$7,000.” Now I just saved some money, and everybody is happy.

The same way that, if I'm in the process of moving houses, I just sold my own house, I had to speak first in this example, because the way that the housing market is structured, and the was the rules are, when I put my house for sale, I need to say what the price is going to be. In a sense, I'm speaking first. That could be something good, too, sometimes, because I'm setting the bar. If you think that your opponent – going back to poker – if I'm speaking first and I think my … Let's say there's $100 dollars in the pot, and I'm thinking, “I'm not sure if I have the best hand here, but I'm willing to pay maybe $30 dollars to see what my opponent has, and see if I win the pot. That's okay, but I wouldn't want to pay more than $30 dollars.” That's okay, but if I check … If I let my opponent bet first, now he might be betting $50, $70, whatever it is, and now I'm not sure anymore. Is he bluffing? Does he have the best hand? This is more than $30, so I'm going to fold my hand and not really know if I had won.

A good way to do that is just to put in a kind of a teaser bet. I'll put in the $30 myself in the pot and see what he does. If he wasn't sure himself, he might call the $30 and we'd get to see who wins the hand, and that's what I wanted, but if he's really strong he might raise the bet to let's say $120 or whatever, that I know I'm beat, and I can safely fold the hand.

Sometimes speaking first is okay, and in the case of selling my house, obviously we needed to come up with a number, and we decided to come up with the highest in the range that we thought people could be interested in our house, so that we set the bar high, and then we could negotiate it down for the actual price that we really wanted to get. That's something that you can use to your advantage too. When you feel, for example, that the other party is also wants you to speak first, you can decide, “Okay, I'm going to speak first, but I'm going to set the bar really high,” but typically, it's better to let the other party just simply speak first, gather as much information as you can, then after that you can act accordingly.

7. Don't Assume You Suck Because You Failed

Number seven. Don't assume – this is really important in poker, but this is really, really important also in business – Don't assume you made the right decision because you won. Also, most importantly, don't get discouraged if you lost. In poker, luck is extremely important. I think it's important also in businesses. If you happen to win a hand, or to win a tournament, a poker tournament, it's not necessarily because you are the best player, or you were the best player that day. Maybe you got super lucky that day, and that happens all the time, and it just happens that it was your day, and that's why you won.

If I'm to play against the world champion of poker, I'm not … Today, if I'm going to play one hand, or even during the whole day, or the whole week, I might beat him, because short term luck is more important, but if I were to play him every day for the next year, or for the next ten years, then the luck short term is going to even out, and he's probably going to beat me, because I'm not a world champion.

Don't assume you made the right decision because the turnout came positive. I knew a guy that was hanging around a poker circle I was very part of when I played poker professionally, and he happened to win a big tournament. He won, say $50,000 dollars, and was really happy with it, and I knew from the kind of questions he asked in internet forums when we were discussing strategies and all that, I knew from my experience of playing poker professionally that he wasn't that good. He had major flaws in his game, but he happened to win that big tournament, and good for him, but what that did is, he thought then suddenly that he was the best poker player ever, and that's basically the last tournament he ever won.

The same way, you're not the best hockey player if you score three goals and win your first game, or if you happen to get a hole in one in golf, that doesn't make you a professional golfer.

In business, it's kind of the same thing. Sometimes we make decisions that turn out to be very positive, and maybe it's just short term luck that happened to be the reason why we were successful. Equally as important, it's important not to get discouraged if the results aren't there. You need to persevere, and you need to work at it, because short term luck, again, is important.

For example, maybe you've been working on your website for a year maybe now, and you've been working on SEO tactics, tactics that work today, and then Google makes an update, and your traffic crumbles. Don't get … Maybe you were making the right decisions, maybe you weren't, but one thing's for sure, don't get discouraged by that. If you think you were making sound business decisions, just continue at it and rebuilt. That's number seven.

8. Stay Updated to New Trends… Always

Number eight, and this is so on point I think for internet marketing, is that the game changes all the time. It's important to read, discuss, and try to learn every day about the game. In poker, as players evolve, so will the tactics and strategy. When I first started playing poker, back in 1999-2000, way before it was mainstream, and you had poker shows on TV and all that, the tactics were very different, because you didn't get very knowledgeable players at the table. If you just knew a little bit more than they did, you were likely to be successful, and you happened to know a lot more than they did, making money and being profitable was almost easy.

As the game changed, and poker became more mainstream, there started to be a lot more players involved, a lot more players that were educated about the proper strategy and all that, and that made the games a lot tougher. That meant that you needed, again, to kind of evolve your tactics yourself, your strategy to beat those games.

Online marketing is kind of the same way. What worked three years ago – I think SEO might be the best example – as Google makes updates, we need to change your strategy. As we move from desktop to mobile businesses and all that, obviously your tactics, your online marketing needs to change.

If I had been doing video marketing ten years ago, I certainly would not have been very successful, because the devices and the speed to which we all get internet now these days certainly wasn't the same ten years ago, but nowadays obviously some people make a living out of doing video blogs, and just being YouTube superstars and things like that. Something that was never possible ten years ago. You need to stay updated with blogs, magazines, video course, conferences – that's why I'm attending that conference next couple of weeks. Stay updated, and make sure that you know the latest trends, the latest tactics. Doesn't mean applying them all. You need to decide, you need to focus on the best business opportunities and don't start shooting all over the place. You need to focus on just very few key things to make your business grow, but you still need to be updated, because that's the best way to find new tactics and new ways to market and to be a better online marketer. The best way to do that is really just to read what other people do, buy video courses, buy offline courses, or whatever it is, and attend conferences, so you know what's out there, and you can apply some of these, the best ones for you, in your business.

9. Never, Ever Cheat

Number nine is don't cheat. Cheaters never win in the long run. That's probably the best … In poker, if you've seen the movie Rounders, for example, which is a classic … You'll see that some of the players in the movie are more shady. They deal from the bottom, and they signal other players. In the end, it doesn't turn out too well for them, but the players that stick to sound poker strategy tend to do better.

Back in the days, before there was poker in all the local casinos, in Vegas and all that, players would play underground games, and if you happened to get caught cheating, you could get shot and all that, so you didn't want to do that, but nowadays in casinos, obviously you can get barred, you can get arrested. Certainly not something you want to get into.

In online marketing, cheaters are often people that want to take shortcuts. You had that craze of spinned content, and content that some software could spit out that would change the words … You could copy an article online, you could spit it into that software, and it would spit out an article that basically gave the same content, but used different words, so that Google didn't think it was … You had copied it. Google eventually caught up with that, and penalized those that did that. Black hat SEO has been around for quite a bit of times, still is, but typically Google is smarter than those people, and once they catch you, once they update, you're basically building a business until Google catches you, and makes a big update to crash your business, and then what? You're much better to build a sound business built on sound online marketing tactics that are built for the long run, and you're much more likely to succeed long term.

10. Be Patient and Grind it Out

Finally, the last thing I learned about business by playing poker professionally, is just to be patient. Everything I've discussed today so far has been, it's important to pick your best opportunities, don't play all the hands, be sure to read as much as you can, discuss and learn every day, don't get discouraged if you lose, don't cheat, don't shortcut anything. These are all ways to make sure that you are patient, and that you think long term, that you work hard at it and never quit. That's really, really important. There are some days when you play poker that you're just not getting the good hands. You're playing a tournament, and man, you're just getting killed with the amount of junk hands that you have, but you know that the best decision is to fold them, and not even play them, but you fold and fold and fold for hours long, until maybe some five hours after, you start to get a good run of cards. Then you have all those hands that you can play and bank on.

You need to be patient in your online businesses the same way. Work at it, think about the long term, and never quit. That, I think, encapsulates the best thing I learned about business by playing poker, is just to be patient and work at it hard.

Thanks for listening today to this episode. These are things I use every day in my online businesses. I think these are great business mantras to adhere to, and to make sure that you are sound, and make the right business decisions. If you ever meet me, if you want a few tips on poker, I'm here also, if you want me to share a few strategies, or you want to discuss a hand or two that you played that you're not sure about the strategy on, really, I'd be glad to share my thoughts with you. In the meantime, if you want the show notes, the links, and the transcript for this episode, go to onlinemarketingforprofits.com/10. That's number ten, so one, zero.

Here's one thing I want you to do for me. The show has been featured in the new noteworthy of iTunes. I talked about that last time. I'm really, really proud, and I'm really appreciative of the support I've had so far, but I want you to give me a rating. If you haven't subscribed on iTunes yet, go ahead and subscribe so you don't miss out any future episodes, but give me a rating, too. Give me a rating, or maybe a comment, so I know what you think. If you have a question, anything you want to share about improving the podcast, I'm really, really looking forward to having some feedback and knowing what you guys like, and especially what you guys maybe don't like I can work on, so I can make this podcast even better. I appreciate it in advance, to go to iTunes and reach out for me over there. I appreciate it.

Next time on the show, we're going to talk about Instagram. Instagram is kind of a new way for a lot of businesses online to generate revenue, and I've got a very special guest that will talk about how to grow your Instagram account, and there's some great tactics in there. I'm sure probably a few of those that you have never heard of. I sure was really floored when I did the interview, and I got to find out about these tactics. I'm certainly going to apply all of them to my own Instagram account. I'm looking forward to publishing this interview next week. In the meantime, meet me on onlinemarketingforprofits.com and I'll see you next time.

In this offline ignition minute, I want to talk about establishing a baseline, and what is that all about. If you listened to the offline ignition minute in the episode eight and nine of the podcast, you listened to what I presented, stress-induced gestures, facial cues, non-verbals that are related to stress or a situation, or maybe you have a higher level of anxiety. Someone say something that maybe we're uncomfortable with, makes us uncomfortable, and we react a certain way because of the stress, the higher stress level.

That's all nice and dandy, but these gestures and facial cues I talked about in those episodes aren't the only reason why someone might display those. We all have tics, we all have mannerisms that we do all the time, sometimes because, yes, we might be a bit more nervous, but also sometimes just because we're comfortable, just used to doing so. It's really important to, when you are trying to read someone, especially for the first time, to do what we call is establish a baseline.

I want you to think about a polygraph test. I'm sure you've seen moments in movies and TV shows where someone is passing a polygraph test. What did they do? They plug all these things on him or her, and then what they do it, they ask them random, monotonous question. What's your name? What's your age? What's your address? What's your occupation? Obviously, these are questions meant to put the subject at ease, but also these are questions that they know the answer to, and they know the answer is a cold, hard fact. Your name is not something you can play around with. You only have one name. You only have one age. Your date of birth. Your occupation, whatever it is. These are questions that are meant to establish a baseline, meaning that on their graph there, on their polygraph, they're meant to say, “This is how this subject answers when he's comfortable, and he's telling the truth,” so that when they ask the subject tougher questions, and questions he might lie to, then the graph is going to be different than what it was when they were establishing the baseline and asking him or her those fact based questions.

That's what you're trying to do when you first meet someone for the first time. Try to notice how they're sitting, how they move their hands, how, maybe what kind of facial expressions do they do? What do they do with their lips? Are they rubbing them against each other? How do they talk, and how do their facial expressions, where their facial muscles work? Basically, what you're trying to do is establish a baseline. You're trying to say, “Okay, this person might have a tic,” maybe every now and then they start to wring their hands together, or whatever it is, and now you know that even in a comfortable situation, this is something that this person does, so that when maybe you catch it later, in a situation where you might feel like that person could be experiencing a higher level of stress, you're not misreading the situation. You're not thinking, “Ah, there might be something here that is making this person more uncomfortable, or she's more stressed here.” No, because when you were establishing a baseline in the first place, you noticed that this person does this naturally.

Always remember to establish a baseline before. Try to read their cues, see how they're sitting, how they're moving, where are their legs, their hands, what are their facial expressions, so that when, at some point, you might think, “Is this more sensitive to this person? Is this making them more anxious?” You'll know that they're just kind of digressing from their baseline, and now you know that you might be on to something. You can maybe course correct, and make sure that they're more comfortable, and they're more at ease with what you just said. All right? Good luck with that.


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