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The Subconscious Shift: New Approaches to Persuasion and Leadership

In goodmorning bsn! by Business School Netherlands

Why is influencing others so challenging, and how can understanding the subconscious mind transform our approach to leadership and communication?

In a thought-provoking session titled “Don’t Push Me, How to Motivate People”, echoing the title of her book, Genieke Hertoghs, a speaker, facilitator, and a pioneer in subconscious influence, answered this fascinating question. With over two decades of experience, Genieke specialises in engaging the subconscious to foster behavioral change, bypassing conventional methods for a more direct impact. Her innovative techniques, rooted in extensive research into subconscious communication, offer new pathways for professional development. Martijn Aslander, known for his insights into technology’s role in reshaping society, provided reflections, enriching the discourse with his perspective on digital transformations and human behavior.

Our efforts to persuade others often fall short due to a crucial oversight: the assumption that people are primarily rational beings open to logical reasoning and clear explanations. To grasp the powerful influence of our subconscious on decision-making, consider this riddle:

Imagine a bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

Instinctively, your answer is probably 10 cents, a swift conclusion that seems to fit the puzzle. However, this answer is incorrect—the correct cost of the ball is actually 5 cents. {x+(x+1.00)=1.10} This discrepancy arises because our subconscious mind, responsible for quick, autopilot decisions, jumps to the most immediate conclusion without engaging in deeper analysis. The moment we apply more focused thought, engaging our conscious mind to dissect the problem, we recognise our initial oversight and arrive at the correct answer. This example illustrates how our subconscious can guide our responses, often bypassing logical reasoning, and highlights the need for awareness in how we approach persuasion and decision-making.

This insight into the subconscious mind’s operation forms the basis of Genieke’s argument for a shift in our approach to influencing behavior and decision-making. Instead of relying on rational arguments, which primarily appeal to the slower, more deliberate conscious mind, she advocates for strategies that engage the subconscious mind directly. This involves leveraging emotions and the ‘autopilot’ decisions that shape much of our daily behavior, significantly influencing our actions and reactions often beyond our conscious awareness.

One of the key strategies Genieke introduces is the concept of ‘pulling’ rather than ‘pushing.’ In communication, ‘pushing’ often involves presenting facts, logic, and reasons in an attempt to persuade. However, this method can meet resistance, as it clashes with the already established beliefs and perceptions held within an individual’s subconscious. Instead, ‘pulling’ involves drawing out a person’s own motivations and aligning them with the desired change. This technique fosters a sense of ownership and personal relevance to the change, making the persuasion process more about guiding than convincing.

For business leaders and communicators, this understanding can revolutionise how we approach leadership, marketing, negotiations, and even everyday interactions. By focusing on techniques that engage the subconscious, we can create a more profound impact, fostering genuine connections and facilitating behavioral change more effectively.

Reflecting on Genieke’s presentation, Martijn pointed out the importance of acknowledging the interplay between technology and human behavior in this context. He pointed out that in a world increasingly mediated by digital interfaces, understanding the subconscious drivers of behavior is more crucial than ever. Technologies shape our perceptions and decisions, often in ways we’re not consciously aware of, making the insights shared by Genieke not just relevant but essential for navigating the digital age.

Gaining new insights into the subconscious mind from Genieke has been a revelation, compelling us to fundamentally rethink our approach to communication and influence. By adopting approaches that resonate with the subconscious mind, we can unlock new potential for influencing change and driving positive outcomes. This knowledge empowers leaders to foster more engaged, motivated teams and enables individuals across all levels of an organisation to communicate more effectively, paving the way for more substantial, lasting transformations.

Understanding the subconscious mind’s influence on decision-making and behavior equips anyone looking to inspire change or persuade others with effective methods. The techniques discussed by Genieke provide practical, impactful strategies for engaging with the subconscious, marking a paradigm shift in how we think about and enact influence.

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Business School Netherlands


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