The Art Of Persuasion with Jay Heinrichs and Digital Innovation with Claire Díaz-Ortiz

Being persuasive is a very important skill. Rhetoric, a form of persuasion, was one of the original liberal arts and was considered to be the most important thing for a future leader of an empire to learn. Jay Heinrichs, author of the New York Times bestseller, Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion, says rhetoric is the fastest growing discipline in higher education today. What it comes down to is the ability to bring people together and allow them to make choices. Jay says it’s a great way to get past the tribalism that hurts us all today, and at the same time, it makes you a more persuasive person so you can get what you want.
Claire Díaz-Ortiz has been called everything from “The Woman Who Got the Pope on Twitter” by Wired to “Force for Good” from Forbes. Claire is an author, speaker, and innovation advisor who was an early employee at Twitter where she was hired to lead corporate social innovation. She’s written a lot of very successful books including Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time, as well as co-authoring One Minute Mentoring. Claire shares how she got involved Twitter, the idea of digital innovation, leading by example, and making online connections.

TTL 230 | The Art Of Persuasion

I’m glad you joined us because we have Jay Heinrichs and Claire Diaz-Ortiz here. Jay is a New York Times bestselling author. He’s got a lot of interesting books and he’s a persuasion expert. Claire Diaz-Ortiz is an author, speaker and advisor. She’s known for being the one who got the Pope to use Twitter.

Listen to the podcast here

The Art Of Persuasion with Jay Heinrichs

I am here with Jay Heinrichs, who’s the author of the New York Times bestseller Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion. Published in thirteen languages, it ranks among the top ten books assigned by the faculty at Harvard. His latest book is How to Argue with a Cat: A Human’s Guide to the Art of Persuasion. Another book, Word Hero, teaches the persuasive art of witcraft. His clients include Southwest Airlines, Wharton School of Business, NASA, and that’s to name a few. I’m excited to have you here, Jay.

It’s a pleasure, Diane.

TTL 230 | The Art Of Persuasion
Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion

My dad was obsessed with doing witty twists of phrases. He would be interested in this conversation because you have a cute way with your titles, and you’re witty in the things you do. The cat aspect, the Homer Simpson aspect, there’s a lot to those that interest me. I’m anxious to find out more about what you write about. I love the Homer Simpson angle. I’ve never had a cat; I’m more of a dog person. I’m anxious to hear why you picked cats. The title reminds me when I interviewed John Tamny. His books of why we need the Fed and some of the things he brought in Taylor swift and other more topical things from the time to appeal to people. When you throw Homer Simpson into the mixture, what do I need to know from Homer? I’d like to start with that a little bit. What made you pick Homer Simpson? To combine him with Aristotle and Lincoln, that’s quite a combination.

When my son was fifteen years old, I was in the throes of writing my first book on the art of persuasion, Thank You for Arguing. I was struggling to talk about logic; particularly fallacies in a way that wouldn’t bore even me to tears. My son, at age fifteen, he said, “Have you ever watched The Simpsons?”and I hadn’t. He said, “All their humor is based on screwing up logic.”I went and rented all these DVDs at the time and watched endless episodes of The Simpsons. He was right. Their humor is based on violations of logic. I ended up writing this whole chapter on fallacies based on Homer Simpson.

What was your favorite Homer episode? What brought home the message the most to you?

There’s one particular fallacy that screws us up all the time and his cool Latin name that I can’t pronounce, but it comes down to what I call the fallacy equality. If you say something, contained something, or is related to something, it’s the same thing. At one point Homer Simpson offers his nerdy daughter Lisa a donut, and she says, “No thanks, dad. Do you have any fruit?”He says, “This donut has purple. Purple is a fruit.”It’s stupid as that sounds. You think of how often we fall for food labels that say all natural in them or that contain real fruit juice, which could be as bad as a Coke.

Those cartoons like Family Guy and Homer Simpson are intelligently written. To be that stupid, you have to be pretty bright to be able to write some of the stuff they write.

The highlight of my career was when the writers of the Simpson said that this language blog that I was doing,, was the nerdiest blog on the internet. I couldn’t sleep that night. I was screaming like a fanboy.

You’re bringing up important skills. Being persuasive is an important skill. You talk about a persuasion called rhetoric. A lot of people are confused by rhetoric. I’m interested in hearing your definition of it and what we need to know about it.

This is my big life’s cause. It was one of the original liberal arts. It was considered to be the most important thing for a future leader of an empire to learn. It was taught to noble boys, girls at the time weren’t supposed to talk, to prepare them for leadership. It survived for centuries as a key element of higher education up until the early 1800s. Every one of the American founders learned rhetoric, even Benjamin Franklin who didn’t get beyond grammar school. He studied rhetoric himself. Those principles ended up in the Declaration of Independence and particularly in the Constitution. The fact that most of us haven’t studied that, is a shame because we don’t even understand what the founders themselves did.

It’s considered the fastest growing discipline in higher education. It is a standard in AP English language. What it comes down to, is the ability to bring people together and allow them to make choices and comment. It’s a great way to get past the tribalism that hurts us all. In a more selfish level, it’s an awesome way to get what you want. It makes you a more persuasive person.

I’m writing a book on curiosity and I’m anxious to get people to become more curious and to develop skills. A lot of people don’t develop their skills because they have fear or they assume they’re not going to be interested in this subject. Technology holds them back, their environment, or family. I met a young, eighteen-year-old girl. I asked her if she’s going to college because her mother was there, she was like, “Talk her into going to college.” I asked her if she was going and she said, “She didn’t like math.” “I don’t like reading, I don’t like school.”

I go, “What are you going to do for a job?” She goes, “She wants to cut hair.”I said, “You can still do that and go to school.”We were talking and I was trying to persuade her. She had an answer for everything of why it was such a bad idea. She doesn’t know how to do it. She doesn’t want to do it. She’s going to fail. How do you deal with people who are closed-minded to something and they don’t even know why? They’ll give you every answer that puts them in the corner so that there is no solution to their problem.

I do a lot of consulting work. One of the most important elements in almost everything I do with clients has to do with people’s self-identity. It’s related to something that Aristotle wrote about, which is what he called character ethos. A lot of times when people are not doing what’s good for them, it’s tied to their identity. I do a lot of work to people who are unmotivated to exercise but wish they could be. It’s similar to this girl who wants to cut hair. The first thing people will say is if you say, “People work out successfully, get up early in the morning.”I immediately hear, “I’m not a morning person.”My whole identity is tied to my head on the pillow.

The great thing to get through this identity thing is not to try to deny the girl’s identity.“I am a person who cuts hair. I am not a person who studies,” and it could be that she is interested in cutting hair. This may not be an out for her and you have to find that out. One thing to do is ask her a lot about hair, about hairstyles, about the stuff you use to cut hair. Get more detail then let her talk. Praise her identity, this is critical.

I worked with a major healthcare company to help train pediatricians to talk to parents who were resistant against vaccination. The doctors were trying to scare the mothers with facts. Instead I said, “These mothers are trying to protect their children. Let’s use that because that’s what vaccination is. There are ways to reframe that whole issue.”With haircutting, you could do the same thing. There’s a lot to cutting hair. You’re running a business, you’re dealing with customers. You have to keep up with fashion. You’ve studied this, use terms like that. I gradually steer her around to, “What’s cool about college is that it’s not all about taking calculus. There are all kinds of things that you can study that will lead to your being the most awesome hair cutter in the world.”

Many people do that thing where they want a job. They don’t like their job but they close their mind to anything. They want it to be one answer and nothing else, but they don’t like that answer. I see that in work. You’ve seen people get in arguments with colleagues, with clients and they can’t get anywhere with them. Is there a particular skill that helps you get to people that put themselves in that position? Other than saying, “Yes, I agree with this or that,” that you said. Is there anything else that you can do?

We’re in a slightly different realm here when you talk about arguments. The most important thing to know is the distinction between an argument and a fight. In a fight, the goal is simply to win. In the case you’re talking about, it sounds like it’s one person trying to convince another person who’s plain stubborn. What is important here is to have a couple of tools in your back pocket to pull out at times like that. Make sure that the emotion in the room is where you want it to be.

One of the principles of rhetoric is the easiest thing to do is to change the mood. Harder than that is to change a person’s mind. Hardest of all is to get them to do something or stop doing what they’re doing. The first thing you do is get the relationship intact. Make sure that you’re not acting like a jerk, but you’re the grownup in the room. I tell people to send love beams out of their eyes. It resets your brain. I sound insane doing it, but people get back to me saying, “It works because I pretend I love the person and they pretend to love me back.”There’s love in the room.

TTL 230 | The Art Of Persuasion
The Art Of Persuasion: The easiest thing they do is to change the mood. The hardest is to get them to do something or stop doing what they’re doing.

Here’s a great tool for any argument. Think what tense you’re in. The past tense is where crimes had been committed, where you screwed something up. The present tense is about values. What’s good and what’s bad? What’s morally right or wrong? Who’s bad and who’s good? That often gets people upset. The other tense which is the most useful in any argument, is the future tense. You can say, “Let’s talk about how to solve the problem. Let’s not dwell on how big a jerk I am or the mistake I made in the past,” or, “All the times we failed at trying what you don’t want to do.” Let’s talk about the future and how we’re going to solve this specific problem. You’ll often find that that immediately takes the anger and the anxiety out of the room.

I’ve had a lot of students who I’ve taught, when they come at me angry, I will go the other direction in kindness and they don’t know how to respond to that. That popped into my mind when you said the other thing about shooting love out of your eyes. It does help because it disarms people too in how they would come back with their next words and their reactions. You also mentioned values. I was thinking of the Myers-Briggs a training that I’d received. I know a lot of people don’t like Myers-Briggs, but some people live by it.

The F personality types make their decisions based on their values, where the T personality types use more logic, statistics, figures and facts. It’s not so much based on their values. Do you buy into any of that? That there are some people that is value-based that they’re harder to negotiate with? What do you think about that as far as what we were talking about? I had a zero in F.I didn’t have any F, so apparently, I don’t make any of my decisions based on my values at all. I recognize other people do. I’m curious of what you think of how those two types can get along and come up in the decision-making process when you have two totally different types?

Aristotle, the guy who invented logic as we know it, it’s one of the saddest things he ever wrote. It’s one of the last things he ever wrote, apparently. He said, “Because of our sorry, human nature, logic is not the most persuasive. Instead, it’s whether your audience likes and trusts you.”The important thing there is that those of us who love rational thought and love logic have to open ourselves to the fact that a lot of people act instinctively by rule of thumb or by values. Everything I do in my consultant work, I won’t take a job on unless I get data out of it. I’m skeptical that there are types. I find that they’re identities. If people who have identified themselves as values people, whether they were born that way or whether it’s in their DNA, rhetorically doesn’t matter. It’s what they think of themselves as. Some people think of themselves as scientists. Other people think of themselves as good or bad people. People doing the best they can.

A great example of this is, I did this thing with the Pentagon. This agency within the Pentagon called MILVAX, military vaccinators, were having problems vaccinating service members for smallpox. I didn’t have the clearance to know why they were vaccinating people with smallpox. They were saying, “Is there some way to get soldiers to stop thinking about the smallpox scar?”A lot of both the men and the women were upset about the idea of ruining the tattoos that they all had on their shoulders or the visuals of having that scar. There were some people who were also skeptical of vaccination.

After doing a lot of study, focus groups and talking to people, I realized a soldier’s self-identity. Soldiers tend to be values-oriented people if you want to generalize that, in part because their identity of a soldier is that of self-sacrifice. I was thinking the scar should be the greatest asset we have. I proposed and they did a social media campaign in which service members showed their scars and said what they were dedicating their scars for.“This scar’s for my country, this scar’s for my girl, this scar’s for my dog.”

You and I had considered talking about introverts and extroverts. Some of that falls into that. We talked about rhetoric as a skill and you might think it’s a skill for extroverts. What about the introverts? I thought as long as we were going to go down that path, I thought I’d bring in the T versus F, but let’s go with the E versus I.

One thing that appeals to me so much about rhetoric is the fact that I am very much an introvert. I enjoy interacting with people, but then I’m exhausted afterwards. I live in a town of 287 people in the middle of nowhere. I’m talking to you from a cabin at the edge of a meadow, beyond which are woods that I own. You could not be more alone and live in the northeast end. I’m happily married to an extrovert, which is perfect because she does all the social stuff. We’ll goat the fundraiser and she will print out biographies of everybody I’m going to see. She’ll even have little scripts for me for things I need to talk about and say. That is perfect. That’s the best possible person for someone like me to be married to. More importantly, when I deal with people, I have strategies I can think of what I need to say. Rhetoric is better for an introvert than it is for an extrovert. We tend to come to this stuff more naturally.

I want to go back to logic for a second. My mom loves to say she’s not logical. No matter what, that’s her answer for why she doesn’t figure out something. How do you differentiate logic from having common sense?

Logic, ultimately if you study it long enough, it becomes math. Logic is a series of abstractions. It’s the ability to abstract what you’re seeing. Aristotle wrote his rhetoric after he wrote his poetics, his ethics and his book on logic. Rhetoric was the last thing he wrote. You could see he struggled with it because he was such a logical guy. His logical mind was observing humanity and realizing, “This isn’t going well.”What happens with your mother is she probably is logical enough, but she has probably a material mind. She noticed things. She probably has great peripheral vision. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I bet she could spot a bird before you do? She’s more likely to remember the things she sees in order to navigate, like there’s a story there.

It’s visual, but also she can hear things and interpret things. In other words, she forms a landscape in her mind based on material things. This is something that neuroscience seems to come through with. People will call themselves illogical. I’m less abstract and more material. I don’t notice anything, so will literally walk into a tree. Whereas my wife is like, “Squirrel.”All she has is peripheral vision. She notices everything and she herself calls herself illogical. I don’t think it’s a matter of logic at all, it’s abstraction versus material.

You brought back a memory when I was a kid that one of our exterminators stole something from our house. I was young and I was the one who remembered the name. He was a guy that came in and wasn’t our normal exterminator. I had noticed his name and my mom thinks that’s wild that I would even notice as a kid. We caught the guy because I had noticed his name. She taught me to read when I was two years old by giving me these cards. She likes to say that that’s what set me on a path of education, these cards I read. It’s interesting to look back at some of the things of what has led us down our paths. I’m interested in what led you down the path to write, to include cats. Are you a cat guy? Are cats interesting to you? Why are we arguing with a cat?

I do have cats. They’ve been a long study for me. Dogs are less interesting, rhetorically. They just do what you want, no persuasion. There’s training, that’s different. With cats, what’s interesting is that you can persuade them. The techniques you can use to persuade them can be used on humans as well. They work a lot better on humans frankly. Cats tend to get their owners to be ridiculous in doing everything the cats do. The reason I did this is that, Thank You for Arguing is using a lot of college courses in law schools, particularly in high schools and AP English language. People were asking me for an easier ramp up to this complex art.

People get PhDs in rhetoric as you know. There’s a lot to cover in order to be a master persuader. The interesting thing about cats is they have a rather limited vocabulary. A lot of the techniques they use rhetorically don’t start with the words. I have found over the years that people get hung up on the words. “What’s the exact, right thing to say to get this girl to date me? What do I say to get my parents to loan me the car?”The most important techniques of rhetoric don’t start with the words, they start with other stuff that cats are good at, particularly relationship. If you get somebody to like and trust you, you can get them to do anything, no matter how inarticulate you are. That’s rhetoric. That’s what How to Argue With A Cat is all about.

TTL 230 | The Art Of Persuasion
The Art Of Persuasion: The most important techniques of rhetoric don’t start with words. They start with other stuff that cats are really good at, particularly relationship.

If somebody wanted to get your latest book or any of your books, is there a good website to reach you and to find out more?

I’m on all the finer social media with my name, Jay Heinrichs. Beyond that I have a website which is probably the easiest way to find all the books, I’m in all the bookstores, Amazon and all that. I’m not hard to find. If you’re going to start with a book, I would suggest starting with How to Argue With A Cat as a basic introduction to rhetoric. People have said that Thank You for Arguing, if you read the first few chapters you’ll get into it. I try to be funny and there’s Homer Simpson. My kids, they’re funny.

You have interesting work and I was excited to have you on the show. Thank you so much for being here, Jay.

Diane, I enjoyed this. You truly are an extrovert.

Definitely I’m an extrovert, but thank you.

Digital Innovation with Claire Díaz-Ortiz

I am here with Claire Diaz-Ortiz, an author, speaker, and innovation advisor who has been named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. She was an early employee at Twitter, where she was hired to lead corporate social innovation. She’s been called everything from The Woman who got the Pope on Twitter by Wired, to the Force For Good from Forbes. She has written a lot of successful books including Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. This includes even a book, One Minute Mentoring, which she wrote with Ken Blanchard. A lot of people have heard of that you were the person who got the Pope on Twitter. They knew you were the first person to live tweet your own child’s birth. How did you get involved with Twitter to begin with?

I had recently left graduate school. I wasn’t sure what to do with my life. I had this crappy but effective job, online editing. I had this remote job. We were first starting to see that these types of jobs could take young people to strange places to live out their dreams, which is essentially what I did. I spent a year traveling around the world. I convinced my best friend to come with me. I got her the same job at the same company. We had this incredible year of traveling.

We went to nineteen countries. We climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest. We ran a marathon in Madrid. We did a whole lot of nothing on the beaches in Thailand. The last stop on the trip was Kenya. I’d always wanted to go to Kenya. We went there to climb a mountain. Someone told us, “If you’re going to go to Kenya to climb Mount Kenya, you should stay at the guest house that’s near the base of the mountain.”It turned out that the guest house was free or nearly free. At the time that was a criteria for choosing how to do things. We signed up to this guest house and we found as soon as we arrived in Kenya that the guest is owned by an orphanage.

When we showed up at the guest house, it was on the grounds of an orphanage next to a church. The orphanage elders invited us for lunch. We came inside to this lunch with these orphanage elders, learning about their work and their ministry. It was in the middle of that lunch that I thought, “Things are going to change here.” I left that lunch and ended up deciding not to climb the mountain. I stayed at the orphanage for a week to try to figure out if I want to stay there longer. I ended up living out the year there and starting a nonprofit. During that time when I was living at this orphanage and starting this small nonprofit organization, I was able to get the word out and grow the nonprofit because of my blog and then because of Twitter.

Twitter launched in 2006 and I had a blog at the time. It had become increasingly more popular. One of the reasons that had become popular was the folks over at, who are the folks that went on to start Twitter, had started promoting it. When they started Twitter they said, “Why don’t you become one of these early users? Start tweeting about your life over there and doing stuff,” and they did. It worked for me. I became an early evangelist about Twitter could be used for good. That ended up leading to me stopping by business school briefly, going over to Twitter as an early employee and then starting to work there. The way I ended up at Twitter was by loving the product early on.

It’s interesting that you would get to be an early user of the system because a lot of people weren’t sure. It was different. You’re obviously bright; you’ve got a BA and MA at Stanford. You have an interesting background. What made you see that Twitter would be something that would continue to be worth using? What stood out to you about Twitter?

The thing that was different about Twitter, and this is the earlier social media, we were seeing that social media could be effective. On Twitter you could technically contact anyone you wanted. That wasn’t possible in any other platform at a time. Over the years, people say, “You can write Oprah on Twitter and she’s not going to write you back. Write Obama on Twitter and he’s not going to write you back.” The best case studies I have seen particularly in the nonprofit world of organizations, causes and movements that have been able to grow, have happened on the backs of finding influencers in that way. I didn’t have money. I was living in the ground floor of this orphanage in Kenya. I had this tiny little nonprofit. This was a way that I could reach people who had a bigger megaphone. I was able to see that early on as a huge asset and start using it to my advantage. As soon as I started using it to my advantage, I realized how many other people in my shoes could do the same.

When you started getting much known on Twitter, what came first? Did you have your child that you tweeted about first birth? Did you do get the Pope on Twitter first?

I got the Pope on Twitter first. Pope Benedict came on to Twitter in 2012. That was a wild ride from the beginning. Sometimes people say, “How did that start?” I do not have any of my emails from my five and a half years at working at Twitter anymore. I’m pretty sure that it started with some cold email that came in through some slush pile at Twitter Inc. from the Vatican asking a question about one of their related web properties. I’m not even sure at the time. From that started a conversation. The reason why we were interested in religion at all at Twitter was interesting. Some data scientist had been doing some research in the end of 2011 and they’ve been looking at tweets that were working.

TTL 230 | The Art Of Persuasion
The Art Of Persuasion: It’s just a matter of how to do it and how to do it well.

What tweets are working on the platform? What tweets are engaged? What content is going far? They saw what they thought was enough at the time. They kept saying that these religious tweets and these Bible verses were doing well. You have a pastor with 5,000 followers who would tweet out a Bible verse, and he or she would get more tweets than some celebrity with 200,000 followers. They kept seeing this across the board. They started to dig into it and soon realized that it was a thing. We decided at Twitter at the time we were already focusing on different niches. We were focusing on sports, celebrities in LA, actors, musicians, politicians. Why not focus on religion? Let’s see what could happen when we grow that demographic. We did and it was an incredible experience.

How did you get first to be in front of the Pope to even get to that point? What led to that?

When I look back on that whole experience is working with the Vatican was incredibly seamless. They were super innovative, super forward thinking, and willing to try new things from the beginning. People have this idea that it was me leading a team at Twitter to force the Vatican to do this thing they didn’t want to do. That was not the case at all. In many examples during the course of that year-long project, Twitter was slower to adopt than Vatican was. Ultimately, they were super interested in the idea of doing it. It was a matter of how to do it and how to do it well.

One of the things I’ll always remember is one of the leaders of the project over at the Vatican, Paul Tighe; he used to say that this is the type of feedback or criticism we think we might get when the Pope gets on Twitter. We can predict the people are going to say, “How could the Pope possibly be using Twitter? What a ridiculous way for someone important and someone holy to communicate.”He would say, “This is exactly the same criticism that the Vatican faced in the 50s when Vatican Radio came out. All these people saying, “How could we hear the voice of the Pope coming through the airwaves?”

They had a clear idea from the beginning of why they thought it made sense to them. It was easy to take them onside and turn this into a practical thing that could work well. We launched with seven or eight different languages, and now they have even more languages. Pope Benedict was the pope who sent his first tweet in this big live experience we put on in December of 2012. He shortly thereafter stepped down. It was in the last few years seeing how Pope Francis would take the torch. That has been pretty fascinating. We’ve seen that he had been much more open and transparent.

I’m curious if Pope Benedict was interested or the people around him were.

It’s his communication team deciding what’s going to work and then figuring out a way that they can make sure that the tweets themselves were his actual words. He’s not going to be pressing the button two or three times every week and said it was content that was coming from him and coming from some of his live speeches that he’d be giving weekly.

Do you think they’re involved in the tweets?

They have a huge communication team there that is forward thinking and strategic. I’m not working with them that close anymore, but I still hear from them every couple of months about everything that’s happening. I know they spend a ton of time making sure that the Twitter platform of the Pope represents the heart and the mind of Pope Francis. I talk about language growth, but that is no small thing. There are many different accounts in different languages that the Pope’s accounts are the largest on Twitter. It’s pretty amazing when you compare him to all these other celebrities out there.

Do you remember the tweet? Did he use hashtags?

The first tweet was in Italian and that was a decision they made. They had different language accounts, but even the first tweet was sent out in Italian, all the language accounts. It was an interesting decision at the time and a symbolic one for them. That is such a good impression of what the first tweet was.

It’s been awhile and I’m sure you’ve done many things since then. You’ve progressed with all these books. In Marshall Goldsmith’s group, you’re in the MG 100, is where I met you. Your work with Ken Blanchard. You’ve gotten the attention of some pretty big names in the area of leadership. What is your focus when you go to speak to groups? What’s your favorite topic? You’ve had TEDx Talks, you’ve done a lot of things. I noticed you’d mostly talk social media and innovation, but is there a particular area that appeals to you more than any other?

I’m into this idea of digital innovation and understanding how we can innovate, how we can make change in our digital lives particularly in an intentional way. This idea is timelier than anything. I spent a number of years in Silicon Valley at a social media company, thinking social media was amazing and publishing a book called Twitter for Good. It’s been powerful to watch social media go through the worst year of social media of life. We’re in the middle of the worst year of social media of life. We’re seeing that social media, digital media is problematic to our countries, to our brains and to our kids. Every time we open the internet, we see a headline talking about those issues.

TTL 230 | The Art Of Persuasion
The Art Of Persuasion: Social media or digital media is really problematic to our countries and to our brains and to our kids.

A lot of what I’m interested in is looking beneath this idea of digital innovation and saying, “What does this mean in this world where our digital lives aren’t as rosy as we thought?” Digital media isn’t necessarily this incredibly positive thing that can help us share about each of our orphanage and charity in Kenya. Instead, it can be something that is destructive to our brains, to our kids, to our countries. What do we do about that? There are a lot of smarter voices than me putting some ideas out there. We’ve got to figure out how we tend to be intentional about living with technology in the midst of these lives that we’ve created that are dependent on technology.

There are many haters out there that have this ability to say whatever they want and get a platform. What do you think can be done about that? You have free speech, you want to be able to communicate, but why do you think we have many people that want to say such nasty things out there?

There’s this idea of the bully pulpit. Bully in the 30s was used as a positive word by Theodore Roosevelt to mean that the president has a bully pulpit. It’s a great place for him to get out the message. Instead, what we’ve seen is that many levels of leadership. We’ve seen people we should be looking up to using these platforms in a poor way. One of the biggest things we need to think about is if you are a leader, it doesn’t matter if you’re the president or you’re a leader in your organization. It’s about trying to figure out how you can be setting an example for those who are following you. This idea of following, leading and teaching is important to me. It’s the reason why I wrote that book, One Minute Mentoring. Much of the work I do is about learning from others. One of the hardest things is to see how some people that we look up to use these digital mediums poorly. Leading by example is the absolute first step.

Is there something we’re missing in the education realm in terms of soft skills, emotional intelligence training? Something that is the problem you think in education or do you think it’s more family-based? I’m surprised by how much hatred there is out there.

What the studies are showing that for the most part when people get online, they feel disassociated from themselves. There’s a lack of empathy because you’re not able to see the person’s face. There is this feeling that you can do things you wouldn’t normally do in your life. There’s this interesting research on how can you make your online connection more in real life. How can you make these connections feel stronger across the wavelengths or broadband internet, so that you understand that these are real relationships? A lot of times people can get online and fire off things that they would never do in person.

A classic workplace example might be an email. There are studies showing that an angry boss is a million times likely to send off an angry email than have a conversation with someone. Sending off an angry email, it’s something easy that we can do. It gets out of our mind and the problem goes somewhere else and we don’t have to directly relate or connect with it. It’s interesting to think about how much of our lives we’re outsourcing and how much of our emotional lives are outsourcing in this weird way that is creating all these problems.

It’s a challenge with the innovation for people that have kids these days. You see all of the bullying and the new term bullying and things going on out there. There are a lot of good things that we have because of social media, because I was in sales forever. If I had had that ability, it changed sales completely because your customers can find out everything about you before you come in. They already know more than you do if you’re not careful. There are all of these aspects to this. You’ve moved on from that Twitter position and you’re doing other things. I know you’re a big person on LinkedIn. I know on Twitter you have 100,000 people who follow you. Is there a particular platform that you prefer over the other? Which one do you think’s going to be the big one for the future?

I like LinkedIn. Sometimes we as humans construct a little bit of a barrier between our personal and professional lives. The tendency to compare, despair and get into the information silos. There are two concepts that are heavy on Facebook are less strong or less likely to happen on LinkedIn. I see LinkedIn as more of an information source, as a place to get articles and valuable information. I’m less likely to go down through this unhealthy rabbit hole. Snapchat went crazy and that’s all been transferred over to Instagram. Live video certainly at least for the next generation is where it’s at right now. I guess we’ll have to see to what extent that continues to play out for professionals.

I thought I would see more with Facebook Live and then when I started seeing the things that people are putting on Facebook Live, it didn’t appeal to me as much. I was waiting for more. Weren’t you expecting more from that or is it just me?

TTL 230 | The Art Of Persuasion
The Art Of Persuasion: Facebook Live works exceptionally well with people who have very specific personal brands.

What we’ve seen so far is Facebook Live works exceptionally well with people who have specific personal brands, particularly in certain niches. Beyond that, we haven’t seen it be super effective yet.

It’s hard because you’ve got to be where your customers are obviously. If they’re all over the board and you want to bring in different people, it’s such a different conversation. It wasn’t clear to me the value of Twitter for a long time. A lot of people looked at it like I did, that you’re following movie stars around or you’re following these threads. You can communicate in a unique way. What do you think of the ability for the president to use it in the whole political thing going back and forth? Do you think that that’s something you would have ever expected? Do you think you started any of this?

No one could have expected it like this. It’s unbelievable. When I give speeches about Twitter in particular, I talk about these three different moments in history where people thought that Barack Obama was tweeting, but it was a big team behind him tweeting. It started in 2008 when he wins the election and he sends out this tweet. A bunch of blog posts come out, blog articles come out saying, “Barack Obama started tweeting,” but it’s his team.

A couple of years later it happens at the Haiti earthquake in 2010. Barack Obama goes down; he’s visiting an American Red Cross project in Haiti after the earthquake. He sends a tweet from the American Red Cross account and the American Red Cross then follows up saying, “Barack Obama sent his first tweet.”It was years later when Barack Obama held a Twitter town hall where he sent his first tweet. I often laugh about this because that could never happen with our current president. The things that are happening are completely unpredicted in terms of watching a leader take that iPhone. There’s no PR strategy behind 99% of what comes out of his Twitter account.

Did you expect that that would help or hurt Twitter?

I’m not sure what I expected, but I don’t even know the result. I guess most people would say it’s been negative. In terms of user growth, it’s been positive. In terms of emotional stability of the world, it’s been negative.

You wonder how much time he spends on there or other leaders spend on there. Why Twitter? Why not LinkedIn or some other profile? I guess because more exposure of who could follow you.

I remember we had for years it was an ongoing spreadsheet on my team where we were updating. We had a spreadsheet of world leaders on the platform, US government leaders. It would be interesting to go back and look at that spreadsheet years later. I’m sure it’s 99% filled out.

I’m sure it was pretty wild to be the first person to live tweet your child’s birth. Is it a boy or a girl?

A girl, Lucia. She just turned four.

What did you say? Do you remember what your tweet was?

I remember my first tweet; I went into labor three weeks early with her so it was unexpected. I was immediately Googling did my water break? As soon as I Googled that, I went to tweet what I had Googled. I remember my first tweet about it was, “Googling did my water just break?” and that set off a chain of tweets over the next less than ten hours. It wasn’t a long process.

She gets to go down in history as having that.

I don’t know, we’ll see. It might be something terrible for her.

I’m sure it won’t be. It was nice of you to be on the show. I enjoyed meeting you in person here in Phoenix and then your group with Marshall Goldsmith’s group. Those are some of the most amazing people and I’ve had many of you guys on the show. You guys all are interesting and you guys give so much back. I wanted to thank you for being on the show and I’m impressed with all the work you do.

Thank you for having me.

You’re welcome.

I want to thank Jay and Claire. It was such an interesting show and we have many great guests like Jay and Claire on the show. If you’ve missed any of the past guests, you can go to You can go to the radio show there, you can go to the blog to read the show or you could sign up to receive the show when new episodes become available. There’s a lot of information there about my book on curiosity that’s coming out. You can sign up to receive notifications and a lot of things. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.

About Jay Heinrichs

TTL 230 | The Art Of PersuasionJay Heinrichs is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion. Published in 13 languages, it ranks among the top ten books assigned by faculty at Harvard. His latest book is How to Argue with a Cat: A Human’s Guide to Persuasion. Another book, Word Hero, teaches the persuasive art of “witcraft.” His clients include Southwest Airlines, Wharton School of Business, and NASA.

About Claire Diaz-Ortiz

TTL 230 | The Art Of PersuasionClaire Díaz-Ortiz is an author, speaker, and innovation advisor who has been named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. Claire was an early employee at Twitter, where she was first hired to lead corporate social innovation. In Claire’s work, she has been called everything from “The Woman Who Got the Pope on Twitter” (Wired) and “Twitter’s Pontiff Recruitment Chief” (The Washington Post) to a “Force for Good” (Forbes) and one of the “Ten Most Generous in Social Media” (Fast Company). Claire was one of the first people to ever tweet from the country of Kenya and is also known for the precarious honor of being the first person to live-tweet her own child’s birth. Diaz-Ortiz is the author of several books, including Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time; Greater Expectations: Succeed (and Stay Sane) in an On-Demand, All-Access, Always-On Age; and Hope Runs: An American Tourist, A Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption. She is also the author of One Minute Mentoring, which she wrote with Ken Blanchard.


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