You will not BELIEVE what she said to the baby (or lessons in NON – verbal communication I learnt on Dublin’s Moore St) Sunday’s “Coffee with Colm”

I remember vividly walking down Moore St in Dublin many years ago.

Moore St, for those of you unfamiliar with it is a market street in Dublin City Centre, just off possibly the busiest shopping street in the capital, Henry St. and it is the home for generations of market stall holders selling everything from fish, fruit and veg, to flowers, chocolate eggs at Easter, illegal fireworks at Halloween and ‘Cheeky Charlie’s, wrapping paper and tinsel at Christmas time.

In my memory I can still here the shrill cry of the traders: “Get the laasth o’de cheeekie chaarlies, wrappn paypor, thinsill.” (In English; there are very few cheeky charlies, and only small amounts of Christmas wrapping paper and tinsel left in stock.”

“‘manny ja wan der luvv?” (How many of your chosen items, shall I charge you for, sir/madam?)

Dublin. Moore St. Both quite magical.

I spent many years working adjacent to Moore St, in Hallin’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop in the Ilac Centre – “de Lilac” – and so I came to know the way business was done and got to know many of the traders during my happy time there.

One of my most vivid memories first showed me that communication is only partly verbal; non-verbal communication makes up arguably the bulk of any message transmitted or received.

Picture the scene.

Stall holders, multi-generational, often three generations of street-savvy women and young girls and boys, competing for your money by shouting at passers by… “Fiish, frresh cod, whitnin’…, appils, fy-ive for a powind’”

I happened upon one stall.

Granny, mammy and daughter were there. Daughter has buggy, with a young baby girl strapped inside – fourth generation.

Along comes another stall holder.

Addressing the baby’s mother“Ah, Jaysus Bernie, would ya look a’da’” Bewreyful, goarjus’”.

Bernie, the baby’s mother is beaming at this stage. Granny and great granny also bursting with pride.

The visiting stall holder then leans down in a ‘coochy coo’ manner (as we’ve all done to babies in buggies), smiling broadly rubbing the baby’s little chest and comes out with the immortal words:

“Yer a liittle bitchh, wharrar ya? A liitle bitchh!”

Baby is delighted and kicks her little legs and flaps her arms as she smiles up at her admirer.

Everyone in the group had an ‘Ah jayzus, isn’t dat luvly’ demeanour.

It was the first time I remember noticing a complete disconnect between the words and body language and the words didn’t matter!

Keith Barry the Mentalist was another of the presenters at Pendulum ’18 and he explored the subject in a slightly more scientific way than our ladies on Moore St. But largely he spoke of the same thing.

Watch the video (11 mins), listen to the podcast or read on below to find out more…

Prefer Podcast? Click here.

Keith said we are pattern followers and pattern seekers –

What I took from that is life is more predictable when there is order to it; we feel more secure and so as a species we humans seek patters to help us understand the world around us and when we find a pattern that works for us, we mimic it.

Keith went on to say that if people trust you they will work with you; people buy from people they trust.

And if a large proportion of our communication is non-verbal then we would do well to consider it in our interactions.

So he proposed we learn how to read other people’s styles and then gradually throughout our interactions with people;

1.      Mirror them – this is more than just leaning forward when they do, folding arms in sync and crossing and uncrossing legs in unison, but in fact includes more subtleties such as…

2.      Pace them – If I understood Keith correctly he said that people think about as fast they speak, so if someone is speaking slowly, then they will receive your verbal communication at a slower pace and again you would do well to heed this and slow down your rapid fire sales pitch to their natural rhythm. By learning to do this you buy time in the interaction using the Socratic method of asking questions and listening intently, that way you glean more information about your prospect and their needs and again you develop trust in the relationship

3.      Lead them – getting them to say yes to small elements within your presentation all the way through is the best way to have them say yes at the end.

An amateur sales person sells products, a professional sells solutions and so by following the three steps above you give yourself and your prospect enough time to

  • Get to know each other a little
  • Get to like each other a little
  • Get to trust each other a little

You get to understand their problems and to see can your product or service help solve those problems.

You then get to present your product or service as the ideal solution for their needs.

Keith showed us some simple but potentially scary ways that people can be led for example scratching your chin every time you (or they) say yes during your leading, ie

  • “you agree with me on that point, yes.” *chin scratch*
  • “isn’t that right, yes?” *chin scratch*
  • “Should we complete the paperwork?” *chin scratch*

But beware.

Keith mentioned that there are two ways people are led; by inspiration or manipulation. Learn to recognize both. Inspiration is good leading, leading from a positive place towards a Win|Win outcome, manipulation is bad leading; there is only one agenda here, the manipulator’s heading to a Lose|Win outcome with you losing!

Ideally we are inspiring people towards a Win|Win outcome – our product or service is exactly what they need and they buy it and get value from it, as do we.

Manipulation on the other hand is often denoted by buyer remorse, a Lose|Win deal where the manipulator has succeeded in getting a yes, regardless of the unsuitability of their product or service.

I am now aware there were at least two times in my life when I was manipulated into a Lose|Win situation by people with very little to offer but their practiced charlatan ways of manipulation.

One was long ago when I told a guy, “I know you, I like you and I’m deciding to trust you.”

Oops. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

Were I to talk with him today (I have zero desire to) I might tell him, “ I now know you!” and walk away.

The second was more subtle and over time I have realized he is a master at “you agree with that don’t you?” type of speak and then uses tentative yes’s to bolster up his weak arguments of very little substance. His modus operandi is to then use your own words back at you in the form of ‘We agreed…’

Nasty behaviour.

Both are weak men, masquerading as bullies and covering deep insecurities probably due to a lack of any real talent – other than manipulation.

Ah well.

Thankfully I live by the maxim “Sometimes I win and sometimes I learn.” and so having encountered these two men, I very recently quickly saw the same pattern emerging in a first interaction with a guy.

  • Talk about pushy.
  • Talk about verbal diarrhea.
  • Talk about him working really hard to mirror me, pace me and lead me.
  • Talk about him searching my soul through my eyes looking for a weak spot!


Be careful out there boys and girls.

Mirror, pace and lead your way to Win|Win business arrangements with others; and beware the shysters!


MORE? Some of the issues touched on above have been discussed in earlier “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

  • Win|Win and other Winning models. Click here
  • How to develop 2020 Vision for your life. Click here
  • Understanding the Gravity of Bad Habits (how to break free from it). Click here.

HIRE ME TO SPEAK? Consider me speaking at your event, launch, awards, after-dinner. Find out more here.

STAY CONNECTED? If this is your thing, consider joining in the conversation here.

FREE BOOK? If would like a complimentary copy of my book “Feeding Johnny – How to Build a Business Despite the Roadblocks” in audio, narrated by yours truly so you get all the nuances, feel free to grab one here.

GO DEEPER? If you would like to go deeper in your own personal journey, you can review the first step in my “12 Steps to Create the Life You Really Want” for FREE. Check it out here.

Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly,

“How can I help?”

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