Ye 3 Steps to Persuasion

Be open to learn from anyone, they say. Learning can come from surprising quarters, and I was surprised. The surprise teacher — Kanye West.

Brexit, China trade war, and anything newsworthy took a pause for something more, ahem! newsworthy. The hype was such, you’d be forgiven, for thinking Trump was meeting Kim Jong, not Kanye. Hype aside, this meeting, was brimming with great persuasion lessons. Pearls from a college drop-out who has built himself a net worth of more than a 100 million dollars, from nothing more, than his ability to persuade and build his brand.

The persuader being persuaded. Not played in the true sense; “played”, implies a hustle. This was persuasive because it came straight from Kanye’s heart.

I urge you to watch the video till the end, it’s worth it. Watch it here:

Media heard ranting. I heard a fresh perspective on how to deal with crime, education and rebuilding communities. I saw persuasion at work. And I am not alone.

How did Kanye do it? Kanye’s three steps:

Step 1: Pacing

Kanye paces Trump. Trump claims North Korea was Obama’s biggest problem.

Kanye chimes in, “You solved one of the biggest problems. We solved one of the biggest problems” .

You see what Kanye did? “You solved…”, followed by “We solved…” Unity. You are awesome and I am on your team. Trump is left speechless. I’ve never seen it happen. Trump fumbles, “Not completely solved yet…”

Pacing complete.

Step 2: Leading

Trump card in hand, Kanye soars. It sounds like ranting at first, but you soon realize this man is brimming with ideas. Ideas on solutions for problems that seem intractable.

Larry Hoover. Larry…who? My reaction too. I had to look him up as well. Kanye has a unique perspective into problems that most of us don’t have. Who amongst us thinks that the “Again”, in “Make America Great Again” is offensive. After Kanye’s explanation, who wouldn’t agree?

There was some pacing — Kanye wanted to name all the factories “Trump factories”, because Trump is a “Master of Industry and a Builder”, but that was girdled with solutions that showed incredible insight.

He pleaded for the release of Larry Hoover. A 68-year old ex-gangster, who is now considered a role model in black communities. He personalized this problem. When Kanye struggled, it was partly because of a lack of a father figure. A role model that he could follow, that he could emulate. Larry Hoover could be that person in Chicago’s troubled black communities. We want to fix our problems. We need to pick the leaders for this job. Trump should pardon Hoover. Kanye believes so, the African-American community wants it so. Trump was persuaded so, his body language said it all.

Chi-Iraq and the 13th Amendment. What do the two have to do with each other? A lot. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery with passage by Congress in 1865. That much I knew. Kanye made me read it again. Be open to learn from anyone, and you will be surprised.

Do you see it? Thanks to Ye, I see it clear as day.

“…except as a punishment for crime…”

We have justified slavery in certain cases! Can you now imagine what the Black community thinks of the prison system? Picture yourself signing up for, indentured, sorry forced, sorry “involuntary”, servitude! Now picture that in the context of an unjust history.

Step 3: Mediate

Having shown Trump respect and loyalty, Kanye positioned himself as mediator. More than a mediator, a bridge. A channel to a community that is looking for action and leadership.

One who will even bridge the gap between Trump and Kaepernick.

It isn’t easy to convince Trump, but Kanye managed an almost uninterrupted listen. That, for me, was the wow factor. An uninterrupted listen from Trump, just blow my brains out WOW!

How did Kanye do this? He spoke from the heart. He gave researched details. He asked rhetorical questions. Sometimes inane, on the 13th Amendment — “The way the universe works is perfect. You don’t have 13 floors. Do we?” Whaaaat, right? But just as insane as this sounds, the visual imagery is forceful.

Kanye compared the 13th Amendment to a trapdoor (prison system). Why is it a problem? Because it has become one. Because we consider slavery as fair punishment. Or at least, that’s the implication of the amendment. It is impossible to get out once in the trapdoor. Read this. The statistics are jarring.

Kanye got Trump thinking. He got me researching!

The analysis is spot on! One can’t speak, so effortlessly, weaving all the nuanced narratives, if one hasn’t figured it out. Kanye can see the solution. Now, he only needs to persuade Trump to act.

Still not buying it? Here’s hard evidence. On the need for Community Leaders. Watch this. Male role models. This.

Scotland’s solution involved using violence interrupters. Hmmm, who would be a great candidate? Larry Hoover? They needed to build an environment of trust. A stop-and-frisk policy ain’t going to do that in Chicago. Knowing what we know, that’s just common sense.

The President racist? Kanye doesn’t care. Kanye is too busy mediating. For Ye, racism is an “invisible wall”. It doesn’t stop him; he’ll “walk right through it”. This is Kanye’s first real issue-based meeting with Trump, and he has successfully persuaded Trump to be “open minded”.

Kanye is living in the “now”. And that means, fixing one’s life NOW.

Kanye got the audience with the President. Not Kaepernick.



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Nish Deodhar

Nish Deodhar

Agilist. Interested in using persuasion to help write better software. Lifelong student of persuasion and branding.