Presence Point Book Review: ‘Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma’ by Nick Morgan

Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma by Dr. Nick Morgan is a must-have for anyone who wants to be a more effective, persuasive, influential & powerful communicator.

I loved Nick’s first book, Give Your Speech, Change the World, so I eagerly picked up this book to glean relevant content to use with my clients in coaching Powerful Presence & Compelling Communication. While I expected tips and techniques for better public speaking &  improved presentations, I got much, much more, including cutting-edge insight into the brain research behind communication behavior and, most importantly, specific strategies about how to use your brain to create high impact results.

In high stakes communications

Trust Me is written about Leadership Communications, but I recommend this book to executives, professionals, entrepreneurs and anyone who needs to bring their best self forward, particularly in a high stakes communication, such as: in the boardroom, in an interview, on a stage, in a difficult conversation and/or pitching a business, with an audience of 1 or 1,000.

Nick inspires us to believe authenticity and charisma are possible for everyone by employing his 4 Step Process & lots of practice. The book is fresh, current, and modern. It contains many relevant client stories, examples illustrating the integration of brain research with practical application in daily interactions, exercises and  practices to directly address the principles of the 4 steps.

Every communicative act = 2 conversations

The underlying principle of the book is that every communicative act is actually two conversations: the verbal (what you say) and the nonverbal (what your body says – covers emotions, relationships, threats to safety & other things). If the two are aligned, you can be perceived as a persuasive, authentic communicator. If they are in conflict, people believe the body language every time. This is the rub for many people who tend to focus on their content, often presenting a “data dump” that frankly would best serve the audience by sending them the information to read for themselves. Many often argue that they don’t want to be “emotional” at work. What they miss here is that if you want to persuade & influence people, you have to show up with real connection to some emotion!

The surprise is that brain research shows that our bodies actually “act” first on our nonverbal impulses, then a bit later, we form a conscious thought about what we are doing. “That intent, coming perhaps from . . . the limbic brain (deep below the level of conscious thought), governs a good deal of our supposedly rational lives.”

Nick describes the real paradox of trying to look authentic & charismatic by focusing on technique only: “(you) achieve control over your gestures by thinking not about them but about the intentions that drive them. If you think about the gestures themselves, they will happen too slowly & will look inauthentic.”

Bring on the emotion… or not?

To control the second conversation, “you must focus on your emotional intent rather than your conscious awareness.” For example, before entering a communicative act, you can imagine yourself in an interaction with someone who you truly do have an emotional connection with, such as a loved one or a good friend, and connect to the emotion of seeing and being with them. When you truly make a deep connection & feel the emotions as if they were happening now, your body responds in kind by becoming “open” and transforming posture, facial expression, voice, and body movements, becoming fully present in the room. And your audience will respond in kind.

Demystifies & simplifies a very complex topic

While rich with information, Trust Me demystifies & simplifies a very complex topic. It provides compelling examples of persuasive content and high impact rhetoric, the importance of listening and reading others, the power of body language to influence and gain commitment and how to create powerful internal dialogue.

Becoming a powerful, authentic and charismatic communicator takes patience and perseverance. What I would love to have more of, to share with my clients, are case studies/examples of Nick’s clients, who not only transformed their communication skills but who sustained their transformation and continued to achieve high impact results, with ease, over time. I eagerly anticipate his next book!

Do your two conversations align? What is your body language saying about how you really feel?

About Cheryl Dolan

Cheryl Dolan is a specialist in Presence, Communication and Creativity. Her mission is to cultivate clients’ innate strengths to develop the powerful communication and creative skills that will enhance personal and professional performance. Her Platinum Presence® Program has been delivered in international corporations, organizations, and institutes of higher education, including Harvard University and MIT Sloan School. Contact her at [email protected] or visit

  • Megan Elizabeth Morris

    I loved reading about this!