Persuasion Techniques Notes
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Persuasion Techniques Notes



Handout (old version) from the negotiation and persuasion workshops.

Handout (old version) from the negotiation and persuasion workshops.



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Persuasion Techniques Notes Persuasion Techniques Notes Document Transcript

  • Ignite Communications Page 1 Persuasion Techniques Central Argument Central arguments are facts, statistics and arguments about the main issue, usually logical in nature. Central arguments require critical thinking. They work only if the audience is both very capable (intelligent) and motivated (interested in the issue) to dedicate cognitive resources to it. Strong central arguments should be further strengthened with peripheral techniques (see further down in the document). Weak central arguments are likely to be self-defeating. Problem-Solution State the problem you are solving before presenting the solution. Be brief and avoid jargon. This immediately answers “How is this relevant to me?” for the audience. By communicating value right away you get your audience’s interest and focus their attention. This is similar to “Don’t bury the lead” and “Big picture before the details”. For the solution component, make sure to describe the highest level of benefit it provides rather than just features. For example, a company selling very colorful socks with unusual patterns to girls might describe their product feature as “colorful socks with patterns you won’t find anywhere else”. Translated to the higher level benefit this may become “Be the talk of your class”. Salience & Concreteness Emotion is key driver for attitude change and action. For evoking emotion, concrete people & examples are better than abstractions, numbers and math, which take us into thinking mode. Show, don’t tell!  run demos, simulations or exercises to let the audience experience doing the activity or “wearing the shoes”.  show pictures, photos, videos, and objects to appeal to all senses  describe individual victim instead of the mass  ”give it a name”  use concrete examples when describing abstract concepts  tell stories Unexpected, unusual, or against accepted wisdom These properties make the message more memorable or sticky. For some scenarios stickyness leads to persuasion, e.g., making brand name ‘top of mind’. Get audience to explain or argue in favor of the route want to convince them about “What are three things you like about this approach?” “What would you do if you were in this position?” The more detailed the exploration the better.
  • Ignite Communications Page 2 Acknowledge Counter-Arguments "I know that you've heard X, Y, Z, but here's what's wrong with X, Y, Z." Do this only if counter-arguments are salient and/or the audience is opposed to your position and is highly intelligent. Attitude Innoculation This approach strengthens a position people already hold. "Mildly criticize the position people hold, enough so that they defend their position and generate reasons for it but not so much that they change their mind. It's like immunizing them with a low- dose vaccine. This has been used in everything from political campaigns to helping children resist peer pressure when it comes to smoking cigarettes." PERIPHERAL TECHNIQUES The majority of our cognitive processing is automatic. Approaches in this section work on that level. While often not directly related to the issue at hand, they have a great impact on decision- making process, and can often defeat a strong central argument while flying under the radar. Liking We pay attention or agree more to something proposed by people we like. What leads to being more likeable?  similarity - anything in common, from trivial to substantial. Examples: - share similar feelings and preferences - prefer toyotas, like same food, have a common enemy - share hobby or interests - hiking, foreign policy, persuasion techniques - belong to the same group (ex.: alums of XYZ school) - have a similar-sounding name - born/grew up/live in the same area  positive associations - be the messenger of good news - talk about positive traits (spontaneous trait transference) - co-location in time & space with anything desirable to the audience (think ads where products are presented with beautiful, happy, successful people, enjoyable music, beautiful environment, happy families, etc.)  physical attractiveness  giving compliments  cooperation towards the same goal It's hard not to like somebody with whom you successfully work towards a common goal. (A lot of team-building games and exercises are based on this. The outcome is team members liking each other more because of shared experiences and goals and learning specific behaviors that make collaborations more successful)
  • Ignite Communications Page 3 Good Mood and Comfort Being in a good mood changes how people perceive things, what they remember, and makes them more open, trusting and less self-focused. It can be facilitated with:  comfortable temperature  pleasant/beautiful environment  good food & drink if appropriate (or not hungry/thirsty)  pleasant music if appropriate ... Reciprocity  be the first to give - gift, favor, help... Especially effective if personalized and unexpected. One less direct technique involving reciprocation is to follow a rejected large request with a small request. Especially effective when two requests are made face-to-face with no delay. This only works if the original large request is not perceived as outrageous. When a large request is scaled back, it has the appearance of a concession, and because there are strong social norms encouraging reciprocity, people often feel obligated to make a concession of their own to reciprocate and meet the other person somewhere in the middle.  create a social relationship vs purely market/financial relationship [ariely summary] Mixing money into a social norm can move it from social to market norm (experiment in Israeli daycare charging for late pick-ups) People do most important things in life for how it makes them feel (getting more) Mention name, engage in conversation Satisfy Human Psychological Needs  acknowledge power & choice  listen, value, and consult  throw a challenge – personal or competition  appeal to identity - what would XYZ person do? (see Made to Stick)  appeal to higher values  give them a story to tell Commitment & Cognitive Dissonance Maximally effective when the commitment is voluntary, public and active.  a foot in the door people are more likely to comply with a large request once they've already complied with a smaller one. (see Cialdini) "Most effective when you explicitly label the person as helpful or as a supporter, saying something like 'I really appreciate you supporting this effort,' which strengthens the person's self- perception as a supporter." "And the effect is strongest when the large request is presented as a continuation of the smaller request, something that builds on the person's prior commitment -- 'You did X last month; can you do a little bit more?'"
  • Ignite Communications Page 4 "Even a penny will help" - makes the initial request so small that it's hard to say no.  low-balling Although there are obviously limits, it seems that once people commit themselves to honoring a request, the request can often be increased without them withdrawing from the commitment.  puppy-dog close "Why don't you take this puppy home. If you don't like him, you can bring him back tomorrow". Other versions of this is trying/doing something "just a little bit" or "for a short while". This approach combines commitments/consistency with loss aversion.  provoke the behavior and attitude will change to match the behavior. Examples: jewish tailor, classic cognitive dissonance $20 boring tasks experiment, prisoners of war anti- american propaganda.  first impressions have disproportionately large impact in further perception because they set up a commitment to a certain outlook. "There is never a second chance to make a first impression". Credibility  volunteer vulnerability or some unfavorable info This can work on several levels: creates trust (this person is not all about just presenting the perfect facade), invokes reciprocity (admitting unfavorable info is costly, we need to return the favor), creates empathy (similarity - this is a real imperfect human being just like we are, easy to connect to).  confidence, enthusiasm and genuineness of the persuader  testimonials, especially if independent or respected 3rd-party  authority - titles - clothes (uniforms, but also styled/expensive clothes carrying an aura of status and position)  make an idea their own Guide your audience to arrive at a conclusion or idea themselves through asking questions. Social Proof When desirable behavior is the norm or practiced by a large number of people, be sure to convey the info. When conveying the info, it's critical to point to the right herd, i.e., "people like you". When the prevalent behavior is not the desired one, e.g., many people litter, do NOT mention/focus on that. Scarcity & Reactance to restriction of freedom People have desire to preserve freedoms they already have and resist restriction of freedoms (based on psychological reactance theory by Jack Brehm) Communicate benefits + what's unique + what stand to lose Loss Aversion We are averse to loss and possibility of loss, i.e., risk.
  • Ignite Communications Page 5  set up the proposal to highlight an opportunity to avoid a loss (as opposed to realize gain)  provide certainty For example, money-back guarantee (eliminates risk in trying). Limit Choice and Provide Good Defaults Too many options can lead to cognitive overload, frustration and decision paralysis and inaction. Pricing  free The price of free has a disproportionately large pull.  Set up external cues to reflect a value of something (research by Ariely) People often use external cues to help them determine how they value something. (“External cues” means factors having nothing to do with how useful an item is to the consumer.) - price - "if something is expensive, it must be good quality" - observable amount of effort that went into producing something Marginal costs and effort are often more obvious and noticeable than fixed costs. So with products and services that involve high fixed costs, it helps to communicate and make salient those costs to the audience. Framing  set the standard or evaluation criteria either a standard advertised by the other party or some other one out there.  relativity and positioning next to an unfavorable option - decoy effect Priming & Triggers NOTES Interaction & Asking Questions interactive persuasion with questions, when possible, is often more powerful than one-way communication (talking at the audience). Questions can facilitate a lot of the above-described mechanisms at once. For example, questions can help discover existing similarities that will lead to liking. Actively answering questions can help in creating commitment/cognitive dissonance. Cultural Differences Western cultures like US, Europe, and Australia highly value individualism, freedom of choice and uniqueness. On the other hand, many Asian and South American cultures emphasize being part of and contributing to the group as the highest value. These polar differences, can make certain messages and persuasion approaches effective in one culture and completely ineffective in another. Attitude ≠ Behavior (more often than people think)
  • Ignite Communications Page 6 Example: plenty of people who believe in benefits of exercise do not practice it! Behavior Change - simple, quick, low-effort (time, money, physical, cognitive) - script the moves - quick wins - triggers & reminders - paint the destination postcard If Persuading via Printed or Digital Communication like a flyer, web page or email, proper visual design (contrast, alignment, type) is critical to getting and keeping your audience attention long enough to persuade.