27 Jan 6 Tactics To Master The Power Of Persuasion
At GH our mantra is “We understand behaviors. And then change them.” How do we do this? We educate, inform, influence and persuade … The power of persuasion. Does it still work in this real-time, self-centric world?
I attended a monthly book club meeting, happy to have finished the reading in time. I was excited to discuss the book because I loved it. I expected everyone else would feel the same. And most did. But one woman – let’s call her Mrs. Smith – hated it. And, in no uncertain terms, she let us know why.
By the time we left book club that night, we had all decided we didn’t like the book either. I couldn’t believe how quickly our minds had changed! So how did she do it?
Well, whether she intended to or not, Mrs. Smith used some tried and true principles of persuasion. And I am going to share some of her tactics. As public relations professionals, we should all know how to influence others’ opinions.
- Firmly state your ideas. Mrs. Smith clearly trusted her own judgment. She didn’t hesitate or stammer, using ‘go-nowhere’ words and statements such as “well…” or “I think maybe.” She was certain about what she said. She didn’t “like wonder” if “maybe” the main character was a jerk. She said, “He was a jerk.” Period.
- Be concise. Less is always more. Mrs. Smith didn’t harp on for hours about why we should agree with her. Enough said.
- Reframe your story. Sometimes it’s hard to see things from a different perspective. Skilled PR professionals can use the same words to tell a hundred different stories. Think about your audience and how you can reach them. Then craft your words accordingly.
- Be genuine. Know your clients so you can help their audiences get to know them, too. And be honest. Mrs. Smith wasn’t playing devil’s advocate. She believed what she said.
- Support your opinion with facts. Mrs. Smith referenced paragraphs in the book to support her opinion. You should always support broad statements with facts.
- Appeal to emotions. People like to laugh. And humor, when used appropriately, is a powerful tool for persuasion. Or, alternatively, make your audience angry. The persuasive Mrs. Smith made the book look so ridiculous that we all felt angry for wasting our time reading it. So, like her, we came to dislike the book.
With these basic principles of persuasion, you can win support for your clients. Nobody can resist the power of a well-framed, concise and honest message. Opinions can be changed.