Seven Keys to Persuasive Suggestion.pdf

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Seven Keys to Persuasive Suggestion
I was delighted to learn recently that the council of the borough where we lived in
London has installed a pedestrian crossing near the local elementary school, a project
my wife and I began the campaign for nearly two years ago. It was the first time I had
ever gotten involved in trying to get things done through the red tape of governmental
beaurocracy, and I found the following principles useful allies on my journey.
Advertisers make use of these principles all the time in order to make us want to buy
their products. Each principle is based on a preconscious processing "shortcut" our brains
have developed to help us make decisions more quickly and easily....
1. Plausibility
It is not necessary for a person to know whether or not something is true in order for
them to accept it. All that is necessary is that it could be true within the framework of
what they already know or believe to be so.
2. Benefit
Your suggestion will be more readily accepted by someone if it is in their best interest to
believe it. This is why people cannot not accept a compliment (for exceptions, see
Congruent, below!). It does not matter whether it is truly beneficial, only that it appears
to be so.
3. Congruent
The more convinced you seem to be, the more convincing what you have to say will be.
Our limbic systems act like warning devices, screening for any conflict between the
words you say and the way you say them, and deleting any questionable information.
This is why it is sometimes said that "you've got to be believed to be heard."
4. Authority
We have all been conditioned since birth to accept what is said by authority figures as
true, although we may have developed a conscious suspicion of certain "experts".
Authority can be conveyed through your job description, your experience, your
educational qualifications, your clothing, and even your age. It can also be conveyed
through the medium of your expression - i.e. the written word tends to carry more
authority than the spoken one. Dr. Richard Bandler, the developer of Neuro-Linguistic
Programming and an expert on patterns of persuasion has pointed out that authority can
be borrowed - that is, if you say that an authority figure said what it is you want to say,
people are more likely to accept it as fact. (Please read that last sentence again until you
realise why I've asked you to read it again!)
5. Social Proof
In many ways, human beings are pack animals; that is, we link our safety and survival
to fitting in with our peer groups. Because of this, we are readily influenced by what our
peers think and when we are uncertain, we will look to them for guidance. If you can
demonstrate how someone's peers have benefited by implementing your suggestions or
solutions, they will more readily accept them.
6. Relationship
To the degree that we believe someone has our best interests at heart, we are inclined
to give credence to their suggestions. A corollary of this rule is that if what you suggest
seems contrary to your own best interests, it is more likely to be accepted as true.
7. Repetition
Everyone has a unique "convincer" strategy - a way of deciding what is true or not true
according to how the information is presented. For most people this strategy is built on
repetition. If they hear something enough times from enough different people, they will
accept it as fact.
Today's Experiment:
1. Think of a specific situation in which you want to influence someone's behaviour
Example: I want my daughter stay in school instead of leaving to live with her boyfriend,
I want my employer to give me a raise, I want the local government to put a pedestrian
crossing near the school crossing(!)
2. Write out suggestions you could offer utilising the principles of plausibility, benefit,
authority, and social proof.
Plausibility -
"Pedestrian crossings not only encourage people to slow down and pay attention, they
save lives..."
Beneficial -
"and if you decide to support this proposal, I will ensure that all the parents know that
you are the one who is leading the way in taking care of their children..."
"We were talking with the local police department, and they're backing the proposition
100%. In fact, if you look here, you'll see where our local policeman was the first to sign
his name to our petition."
Social Proof -
"In fact, you'll find over 1000 signatures in support of this pedestrian crossing, all
members of your constituency and all parents, just like you."
Bonus Experiment:
Write yourself a "mini-script" using all four principles from above. Try it out a few times
until you are comfortable and congruent with it. Then, being sure to put relationship
ahead of result, use it repeatedly with the person you wrote it for!
Let me make a suggestion...
Have fun and learn heaps!
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