The first three ways to be more persuasive base on neuroscience were presented in this blog on November 12, 2018. Given the length of the blog here are the last four for closure.
What are the influences that persuade us to change are minds? Tali Sharot is the author of a new book entitled The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others that offers some great ideas. She suggests seven key thoughts on this topic that I found very inciteful that I thought you may find interesting too. Here is an elaboration on the last four:
1. We are shaped by previous experience
2. Emotion is very important
3. Positive incentives are very valuable
4. The need for control
People have a real need to feel that they are in control. When individuals feel that they are in control this helps reduce stress, fear and anxiety. This is very important. Hostage negotiators know this and give the person empathy and choices. Note that control is not given up, rather the perception of control. The hostage negotiator maintains control of the situation, but at the same times helps the hostage taker feel as if elements of control have been taken over. For example, would you like food? What kind of food would you like? How much food would you like? When can we deliver the food?
In the 1994 movie The Shawshank Redemption Tim Robbins as a former CPA and now a prisoner in jail helps fill out tax returns for the guards and asks the guards questions like whether they want the refund of their taxes to be saved to send their children to Harvard or Yale? Think of how the guards were impacted by this question. This helped the guards visualize money, savings, their children, being proud and happy. Why? In part they were visualizing choices of what to do with their money. On the other hand know how to work with difficult people when they feel they need to be in control.
5. Encourage curiosity so the other party will listen after having been listened to
We seek positive information. We avoid negative information. Look at the divisiveness in our society. Think of where you get your news. Think of where others get their news. Is it Fox or MSNBC for example. The answer to where someone gets their news says a lot. We like to listen to what reinforces our view. However, if we frame something in a positive light and offer only some of the information we may make the other party curious and want to know more. Think about this blog. Did you read this blog this week, because you wanted to find out more about the last four criteria? That was part of this plan. I also had a lot to say. When we are told what we don’t know we want to know more. Consider how the airlines like Delta on their newer jets have made the preflight safety check humorous so that we wonder what the step in the message is going to offer. That keeps our attention. That’s on the positive side. On the negative side read this to learn how to listen better with difficult people.
6. Do not provide threatening information
When we are threatened in some way we feel danger. When we feel danger we lean towards flight, fight or freeze. We want to play it safe and take the safe way out, which may mean doing nothing. When we feel good we are more inclined to take risks. It has been found that lottery ticket sales go up on bright sunny days and we may be more likely to over estimate success. If the other person is down appeal to safety. If the other person is up appeal to additional risk. Consider what you say based on the mindset of the other person. The impact of a sunny day or a favorite team winning can have a positive impact and vice versa. Keep in mind that you don’t know what other outside impacts may also be influencing a decision. You can read this to know how to work with others that may be threatening during a negotiation.
7. We are impacted by others
We tend to follow the crowd and especially the in crowd. If others are doing it, we tend to go along. If others are avoiding something, we tend to want to avoid it too. If the cool kids are doing it we tend to think it must be cool too. The question is whether what you are offering is what is perceived as what the cool kids are doing.
These seven ideas allow us to persuade ourselves and others. Knowing this information, consider how you may interact with others you want to persuade in the future.
To read a more detailed synopsis of the book read this commentary from Eric Barker, the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree.