You could fill a library with books that have been written on how to communicate persuasively. But your best storytelling techniques and your deepest emotional appeals will fall flat if the audience isn’t receptive to begin with. It turns out that unconscious cues of “pre-suasion”—from the height of the ceiling to the tone of voice of the speaker—can bias us in favor or against an argument before it’s even been made.
In this masterclass, psychologist and marketing expert Robert Cialdini teaches you how to deploy these subtle techniques of pre-suasion to your advantage in negotiating, managing others, or landing the perfect job.
What You'll Learn
How to pre-persuade people before you say anything
Techniques for successful negotiation
How to use unconscious visual cues to persuade others
1. Commanders of Attention
The technique of pre-suasion relies on a psychological phenomenon known as priming. Study after study has shown that our attention, memory, and emotional response to just about anything can be heavily influenced by what we’ve experienced in the moments before. “Prime” a person with uplifting music and they’re more likely to approach an upcoming task with a sense of optimism. Prime them with a gloomy fugue and they may quickly decide the task is hopeless.The Self-RelevantWe pay attention to anything related to ourselves. Include implications for others’ circumstances, challenges, and goals in your messages.When deploying client testimonials use those that are most comparable to the potential customer.The UnfinishedAppeal to others’ need for closure by introducing mystery messaging. Your mystery messaging will also force potential customers to pay strict attention to detail.
2. Management Techniques
Managing people is sometimes like herding cats. We humans are independent creatures, and while coercion, scolding, or threats may result in outward compliance, real buy-in, follow-through, and success only happens when people are internally motivated. So how do you align your team’s goals with your own? Robert Cialdini has a couple “pre-suasive” techniques that can help:Do not congratulate your team on progress. This causes them to look backward. Instead congratulate your team on their commitment to the goal. This causes them to look forward.As a manager, your goal is to create the buy-in and engagement that leads to successful completion of the task.Practice creative problem solving in wide, open, expansive spaces. This supports creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Consider moving these sessions outdoors.
3. Negotiation Techniques
The art of negotiation can take years to master, and because of the personalities and the objectives involved, no two negotiations are exactly alike. That said, we humans are predictable in some ways, and there are certain techniques that have been proven time and again in negotiations of all kinds to lead to more desirable outcomes.Match the verbal style of your negotiation partner. Focus on phrases, idioms, diction, vocabulary, and expressions.Pause before you deliver your strongest point. This causes the listener to orient to the next thing you say.Create trust with your listener. Reveal a weakness or drawback before you move on to your main argument.
4. The 6 Universal Principles of Influence
In his bestselling book Influence: The Science of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini outlined six principles of influence — elements that, when present, make it much more likely that your audience will accept your message. These are: reciprocity, liking, authority, social proof, scarcity, and commitment/consistency. These same six elements can be used effectively in “pre-suading” yourself or your audience before launching a new project or pitch.Reciprocity: We like to give back to those who have given to us.Liking: We prefer to say yes to those we know, like, and share commonalities with.Authority: We’re more open to ideas and recommendations that are supported by legitimate experts.Social Proof: We will do what others around us are doing because it reduces uncertainty.Scarcity: We are more likely to want a product that we perceive to be unavailable or available in limited quantity.Commitment and Consistency: We are more likely to agree to something that is consistent with something we...
5. The Art of "Pre-Suasion"
One of the most powerful lessons cognitive psychology has taught us in recent decades is that we’re far less in control of our minds than we generally like to believe. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are subject to all kinds of unconscious influences and biases, including immediate visual cues as seemingly innocuous as the color of the walls.Pre-suasion: The process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to your message before they encounter itPre-Suade yourselfStudies show that exposu...
6. Use Pre-Suasion Tactics in an Honest Way
Like any power, the arts of persuasion and pre-suasion come with an ethical responsibility. Use them well, and you’ll build a loyal and happy customer base. Use them irresponsibly, and negative consequences for your business will follow.The Cost of DishonestyEmployees who are uncomfortable with dishonesty leave companies with unethical cultures. One consequence is high turnover costs.Another consequence is the retention of people who are comfortable with dishonesty, which increases the risk of fraud. People who lie for you will lie to you.Essential Questions for Crafting Pre-Suasive Messages with CareHow can I use pre-suasion ethically, not only for my own interests, but in service of the customer?What is the element of my message that would make it most wise for people to say yes?What is the strength of what I have to offer that will prove to be beneficial to anyone who accepts my offer?