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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

The True Root of All Persuasion

I’ve seen a lot of persuasion techniques talked about over the years and many of them have some merit. However, many of them tend to be gimmicks that may or may not work well. When you get to the bottom of it all, virtually everything written on persuasion says that the key is to create an unconscious sympathetic emotional reaction in the person you are attempting to persuade.

The key words here are unconscious and sympathetic. When these two connections exist, you the persuader are linked in a very powerful way to the person you want to persuade. It needs to be unconscious because we as humans do not like to think we are being persuaded to do something. It needs to be sympathetic because that creates a bond between the two people.

Persuasive techniques can be written and they can be spoken. In virtually all cases they use some variation of story structure and techniques to create the emotional power. For instance, a minister doesn’t just describe what he wants you to believe. He wraps the beliefs in a powerful story that transports you to a place you may have dreamed of for years. In politics the same thing happens. I saw a great article on the difference between the campaigns of Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman in Iowa last week. Perry showed up, pressed the flesh, talked to people, told stories, and generally made himself a person the audience could connect with. In many ways he became them. Bachman on the other hand was late, talked to almost nobody, and left as soon as her appearance was over. Aides credited this to security. The fact is that she didn’t connect in a gut level way like Perry did. In interviews after the event Perry got far better marks for his performance.

Some of the techniques persuasion specialists teach, like modeling and taking on characteristics of the other person, are simply tactics to increase emotional connection. It isn’t the modeling that works, it is the emotion it creates. When you attach a powerful story to your interaction you do much the same thing. Your persuadee does not know what you are doing. He or she simply likes the story and gets an emotional connection with you because of that. The story touches something deep and unconscious that makes the person more likely to accept your point because he or she accepts you first.

When you connect on the basis of deep unconscious beliefs and habits, you create that connection that almost makes the person do what you want. Look around you in politics, religion, sales, and networking and ask yourself why you connected with one person and not another. The answers may surprise you.

By the way, you can tell a real persuasion expert by the way he or she persuades you to buy his or her products and services. If the expert couldn’t get you to buy, he or she wasn’t very good at persuasion and you can imagine how bad or good the product might be.

Build the connection with stories and story techniques and you will find it to be powerfully persuasive.


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