A Post on Persuasion

BY Richard Revell | Springblog | 20/11/2015

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I think if we’re honest with ourselves we believe we’re pretty unswayable, right? Our decisions are made solely on rational thought and we’re immune to external influences, yes?

Well, no actually.

There’s a scene in the Simpsons (back when it was good) in which Lisa warns Homer that he’s easily persuadable, to which he responds in a slightly dazed voice “yes, I am easily persuadable”. I’m sorry to say it, but we are all Homer Simpson. Perhaps a bit more svelte, certainly less likely to cause nuclear meltdowns, but all the same, very persuadable.

For instance, did you know that when hurricanes hit, you’re 260% more likely to donate to the appeal if your name begins with the same letter as the name of the hurricane? Or that when Head and Shoulders reduced their range of products from 26 to 15, it persuaded people to buy more of their wares, increasing their sales by 10%? Or that there’s one word that can increase our chances of responding to a request by over 50%? It seems unbelievable, but it’s all been proven. By science no less.

It’s a fascinating area and one that we encounter every day, both in and out of work. Human behaviour, perception, language, psychology – they all play a part in how we make decisions whether we know it or not.

It’s not just a case of seeing how persuasion techniques can work for us and our clients, but recognising when they are being used on us too. Anyone been offered a deal on their phone contract that is only available for that day? How about when a salesman compliments you on your shoes? Ever wondered why multi-millionairess Jennifer Anniston was extolling the virtues of a home hair-dye kit? They are all (rather unethical) persuasion techniques designed to empty your pockets.

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