Remember however, that your goal is not to beat your audience into submission, but to influence them to take action.
How do you influence your audience without making them feel uncomfortable?
By understanding the psychology of persuasion.
Persuasion is a powerful tool. When you do it well, people adopt your ideas and spread your message. It’s a gain for your audience, a victory for your business, and the chance to make the world a bit better, one presentation at a time.
Below are Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence and how to use them in your next presentation.
1) Reciprocity: Give a little something to get a little something in return
Cialdini’s first principle of persuasion states that human beings are wired to return favors and pay back debts. We want to treat others the way they treat us. For instance, the reciprocation principle explains why free samples can be so effective. People who receive a free, unexpected gift are more likely to listen to a product’s features, donate to a cause, or tip a waitress more money. The next time you present, give your audience a special gift within the first 5 minutes. The gifts do not have to be expensive or even material; information and favors can work as well.
2) Social Proof
When people are uncertain about a course of action, they tend to look to those around them to guide their decisions and actions. They want to know what everyone else is doing, especially their peers. “Laugh tracks in the background of comedy shows exist for this very reason,” Cialdini says. In your next presentation, include testimonials from others. Testimonials from satisfied clients show your target audience that people who are similar to them have enjoyed your product or service. They will be more likely to become customers themselves. It is also a great idea to ask each member in the audience why they decided to attend the presentation.
3) Commitment and Consistency
People do not like to back out of deals. We are more likely to do something after we have agreed to it verbally or in writing, Cialdini says. People strive for consistency in their commitments. They also prefer to follow pre-existing attitudes, values and actions. In 1987, social scientist Anthony Greenwald approached potential voters on election-day eve to ask whether they would vote and to provide reasons why or why not. 100% said they would vote. On Election Day, 86.7% of those asked went to the polls compared to 61.5% of those who were not asked. Those who publicly committed to voting on the previous day proved more likely to actually vote. People want to be both consistent and true to their word. Getting customers or co-workers to publicly commit to something makes them more likely to follow through with an action or a purchase.
“People prefer to say ‘yes’ to those they know and like,” Cialdini says. People are also more likely to favour those who are physically attractive, similar to themselves, or who give them compliments. Even something as ‘random’ as having the same name as your prospects can increase your chances of making a sale. By becoming more knowledgeable about your prospects’ existing preferences, you will become more influential. It will allow you understand the audience’s interests and challenges and then explain how you and the people on your team are similar to them.
People respect authority. They want to follow the lead of real experts. Business titles, impressive clothing, and even driving an expensive, high-performing automobile are proven factors in lending credibility to any individual.
When people are uncertain, they look outside themselves for information to guide their decisions. Giving the appearance of authority will increase the likelihood that your audience will comply with your requests.
In fundamental economic theory, scarcity relates to supply and demand. Basically, the less there is of something, the more valuable it is. The more rare and uncommon a thing, the more people want it. Familiar examples are frenzies over the latest holiday toy or urban campers waiting overnight to pounce on the latest iPhone. “The tendency to be more sensitive to possible losses than to possible gains is one of the best-supported findings in social science”, explains Cialdini. Therefore, you will persuade your audience to adopt your message when you include the phrases below during your presentation:
• “Don’t miss this chance…”
• “Here’s what you’ll miss out on…”
When the objective of your presentation is to sell a product or service that is genuinely unique, be sure to emphasize its exclusive qualities to increase the perception of its scarcity.
Your big idea is built to serve the world and help people. These 6 Persuasion Principles are designed to make your persuasive presentation shine and leave your audience longing to find out more about what you have to offer.