People often forget persuasion is a process rather than an event. Prospects aren’t unconvinced one moment and suddenly committed the next because you’ve discovered the verbal “magic bullet.” Moving people to action involves a gradual and sequential approach. You’ll be much more effective persuading prospects to take action when you implement the principle of “psychological progression.” This organizing principle divides a presentation into discrete steps designed to move listeners toward a desired outcome. Each step serves a specific purpose in the process of persuasion by creating the desired mental state in the minds of the audience. Here are the five steps, along with example messaging for each.
Listen. A presenter’s first task is to overcome preoccupation by rising above all the mental clutter in the audience’s mind. In order to be heard, you must first capture attention. Techniques include humor, narratives, uniqueness, props and provocative statements. I’m going to predict that 100% of the people sitting in this room have a will. Some of you will have made your wishes known by formally drawing up a will. For the rest of you, don’t worry. The state will decide everything for you after you’re gone. Which group would you rather be in?
Feel. Next, you must make the audience feel some pain or inadequacy in their current state of affairs. Your goal is to create a mental appetite for resolution. Do you want any control over how your property and other assets are distributed after you’re gone, or would you rather leave people guessing about your wishes? If you think your family is so harmonious it borders on problematic, just depart without a will and that problem will be quickly solved.
See: You must then satisfy the appetite you’ve created with your recommendation for action. The purpose is to create congruence between their pain and your solution. In other words, you’re showing them how to solve the problem you’ve made them aware of. When you prepare for the future, you can control it. You won’t have to worry about your wishes being carried out.
Believe. The audience must also believe your solution will work. You create this belief through examples, case studies and analogies. This step serves to remove any doubts or skepticism both about your solution and about your personal ability to deliver it. For over 30 years, we’ve been providing peace of mind and helping clients plan soundly plan for the future. We have represented clients who have departed both with and without a will. Let me give you a short illustration of both cases.
Act. The final step involves getting the audience to act on your recommendations. One of the keys to an effective call to action is not overwhelming the audience with choice. The fewer options available, the more likely they are to act on one. You can get started immediately by going to our Website and using the short questionnaire to start planning. We’ll then help you customize a document for your specific wishes.
Three keys will help increase your effectiveness: First, the order in which you introduce these steps is crucial to their success. At each stage, people must experience the previous step before moving on to the next. The effect is cumulative. Second, focus less on what you say and more on the intellectual and emotional state you’re trying to create in the minds of the audience. Third, don’t neglect the presentation of these messages. They must be delivered in a way that reinforces your sincerity and authenticity. In addition to closing more business, organizing your presentation on the principle of psychological progression guarantees prospects will be more committed to action.
©Peak Communication Performance. Excerpted from Rainmaking Presentations: How To Grow Your Business by Leveraging Your Expertise, available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. Download the first chapter at www.RainMakingPresentations.com. When you create more persuasive presentations, you’ll discover why better communication means more business. Affluent Magazine’s Presentation Expert, Joseph Sommerville, Ph.D., shows professionals how to design, develop and deliver effective presentations. Please contact him at Sommerville@RainMakingPresentations.com.