Pre-Suade Me

Layered Cocktail

Much like this drink (Layered Rum Mocha), I am a woman of many layers. Some more viscous, some more strong and spicy, and some some steadfast and unwilling to join the common bond and instead float alone. I can be coaxed into doing something, depending on my mood, depending on my environment, and depending on the trust I have in the person speaking with me. I know you’ve heard of persuasion before, and perhaps you’ve been persuaded to do things you otherwise wouldn’t, but let me tell you about a word I stumbled upon when reading Robert Cialdini’s new novel, Pre-suasion, A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. The word of the day is Pre-suasion. In short, pre-suasion focuses on capturing the attention of your audience and in the few moments before the message is delivered, convincing them that what you’re about to tell them is exactly what they want to hear. 

One of the key points he touched on in the novel is avoiding something called “Target Chuting”, which may be the reason many market researchers fail to find an adequate sample set for any given survey due to the lack of want to participate, regardless of the incentive given to do so. Target-chuting involves asking a loaded question asking one of two things. One is a positive, one is a negative. Since the subject is only asked one question in particular, they are more likely to respond in accordance with the wording of the particular question, regardless of whether they believe it or now.

For example, someone catches me on a bad day. I fell down the stairs, my car got rear-ended, I’m having a blow-up with the boss at work. They ask one question…”Are you unhappy?” Well, f*@k yeah, I’m unhappy. It’s been a really terrible day. What do you think I will say if they now ask me if I’m unhappy with my cable service? Every single glitch, overcharge, internet outage, will come boiling to the top and I will explode like St. Helens in ’80. Did they mean for me to become unhinged? No! They simply asked me a loaded question prior to getting to the real point of what they were talking about. What was their point? They were trying to pre-suade me. They wanted me to become angry about my existing service so they could point out the benefits of how fast their internet was, how infrequent, if at all, I would experience outages, how “there for me” they were. And you know what? I may have been persuaded. That was a good sell. It wasn’t a hard sell. It was a sell that targeted my emotional well-being in that instant and pounced to make me “better off” in an unrelated aspect of my life.

And you know what? It worked. I changed my service. Would I have done so on a good day? Hell, I would’ve brushed right past her without answering her questions.

Pre-suasion. The word of the day. Get what you want by playing up the emotions and the current mood of the recipient immediately before you pounce. What do you think lures are for when fishing?

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