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The Process of Believing


It is very odd that for every thousand, perhaps who have learned persuasion formula, only one or two understand them. You can tell someone 1000 times how persuasion works, and its very unlikely they will understand. So we can keep this secret to ourselves even though we tell it to thousands! The reason is that only one or two in a thousand can get into the 'shoes' of the person or group they are communicating with and understand how they will react or feel.

What happens when we are persuaded? Clearly, it doesn't happen all at once (or rarely). It is some sort of process or set of stages that we go through from indifference or disagreement to belief and agreement.

Of course, if the people being persuaded don't attend to the message, they won't be persuaded - how ever good are message is.

Persuaders tell us that is emotion, not fact that persuades. And emotion gets attention. Want to get the attention of thousands? Shout 'Fire'. Everyone will attend to you. As an aside, if you are being attacked or something, don't shout 'Help!'. It gets attention, but everyone goes away. Shout 'Fire!' Everyone has to check that out. It affects their survival.

(Of course, this article is going to use extremes to make points, but use subtleness to be effective).

So how do you get emotional attention? How do you shout 'Fire'? Use the most powerful motives such as the 7 deadly sins. There are many powerful motivators, such as guilt, shame, laziness, etc. But most powerful and universal is greed. I hate this, but it is true.

If I said, I have a way for you to get unbelievably rich in a week with no effort on your part, would you be interested? Well, you would be, but you probably wouldn't believe me. One reason is that I'd be lying.

If I had such a scheme, I'd use it myself, or share it with my friends. I certainly wouldn't send you mail trying to get money. (That is a way for me to get rich in a short time, without much effort!)

Let's explore this money scam, and see how it might work.

First compare:

I can make you very rich
1) I can show you how to receive a cheque for $1,000,000 in a week
2) I can show you how to receive a cheque for $987,127.97 in a week
3) I can show you how to receive a cheque for $2,314.67 in a week

I suggest that 3) is more persuasive, even if 2) is true. Also 'by next week', or by '13 July 1999' are more persuasive. The reason is they are intriguing and intrigue is another emotion. 3) is more 'realistic'.

Back to the stages.

So I can make you rich without effort or capital. Appeals to greed and laziness. Gets a little attention, but isn't believed.

So what next?

Consider this. I can show you how to get one or more cheque for $2,314.67 in by next week. Why would I want to tell you this? Why don't I do the scheme myself, and keep all these cheques? Well, I live in the UK, and this programme works locally. I don't want to go to the States, or your country, so I got the ideas of making a little more money showing you how to make the big money I make here - for a small payment, of course.

Remember, we are talking about persuasion here, not giving model letters. But I think the above is more persuasive. Why? Because it answers one objection which the listener or reader might have. It makes the implausible more plausible.

Would you buy the information? No. You would require proof, or a super-charge of your emotion of greed, so you forgot to check things out reasonably.

What about:

'How would you like to get up late every day and casually pick up your mail, knowing there would be at least one cheque for $2,314.67 - every day - and sometimes two. Just for one hours work a day! And if you wanted to get more, you could work an extra hour. Personally I value my free time and one hour a day for one or two such cheques is quite enough for me. '

Would this make it more persuasive? I think it would. You can start to imagine this lazy life of picking up easy cheques for only one hour's work a day. If you work 8 hours a day for $100 you'd certainly work mornings for 4 $2,314.67 a day.

This is charging-up the emotions, in this case greed. If you get this lazy greedy idea of picking up this amount of money for just one-hour's work, then you are caught.

And if I say,

'My friend Harry works this plan too. He makes 10 times the amount of money I do. But he loves doing it and works long hours. I'd rather have my free time and get only one or two cheques a day for $2,314.67. Money, after all isn't everything, is it?'

We have given some more proof (even if it is shady proof) by saying that someone else works the plan too. Hopefully, you don't realise I have contradicted myself, unless Harry works in a country different from you and I. Remember this is an explanation of stages and not letter writing! (You'd have to say that the plan worked locally and you are only selling to the first person who responds in your area),.

So we have

Caught attention
Dealt with an immediate objection
Presented a mental picture of what it would be like picking the cheques out of the mail, and,
Given some proof, using my friend Harry.

If I actually went on and showed pictures of cheques with dates over a week or two period (or longer) then we may have got to a stage where from initial disbelief you are quite interested in getting this plan.

So, to cut this story short, by appealing to emotions, and supporting it with reason we can change the belief pattern of those who think in the way we are describing. If you don't want to go to the mail and find big cheques instead of the usual bills, then you won't be interested.

Remember we respond to emotion and decide, and then look for reasons for our belief.

Quite sick really, but if you want to persuade, you need to understand the realities of how we think. We get excited and take action, and then find the reasons to explain why what we did was right.

Why don't you look back at the examples and note the other emotions and effects which are included, such as my friend Harry ENJOYING doing the work. Suggesting rather than telling that the work is enjoyable!

Finally, in any persuasion process we need to ask for the action. We need to tell the reader or listener exactly what we want them to do. If we have got them FIRED up then they will jump to take the action, thinking later.

When we are fired up we like to be told firmly just what to do. Write out your cheque, stick it in the envelope, and wait till tomorrow when you will be shown how to get all these benefits!

Try to pull out the persuasion steps.

So, are you one in the thousand who understand this, or are you like the rest? Don't feel bad if you are like the rest. You're in the majority. And there's always next time.

Enjoy cheque picking!

Speak soon,

Ken Ward

Freeing the Mind - Many articles on personal development!

Most Recent Revision: 17-Apr-99.
Copyright 1998, 1999 Ken Ward,
All Rights Reserved.