Pre-Suasion is a book by Robert Cialdini that helps you to navigate the intricacies of the human mind and how words can pre-condition our mind, therefore affecting our decision-making.
According to a recent study by psycholinguist, Gun Semin, he concluded that the fundamental purpose of speech is to focus the attention of your audience in a specific direction.
This new bit of information is then added with their experience to form their reaction. This is what happens when you are bombarded with information from advertisers to help you create associations that will be beneficial to their business.
I picked up a lot of lessons reading this book, but if I had to summarize it into three, it would be that –
- Using certain words can help to elicit a preferred response.
- Never forget to ask, “why is this important to me now?”
- The external and internal environment help to form your decision making.
Lesson One: Using certain words can help to elicit a preferred response
This is the oldest trick in the book for marketers, advertisers, and recruiters. Before they try to sell you on their product or idea, they first need to pre-condition your mind.
You will be surprised the difference in the answers you will get if you ask, “are you unhappy?” instead of “are you happy?”
The first questions conditions you to look at the things that are missing. In a Canadian survey conducted in 1993 using these questions, people were 375% more likely to choose that they were unhappy when answering this question.
In a test carried out by San Bolkan and Peter Andersen, merely asking people before the interview if they were adventurous led to 75.7% of their test subjects trying a new drink and leaving their email address. This is compared to just 33% when the question as not asked.
Lesson Two: Never forget to ask, “why is this important to me now?”
This question is important and can tip the scale in epic proportions.
As humans, we have the innate tendency to place more importance to the more obvious things before the subtle ones.
This is why when an intruder alarm marketer approaches you, he starts by throwing numbers of crime rates and home break-ins in your face. It is a strategy to move your need for an alarm system up a few places on your scale of preference.
Evident as it looks, it works. Ask anyone the biggest threat to our planet, and he will say the Amazon fires or whatever is in the news – because of the amount of media coverage it gets.
So before you make that decision, ask yourself, “will I feel the same way next month?”
Lesson Three: The external and internal environment help to form your decision making
The information and occurrences around you are the external environments, but they cannot be separated from the domestic environment – attitude, expectations, prejudices, and memories.
Setting the right external environment can be what you need to elicit the proper response in your audience.
Sometimes, it is by working their emotions in the direction you want and using that to your advantage. Both go hand in hand most of the time.
My Personal Takeaway
Reading this book, I learned how the mind could be swayed in the intended direction by the subtlest techniques.
Advertisers and recruiters have mastered this art for a long time. It would be a valuable item in your arsenal if you learned to use these techniques in your negotiations and daily decision making.
Put into Action
- Words help people to form associations – know the right words.
- Get ahead of the conversation. There are no innocent ones.
- Look behind the scenes and see beyond the obvious.
- Exploit the positive test strategy.
Anyone can pick up this book and learn some valuables lessons. With this book, an advertiser, marketer, salesman, or recruiter can polish their skills and become more productive.
On the other hand, as the potential consumer, it helps you make the right choices; not just because the marketer primed you for his desired response.
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