Set Your Persuasion Goals
We're gonna now get into goal setting. So one of the biggest problems we have especially when your in the middle of a disagreement, you're thinking, ya know, "I'm just gonna answer, I'm just gonna come up "with the right words, I gotta have the right words." Really what you should do is mentally step back and think, "What do I want to get out "of this whole exchange?" So we're gonna first talk about rhetorical theory and then we're gonna talk about real life. (laughing) And how it works maybe a little differently. Let's talk about the theory first cause it has some applicability. What are your persuasion goals? Well you got three, in rhetoric anyway. Mood, mind, and action. We talked a little bit about, we've already talked about mood, right. Cognitive ease, Homer Simpson, they should be feeling the desire for whatever you want them to choose or the action you want them to take. Which has to do with your threat statement. You know, here's what's wrong with your life, here's what's miss...
ing, you have halitosis, I have the cure. And then, ya know, happy and smiling. That's the mood part, right. So if you could change people you can actually create an opportunity. You can make them ready to be persuaded by you. So changing the mood is a way to do that. We're gonna talk a little bit about how to do that. Next step up in terms of difficulty is actually changing their minds about something. And so I'm going to talk a little bit later about how my wife and I have an annual argument about where to go on vacation. How do you change your loved one's mind in order to do what you want them to do? Then there's the action itself. So you know you can get the horse in the mood to drink. (laughing) Right? You can change it's mind about drinking bourbon and actually drinking water. How do you get that horse actually to take that action to drink? That's an analogy by the way, we're not talking horses. Just cats and Shakespeare. (laughing) So these steps go from easy to hard and often you can lead, one step can lead to the other. You can change someones mood and then their mind, you're much more likely to get them to act. But as voter registration drives consistently show, you can get people to attend the parties and you know hear the awesome music at the rallies, you can get them with the T-shirts, you can get them to support the candidate. Actually getting them to the poles is the hard part and this influences the elections. So see what I'm talking about here. Mood, mind, and action are steps of difficulty. Okay that's rhetorical theory. It is really important in some of the stuff we're going to talk about, some of these tools we'll talk about how to change mood, mind and get people to act. Or stop acting, as the case may be. But I've found in my work as I went on, I kept talking about this and I kept thinking. They don't always, mood, mind and action don't always apply to what you're actually trying to do in setting goals in an exchange or a marketing campaign, any kind of persuasion. So I'm going to pause for a little bit and let you think about that because I want you to be thinking maybe it doesn't always work and there are other goals to set. Alright back to cognitive ease now, stop thinking. Imagine you are a little girl, we're gonna do a little role playing here. So one of you I'm really hoping will be brave and do a little role playing with me. By the way I'm gonna play a little girl. This is gonna be using what little acting skills I have so forgive me, whose just dropped her ice cream cone. That's why we have an ice cream cone there up on the screen. And the idea is that you want her to feel better and stop screaming, you want to change her mind about what a tragedy that dropped ice cream is. And maybe accept a substitute, right. So mood, mind, and action, right. And so even if they run out of that flavor you want her to agree. Okay I'll go with strawberry, I hate strawberry but ya know, I'm gonna eat it anyway. Mood, mind, and action. So who want's to be the grown up and talk me? You're really gonna do this Corrine?
Okay, I'm so grateful. (laughing) Alright, I'm not actually going to cry cause I'm not really.
You know, I have to much cognitive ease. But, I dropped my ice cream. (crying) It's a tragedy. (laughing) I have a great vocabulary by the way, I'm five years old. (whining) This is awful, my day's going wrong.
It's okay, you don't, we can get some more ice cream.
More ice cream? But I, this is the last chocolate.
You can even choose from some different flavors if you want.
Okay that's really good, I'm back to me just temporarily.
So what you've done is offered a choice, which is great. It's one way to get people to change their mind. You have offered a choice but what did you actually do here? Again we're into manipulative ethics here. You, you know, what she wants is not what they have, so you're offering a choice but it's really saying I want you to choose the non-chocolate option, right. So that's tricky, okay keep going here. (crying) I don't know, I just want chocolate. This is hard right?
Yeah, it is.
The action part is really the hardest of all.
Yeah. (laughing) We could scoop it up and put it in a cup and you could eat it anyway. (laughing)
Yuck. Now this is really good, you are into some really high level rhetoric here. And so this often has to do with offering a bad choice as a contrast to the choice you want them to make. So my son is named George for a good reason. This is an argument I won. My wife wanted to choose a different name and so I started proposing names like, Herman Melville Heinrichs and it's like there's no way she's gonna do that. She didn't want, I wanted to name him George after my uncle, Montignano Jorge De Conyez Verez. She wasn't gonna go with Jorge but George is fine because everybody called by uncle George. But she didn't like word, the name George. After I proposed a number of names, Herman Melville Heinrichs, I really hit hard. She started to think, maybe George doesn't sound too bad. Of course I hugged her, and kissed her, and thanked her, and to this day we have our son, George. Now that's what you just did, right? We could scoop up and there's only gonna be a little bit of gravel and dust in this ice cream. (laughing) And that's like crunchies you can go ahead and eat it. So that's great, do you wanna keep going? Or we could stop right there. I'm thinking the little girl, I'm gonna be the little girl and say, "Okay, I'll have the strawberry."
Then she's gonna eat it and it's gonna be just fine. Right?
That's great what you did, so what you did was first you showed sympathy. Now one of things to be careful with if you're talking about a little girl is saying it's okay when she's not feeling okay. It may be a little bit problematic. But one of the things to do is in any mood you want to reflect the mood, you want to be able to, and what I say is, honor the mood. Like don't say, "Oh don't feel bad." Right? Because that's telling a kid to change the mood without having a reason to. Or a grown up for that matter, if somebody's upset. So honor the mood. Say, "I can see why you're upset, I get it, that's awful." Then you can say, "Well, let's talk about what we can do." And we're gonna talk a little bit about what I call a future pivot, where you can get the attention from. You know, bring it from the past or the present to the future. It's like here's what we're gonna do. You know, there is more ice cream and there's awesome choices that you can make. Right and then let's go. Another thing to do finally for action is to create a default. So you did that. There's a default choice like, we're gonna give you choices but the choice is non-chocolate. At the same time another thing you can do with a default is to make it seem like okay, this is the way it's gonna happen. Then they have to work extra hard not to do that and again, behavioral economics, this proves this rhetorical theory. That basically if you give the default one direction and this is something that is happening in the state of California with vaccination. The default will be pro vaccination. If you're against it then you have to make an extra effort to say, "No, I don't want this for my child." That's default. And what you did was create a kinda default and you can do it even more. Okay let's go, here we go, we're gonna get you more ice cream. And then she can say, "I don't want more ice cream, "I'm done with you, I want another family." Not that she would with you Corrine. Okay, that make sense to you? Alright so, mood, mind, and action may work with a little girl and dropped ice cream but does it really work with a client you're pitching to? Or getting a job, or doing just about anything in life that has to do with the workplace? So I've found that, and also, what about that angry stupid uncle who inevitably shows up at Thanksgiving, you only see him once a year and he starts lecturing you about his crazy politics? (deep sigh) That's where you get into other kinds of goals, not just mood, mind, and action, which is classical rhetorical theory. But doubt, priority and relationship. So one of the things you do with the angry uncle is you can introduce some doubt. And we're gonna talk a little bit about how to do that. So this is not a matter of changing this idiots mind. You're just not, right. But what you can do is make this uncle feel like, "Well, maybe I'm a little wrong," or, "Maybe I'm not entirely supported in my beliefs." The back of his head he's gonna doubt a little bit, sound a little less sure. I count that as a win, if you can take an extremist and make that extremist doubt himself, that's kind of a win. You're not gonna do more than that but you know, we can move the needle a bit in society if we do that more. Then there is priority and so every fundraiser worries about this. Have you been involved in fundraising at all? I'm married to one, not a fundraising, a fundraiser. And she has this problem where she raises money for a hospital center in a medical school. And nobody is anti-hospital, right. Or anti-sick people, every body thinks medicine, pretty much, thinks medicine is a good thing. But the problem is the priority level is not maybe the highest for them. They'd rather give their money to a different cause. So her persuasion has to do with priority levels. One of my clients, NASA, has a problem. Where very few people are anti-space, you know, they think it's fine. Elon Musk can send all the cars he wants into Space and the problem is NASA is not getting the congressional funding it needs to meet all its mandated missions that congress has told them to do. So how do you set people's priority towards Space a little bit higher and that's the work I'm doing. Is it mood, is it mind, is it action? Not necessarily, it's really what priority level to set for that, does that make sense to you? Then there's maybe most important of all if you want to be in relationships and sustain them. Relationship is the ultimate goal. So if you're with a person that's very angry with you, you're in a confrontation, you disagree, maybe your goal is not to talk them into anything but to say, "Look what's most important to me "is staying together." So one of the most powerful phrases, or sentences in all of rhetoric is the sentence, I love you. It's totally disarming by the way. Especially when your loved one of 38 years is yelling at you for something just say, "I love you." It can, actually you have to stand back far enough like outside of striking distance because it may not always work. But it totally, for my wife, she just crumples every time I say I love you. You know, moments like that, you can't do it too often. Anyway, that's the relationship as the main, you know, goal for this particular occasion.