November 30

New Persuasion Techniques Borrowed from the Courtroom


Lawyers are always on the lookout for new techniques to help them persuade a judge or jury to side with their case. Not surprisingly they’ve found that the most effective techniques are 1) making a strong argument for your case and 2) being seen as a credible source. But recent research on the subject of persuasion reveals some surprising new ways that lawyers can improve their ability to persuade – and hence, how you can be more persuasive in your presentation or demo.

4  Persuasion Techniques Borrowed from the Courtroom for Use in Your Presentation or Demo:

    1. Eliminate hesitant or vague language from your delivery.
      The “ah’s, umms, and errs” not only make it harder for people to pay attention to you, but it turns out, it makes you less persuasive.  Then there are the “maybes, sort of’s, some’s, and a lots” which convey uncertainty.  Eliminate the filler words by practicing pausing instead of filling the space with meaningless words. (TIP: if you need extra help with this check out a local Toastmasters group.) Also, replace the vague language with clear specific terms.  For example, instead of “You’ll be able to get a lot more done with our solution,” try putting some metrics to it, like “Our solution allows you to run 25 times as many reports per hour.”
    2. Ask your prospect to think of reasons why your proposal makes sense.
      New research has found that much of the persuasion process happens internally during that ongoing dialogue taking place in a person’s head. Asking your prospect to mentally connect the dots to arrive at the desired conclusion is a powerful persuasive tool. It’s also one of the reasons why stories are often more effective at changing someone’s mind than rifling off a list of reasons.
    3. Make your strongest case when people are worn down. Although this sounds like an unfair advantage to seek, researchers have found that people are more easily persuaded to adopt new things when they’re tired. While I’m not advocating that you wear your prospect down, this certainly makes a good argument for why you should deliver a powerful closing – especially after a long presentation at the end of the day.
    4. Reveal your competitor’s weakest arguments.
      Think of this as giving your prospect an immunization against your competitors’ strongest case. For example, say your competitor’s strongest argument is that their solution is less expensive. Instead of going head to head against the price issue, try tackling one of your competitor’s smaller claims, like that they offer more options on a particular feature than you. By planting a seed of doubt in your prospect’s mind about your competitor’s smaller claims, it allows your prospect to build up some resistance to your competitor’s larger attacks — sort of like a flu shot.


Persuasion techniques, vocal tips

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