In the previous post on the Act of Persuasion we took a deeper look into persuasion, the tools that are available at the hands of a persuader and the factors affecting the act of persuasion. Enough said from the side of the persuader. Now let’s look at the persuadee. What really happens with the persuadee when he/she is being persuaded to do something?
Before we begin, were you able to persuade someone in your family to watch the latest Salman Khan movie?!
The Cues of Persuasion
As discussed, every persuasion has a goal. The aim of the persuader is to propagate his/her agenda and change the thought process and therefore the action of the persuadee towards that particular goal.
Now let’s see how the persuader does that. The persuader uses a combination of words, voice, gestures, body, face and eyes to effectively propagate the message to the persuadee.
From the point of the view of the persuadee, the following are some of the cues with which he/she can identify if they are being persuaded:
1. Repetition of the idea: Persuasion often is a process and rarely happens in one go. I can rarely convince my friend to go for a movie in one go. It usually takes some effort in doing so. One of the fundamental ways in which I as the persuader would do that is by repetition of words and ideas.
Repetition reinforces. Thus, if the same kinds of words are repeated for any particular idea, it acts as a cue to the persuadee that he/she is being persuaded towards that idea.
2. Painting of a picture: The act of persuasion becomes much simpler for a persuader if he can effectively paint a picture in the mind of the persuadee. “Think about it, we’re not just going for a movie, we’re going for an experience. And the experience will have everything from checking out the new Adidas shoes in the mall to having great food, a long drive in the night and a complete night-out.”
The act often involves painting a picture in the mind of the persuadee. Painting a picture makes things much clear and the job of the persuader much easier.
Hence, this is our second important cue for the persuadee to understand that he/she is being persuaded.
3. Evoking an emotion: The picture being painted isn’t merely a dead one. An equally important aspect of the act of persuasion is painting a live picture which brings out an emotion inside the persuadee. This is done using the perfect combination of words, the modulations in voice and the right usage of the body– the hands, the expressions of the face, the gestures of the eyes and all the other subtle gestures of the body which go unnoticed yet are registered in the deep subconscious part of the brain.
Emotional stimulus, especially laughter or a smile coming out of a dream being fulfilled is the third important cue for our persuadee to understand that he/she is being persuaded.
The Persuadee’s Thought
Every single time the persuader has succeeded in convincing someone to do something, it has happened mainly because the persuadee did not have a clear thought towards the alternative. Every time my friend has been able to convince me to go for a film, I got convinced because I didn’t have a clear idea in my head as to what other thing would I be doing if I don’t go for the film.
In the act of persuasion, the persuadee always has the option or choice to either go with the persuader or to do what they would otherwise be doing. If the priority of the persuadee is absolutely clear, no persuader would ever be able to convince them go with the persuader’s wish. If however the priority of the persuadee is not clear in their own mind, they would be inclined to choose the other option.
My friend wants me to go for a film but I want to study. If my thought of studying is strong, I won’t be persuaded to go for the film. If not, yes.
It is therefore important for a person to set clear thoughts and priorities to himself/herself so as to steer clear of the persuader’s thoughts and ideas.
Both the persuader and the persuadee have a choice. While the persuader’s choice is to get his goals clear so as to be able to best convince the persuadee towards his thought and action. The persuadee’s choice is much more subtle since by use of words, voice and body language; the persuader is painting a picture and evoking an emotion in the mind of the persuadee. In that emotionally charged state, it is easy for the persuader to get the persuadee to do what they want them to.
All of us have our own agendas to propagate. Acts of persuasion happen in our lives on a daily basis. Every day someone is convincing me to do something they want me to. At the same time, I am convincing someone to do something I want them to. The important thing to understand as a persuader is whether I am able to reach to their emotional level to come up with the right mix of Logic and Emotion to convince them to do what I want them to. The important thing to understand as a persuadee is whether my thought and idea are clear as to what I want out of this particular transaction.
Once both are convinced with what they want, the game of persuasion gets so much more interesting and enjoyable!