On this episode of The Wednesday Call podcast, your host Andy Albright comes to you live from his home in Treasure Island, Fla. to talk about "The Art of Persuasion according to Aristotle."
How do we begin to define such a broad topic?
"If there are two definitive features of ancient Greek Civilization, they are loquacity (articulate talk) and competition (self-worth's edge)." – Aristotle
The Art of Persuasion
To become a master of persuasion yourself and successfully sell your own ideas, try using these FIVE rhetorical devices that Aristotle identified:
1) Ethos or "Character"
Ethos represents the part of the sales presentation when your client gains some insight into your credibility. Aristotle believed that if a speaker's actions didn't back their words, they would lose credibility, and ultimately, weaken a chance at a sale.
A simple reminder to the client that you are committed to the welfare of others, will build your credibility before you lay out your sales pitch. Here are two ingredients that make up instant credibility: Transparency and Sincerity
Transparency is needed to produce trust and open dialogue. Its lack of hidden agendas and evidence of full disclosure defeats insecurity. The key to a transparent culture is openness. Three factors produce an open environment:
It is important to remember before establishing your sincerity status, you have to be viewed as genuine. This is simple to do, but many people fail at seeming to be real.
When you are being real, you are behaving exactly how you would normally behave and you are not altering your behavior in any way.
While being transparent will gain you trust, being sincere will gain you respect. And sincerity is best evidenced in your passion for what you are selling.
2) Logos or "Reason"
Once ethos is established, it's time to make a logical appeal to reason. Why should your audience care about what you are selling?
The following are TWO logical appeals that will help you gain their support:
3) Pathos or "Emotion"
According to Aristotle, persuasion cannot occur in the absence of emotion. People are moved to action by how a seller makes them feel. Aristotle believed the best way to transfer emotion from one person to another is through the rhetorical device of storytelling.
More then 2,000 years later, neuroscientists have found his thesis accurate. Studies have found that narratives trigger a rush of neurochemicals in the brain, notably oxytocin, the "moral molecule" that connects people on a deeper, emotional level.
Research has found that a winning formula for making a sale is:
The stories that can generate the best connection are stories about you personally or about people close to you. Tales of failure, awkwardness, misfortune, danger or loss, told authentically, create deep engagement. The most personal content is the most relatable.
4) Metaphor or Analogy
Aristotle believed that metaphor gives language its verbal beauty. "To be a master of metaphor is the greatest thing by far," he wrote. When you use a metaphor or analogy to compare a new idea to something that is familiar to your client, it clarifies your sales pitch by turning the abstract into something concrete.
Those who master the metaphor have the ability to turn words into images that help others gain a clearer understanding of their message -- but more importantly, remember and share them with future clients. It is a powerful tool to have.
Example of statement without and with a metaphor:
"You can get hurt financially without an insurance policy" vs. "Going through life without a policy is like playing Russian Roulette."
Metaphors carry emotional associations that resonate instantly with listeners because:
Information and Data tell, but Metaphors SELL because:
5) Brevity or "Conciseness"
Here again, Aristotle was ahead of his time. Aristotle had discovered that there are fairly universal limits to the amount of information which any human can absorb and retain. When it comes to persuasion, less is always more.
Brevity is a crucial element in making a persuasive pitch. An argument or selling point, Aristotle said, should be expressed "as compactly and in as few words as possible." He also observed that the opening of a person's pitch is the most important, since "attention slackens everywhere else rather than at the beginning." The lesson here is: start with your strongest point.
The case for brevity or conciseness are for the following reasons:
For example: 12 seconds in 2000 vs. 8 seconds in 2019.
On this episode of The Wednesday Call podcast, Andy Albright comes to you live from his home in Treasure Island, Fla. to talk about why people should tell it like it is with people.
When you tell it like it is ...
Your intention is the biggest difference. Being direct with news no one wants to hear but needs to hear, is accepted by most if they know you genuinely care about them.
"If you want to tell someone like it is, it's not complicated. Just tell the people you love that you love them and tell them the truth whenever possible." -- Jeff Bright
Moral: The promotion of a person's welfare sometimes requires tough love. But tough love requires credibility.
3 Steps to Telling it Like it is:
It's called feedback and there are specific criteria which must be followed if you want the "telling" to be accepted (message heard) and actionable (expectations set).
Here is the Criteria:
1. Make it Clear
2. Make it Clean
3. Make it Calm
How do we make it clear?
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- George Bernard Shaw
Moral: The biggest cause of miscommunication is misconception (a mistaken belief due to a preconceived notion) and misperception (an incorrect awareness due to a lacking of facts).
Straightforwardness is a trait I've always admired in others. Being direct is the prerequisite for achieving clarity in any conversation. Direct "tellers" take less time and use fewer words to get the point.
So keep your words short and sweet. Avoid trying to over explain your reason for saying NO or appearing overly apologetic for giving constructive feedback.
But being Clear does not need to sound blunt. For example, not saying: "You got it yet?"
1. Make it Clear Continued: We need to be clear with our conversations in order to avoid vagueness. To accomplish this objective, you must learn to convey: clarity, conciseness and precision, all at the same time.
Clarity (make sense, do not be fuzzy). Making sense helps frame the dream or goal. Example: Produce "said" premium a month.
Conciseness (Be brief, do not take too long). Being brief helps remember the call to action. Example: Do the Do or Do your job.
Precision (Be exact, do not approximate). Being exact helps honor the expectation. Example: Book "said" appointments a week.
How Do We Make it Clean?
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad." -- Aldous Huxley
Moral: Shaking off a little mad but knowing the truth, is much better than shaking off a lot of happy after you have found out that you have been lied to.
2. Make it Clean: When I reflect on the best relationships I have or had, personal and professional, the ones I value most are the real ones, the candid ones. Because, if you have feedback, I want to hear it.
But, rarely do we get that feedback -- because we are afraid to give it. We fear sounding crass and disrespectful. And we were taught that if we didn't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
But Candor does not need to sound criticizing. For example, not saying: "You big dummy, you!"
Make it Clean Continued: When you are the person who tells it like it is, the right way, people will respect you for your honesty. Here are some tips to becoming clean with your delivery:
Decide ahead of time what outcome you are aiming for with the conversation.
Be upfront with your objectives. This transparency will defuse much of the emotion and defensiveness.
Choose a neutral phrasing about the situation by saying, "I've observed this...," rather than an emotional, exaggerated and personal reaction like, "You always do this..." Limit the number of times you say "you" and replace it with "I."
3. Make it Calm Quote: "You can't calm the storm... so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass." -- Timber Hawkeye
Moral: "Don't sweat it and don't stir it." -- Andy Albright
3. Make it Calm:
Remaining calm during a difficult conversation is only achieved by not being baited into a reaction which derails a focused outcome.
This requires the "teller" to refrain from reacting to the following assumptions (but instead, implementing the positive opposite):
Absolutism vs. Perspective (introduce empathy to
kill the need to be right about everything).
Excuse vs. Contribution (introduce accountability to kill the need to find a reason why not).
Blame vs. Obligation (introduce promise to kill the need to decommit to an expectation).
3. Make it Calm Continued:
Listen to another's perspective, for example, on why they have not taken action.
Introduce the following calming techniques:
Acknowledge the feelings (to recognize emotion) Example: Tell me about your past experiences and intentions.
Ask questions (to understand viewpoint) Example: How do you see the current situation?
Paraphrase the responses (to establish accuracy) Example: So you are saying... (repeating back their own words)?
When you can tie these concepts together, you will be able to tell it like it is.
On this episode of The Wednesday Call podcast, Andy Albright comes to you live from his house in Treasure Island, Fla. to talk about why having fierce conversations at the right time with people is a key ingredient in being successful.
This is a way for you to set expectations with people early and often.
The Conversation is the Relationship:
We effect change by engaging in robust conversations with ourselves and others. Fierce conversations are about:
Fierce is an attitude. A way of conducting business. A way of leading. A way of life.
The Seven Principles of Fierce Conversations (by Dr. Susan Scott)
Principle 1 : Master the courage to interrogate reality.
Principle 2: Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real.
Principle 3: Be here, prepared to be nowhere else.
Principle 4: Tackle your toughest challenge today.
Principle 5: Obey your instincts.
Principle 6: Take responsibility for your emotional wake.
Principle 7: Let silence do the heavy lifting.
Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality:
The person who can muster the moral courage to accurately describe reality without laying blame will emerge the leader. Your job is to have high moral fiber, accurately describe the problem and don’t blame anybody.
Come Out From Behind Yourself into the Conversation and Make It Real:
Being real is not the risk. The real risk is that: I will be known; I will be seen; I will be changed.
Be Here, Prepared to be Nowhere Else:
Tackle Your Toughest Challenge Today:
Burnout happens, not because we're trying to solve new problems, but because we've been trying to solve the same problem over and over again. All confrontation of tough challenges is really a search for the truth that exists inside each of us.
Obey Your Instincts:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; but this essential is usually invisible to the eye (one's moral compass or lack of it). Therefore, there are things our gut knows about another's heart long before our intellect catches on.
Take Responsibility for Your Emotional Wake:
An emotional wake is what others remember about you after you have left. What you leave behind is crucial.
Our context (our storyline or purpose) determines how we experience the content (our material or body of work) of our lives.
Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting:
When there is simply a whole lot of talking going on, conversations can be so empty of meaning. An American Characteristic is general discomfort with silence. It makes us nervous. We feel we're expected to interject witty comments and
wise observations on the spot. Fierce conversations, however, require silence.
On this episode of The Wednesday Call podcast, Andy Albright comes to you live from his home in Treasure Island, Fla. to talk about how to use questions to help people get stuff done.
Seven Questions To Navigate The DO:
Do you always DO what you schedule?
Do you tell people that you are going to DO?
Do you DO necessary evils everyday?
Do you go past the expectation of the DO?
Do you break the DO into manageable sections?
Do you bribe yourself for good DO behavior?
Do you have a wall to bounce the DO off of?
Do You Always DO What You Schedule?
"Progress is a natural result of staying focused on the process of doing anything." --Thomas Sterner
Moral: You will never get real progress if you don't honor your schedule. If you are not daring and forward enough, you can never get past the thinking stage of getting work done.
Questions 1 Responses:
People are more likely to do something if you can get them to phrase it as a question to themselves (Will I honor my schedule this week?), rather than if you get them to say a declarative statement (I will honor my schedule this week!).
We are basically all "control freaks." The desire to control starts as young as 4 months old. Posing a question to ourselves gives us the illusion of that control versus a declarative statement which insinuates an ultimatum we hate.
2. Do You Tell People That You Are Going To DO?
"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask, Act! Action will delineate and define you." --Thomas Jefferson
Moral: If you tend to concentrate your thinking on the internal "why" of the do, you will get caught up in a life of inaction. Let the outward "what" of your promise to others represent who you are.
Question 2 Responses:
People are more likely to comply to a promise, rather than a request.
When desiring a do from people, it is better to use nouns (can you be a producer?) to evoke a promise, rather than verbs (Produce now!) which evoke a demand.
3. Do You DO Necessary Evils Everyday?
"We are what we repeatedly do." --Aristotle
Moral: Having no routine or structure is so much more draining mentally, physically, and emotionally than any routine could ever be. Our peace of mind is determined by our commitment to a routine.
Question 3 Responses:
People are motivated by the fear of losing more than the possibility of gaining something.
When people are sad or scared, they will want to stick to something like a familiar routine. If they feel safe within that routine, they will crave it like an "old shoe."
The trick is to turn something productive (like dialing) into an "old shoe."
4. Do You Go Past The Expectation Of The DO?
"Learning is its own exceeding great reward." --William Hazlitt
Moral: The more we learn, the more we can do.
Question 4 Responses:
Giving people an expectation will stimulate them to want to master their craft, which in turn, will motivate them to work past the just doing of a task.
Don't mix praise with feedback if you want to stimulate the desire for mastery (which is a stronger need than an external reward). Just give honest and objective feedback about their progress of becoming a DO expert.
If people are told they can't do something, they will be motivated to prove you wrong with mastery of the task and exceeding the expectation.
5. Do You Break The DO Into Manageable Sections?
"Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned." -- Peter Marshall
Moral: Don't overplan and underact. Actions you take beat life- changing intentions.
Question 5 Responses:
An important part of getting someone to create a new "do" habit is to break the doing into really small steps.
The easiest way to take a small step is to anchor it to an existing good habit. Anchor habits are those habits that are recurring and imprinted in your DNA.
If you can accept anchoring, you can create a new habit in less than a week.
6. Do You Bribe Yourself For Good DO Behavior?
"The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success." -- Brian Tracy
Moral: Without delayed gratification, there is no discipline, and without discipline, there is no endurance.
Question 6 Responses:
If you want consistent behavior don't reward yourself every time you do something, just when you hit important markers.
People are more motivated to reach a goal the closer they get to it, so backend the bigger rewards.
When you punish someone, it only works for a little while. Denying yourself rewards is a more effective way to bribe your do to the finish line.
7. Do You Have A Wall To Bounce The DO Off Of?
"And those who were seen dancing, were thought to be crazy by those who could not hear the music." -- Friedrich Nietzche
Moral: Listen to the ones dancing, and you might one day hear the music.
Question 7 Responses:
You can prompt someone to change their own story by having others to gauge against.
If you can get people to consider at least one perspective which is in conflict with one of their self-beliefs, that one small breakthrough can be the gateway to bigger behavioral changes.
Listening to another perspective is powerful, but writing down their thoughts and ideas activates certain parts of the brain. It makes it more likely that people will commit to what they just heard.