On Persuasion and Context


In brief: The best timed advice is for the person who is ready to listen to it.

Have you ever been frustrated when someone failed to follow your recommendation? Even though you know the information you provided comes from hard earned experience and you have the data to back it up, they are just not taking it in.

How can you persuade them to change their minds? Why would they not see that you have their best interest at heart?

What is going on that is preventing them from seeing what is so obvious to you?

Persuasion and context

We all make decisions based upon past experience and our comfort zone.

Both are emotional data points on which we rely for the stories we tell ourselves about how things are. Even when we know we need to make a change — say a product is not available anymore, or worse our habit is not good for us –  we find it hard to do so.

Embed data and facts in a broader format. Consider:

  • Speaking the person's language — use words, phrases, and concepts familiar to them
  • Giving them control of the conversation — in computer terms this would be the undo button
  • Sticking with what is relevant — the here and now are top of mind
  • Helping them compare apples to apples — start with what is familiar to them
  • Providing trials to address risk perceptionthe five dimensions of risk touch economic, functional, social, physical, and mental triggers

We are most ready to listen to advice when it is our own. The most important aspect of persuasion is the recognition that our situation warrants the decision we are about to make.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.

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