New Study Shows Democrats and Republicans Persuade Differently

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Self-identified Democrats and Republicans pick different persuasive approaches when giving presentations. Democrats pick approaches that focus on content, while Republicans pick approaches that focus on their audience

Research from the newly released McGraw-Hill book, "Presentations That Change Minds" contrasts how self-identified Democrats and Republicans persuade. When asked which one approach was "most persuasive," the top pick among Democrats was "offering a solution." The top pick among Republicans was "building trust."

Among other top approaches Democrats picked "making a financial case" by a factor of almost two to one over Republicans. Conversely, Republicans picked "creating excitement" and "creating an emotional appeal" by a factor of nearly two to one over Democrats.

According to author Josh Gordon, "The approaches that Republicans picked persuade through audience dynamics, while the approaches preferred by Democrats persuade through content. These preferences show differences in the relationship these groups seek with their audiences. According to Gordon, "An emphasis on persuading through content shows greater respect for an audience's intelligence, while a greater emphasis on persuasion through audience dynamics shows the presenter taking more of a leadership role."

These persuasive strategies were the top picks of out of the 14 basic persuasive strategies that can be used to change an audience's mind during a presentation. The other nine, in descending order of importance to this survey, were changing a perception, getting an audience deeply involved, getting competitive, sharing facts, telling a story, sharing a new idea, inspiration, humor, overcoming hostility.

This survey was conducted for the book "Presentations that Change Minds" (December 2005 McGraw-Hill.) To request a review copy, ask questions about the survey, see this finding in chart form, or interview the author send an e-mail to Josh Gordon at (718) 802-0488.


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