Research Identifies Strategies That Can Double Your Persuasion Power

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A new study identifying the 14 core persuasive strategies used in today’s business presentations discovers that most presenters use less than half of them

- Research from the newly released McGraw-Hill book, "Presentations That Change Minds," has identified the 14 core persuasive strategies used in today’s business presentations. This list offers the opportunity for business communicators to compare the persuasive strategies they are currently using against a national sample and see which approaches they can add to increase their powers of persuasion. According to author Josh Gordon, "There are only so many ways you can persuade an audience, and every audience needs a unique approach. Some are moved by facts, others through emotional appeal. Some audiences will be convinced if you demonstrate a return on investment or show them how to solve a problem, while others are persuaded through an inspiring message. Identifying the persuasive strategy that is best for your audience is critical because each type requires a different kind of presentation.”

The top five persuasive strategies, in descending order of use, are: Sharing facts (73.5% of presenters using); offering a solution (62.1% using); sharing a new idea (52.8% using); telling a story (51.6% using), and changing a perception (50.9% using).

But less than half of presenters say they use the remaining nine approaches. In descending order of use these are: Humor, creating excitement, audience involvement, building trust, inspiration, building a financial case, creating an emotional appeal, getting competitive, and overcoming hostility.

On average, most presenters use no more than 6 of the 14 approaches. Author Josh Gordon sees this as a huge opportunity: "Most business people choose their persuasive strategy based on the few approaches they have become familiar with and don’t consider the full spectrum of strategies available to them.” By helping business communicators consider persuasive strategies they are not currently using, they can easily double the persuasive power of their next presentations.

Gordon works hard to debunk the myth that some of these strategies, such as persuading with humor, storytelling or inspiration, require special talent or ability. He insists that they require only business communication skills that can be learned like any other. Gordon cites the story of how humor consultant Doug Gamble helped California Governor George Dukmejian—formerly known as a lackluster speaker--use humor with great success; how Alan Gerson, then-newly-elected New York City Councilman in the district that included Ground Zero, found the inspiring words to help his district in the aftermath of 9-11; and how renowned public speaker and master storyteller Emory Austin shapes moving stories in much the same way that any business communicator can.

"Presentations That Change Minds" is the first book to focus solely on the persuasive presentation. Each of the 14 key persuasive strategies mentioned above is covered in its own "how to" chapter in the book. Contact the author at 718-802-0488

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