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The Three Fundamentals of Selling Your Message

By Guest Writer Ron Sathoff
Persuading your audience without tricking them
A lot has been written on how to convince an audience to accept your point. Much of the advice that has been offered has been tremendously specific: which colors are the most persuasive, what particular phrases sell, and even how to shake hands when you greet a potential customer.

With all this specific information being tossed around, I think the basics of persuasion have become lost in the shuffle. To me, you have to understand the fundamentals before you can start thinking about any specific persuasive techniques you want to use.

The first thing to remember about REAL persuasion is that it is not coercion -- you are NOT trying to force your audience into accepting something they don't believe or into doing something they don't want to do. Instead, you are trying to offer your audience the information they need to figure out that they should WANT to do what you are asking. In other words, YOU are not really persuading anyone -- all you are doing is providing the tools that let your customers persuade THEMSELVES.

Ever since the times of the ancient Greeks, people have been discussing the different ways that you go about accomplishing this Herculean task. For the most part, these discussions have focused on THREE general ways that you can show that your point is correct:


Show the LOGIC of your point. Logical arguments are the most basic type of persuasion. If you can use facts, figures, or basic logic to help show that your point is correct, it is hard for your audience to ignore. For instance, discussing the benefits of a product or service would fit into this category, as would showing how your company is superior to the competition.


Focus on your audience's FEELINGS. A message will always be more persuasive if you can include things that your audience has strong attitudes about. One way that you can do this is to tie your message to the EMOTIONS of the audience. For instance, if you know that your audience is afraid of losing their savings, show how your product will help protect their financial security.

You should also be aware of your audience's VALUES -- those things that the audience thinks are good or desirable. Imagine that you were trying to raise money for a program to stop drunk driving, and you are addressing a community meeting of concerned parents. Would you talk about how much money the community loses because of drunk driving? Well, you might, but your message would not be as persuasive as it could be. Instead, you would probably want to talk about the dangers that drunk driving poses to children -- after all, you KNOW that your audience cares about children and their safety.


Use your CHARACTER to make your point stronger. It may seem unfair to some, but WHO you are will affect how an audience receives a message. Therefore, you should do everything you can to show that you know what you are talking about, that you are trustworthy, that you care about your customers, and that you believe in what you are doing (by the way, if these AREN'T true for you, you probably need to reassess what you are doing!).

Realize that any good, persuasive message incorporates all three of these techniques. You want a good, informative, logical foundation for your argument, but you should also make sure it's tailored to the specific audience -- and remember that how your customers see YOU can either strengthen or hamstring your entire point.

Using these techniques to build a persuasive message has two advantages over using trickery:

First, trickery will usually only work on the people you actually contact yourself. On the other hand, if you provide your customers with good solid information and a strong argument, they can carry that information to the people THEY come in contact with, giving your message a much longer reach.

A second reason to use persuasion over trickery is that you won't get those little stabbing pains of conscience in your stomach during the middle of the night! Instead, you will have something much better: the satisfied feeling that you have done something genuinely good for your customers.

Please click here to change your attitude to "Stage Fright"
Ron Sathoff is a noted speaker and manager of DrNunley's Ron provides help for speakers, marketing, and Internet promotion. Reach him at or 801-328-9006 (USA).

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