www.wellsaid.comFebruary 2015

Do you ever need to persuade others? If so, Dale Carnegie advises, "There is only one way to get anybody to do anything...by making them want to do it."  In the presentation arena, it's your ability to influence an audience that ultimately determines your degree of success or failure. When you finish speaking, you want your listeners to say "Yes" to your point of view or recommendation. To optimize your influence, consider using the Four Ps of Persuasion in your next presentation or business conversation.


Thank you for your readership, and best wishes for your continued communication excellence! 


Kind regards,


Optimizing Your Influence:

The Four Ps of Persuasion

By Darlene Price, Well Said, Inc.

"The fool tells me his reasons;

the wise man persuades me with my own."



Persuasion is the ability to convince another person to adopt the idea, attitude, or action you are recommending; to make the decision you want them to make. As Aristotle said over 2,300 years ago, persuading your listeners requires using their reasons, not necessarily your own. Dozens of modern psychological theories and behavioral models still confirm that self-interest is among the most persuasive human motives. Your audience members are self-interested people; they act for reasons that are important to them and their group. What are these reasons? As a general rule, business audiences are motivated to act based on four key reasons, or payoffs. Think of them as the Four Ps of Persuasion: Profit, Pleasure, Power, and Prestige. When you appeal to one or more of these reasons, you significantly increase your ability to persuade your listeners.



Does your solution help listeners increase sales, drive growth, or gain income? Will it boost earnings, revenue, efficiencies, return on investment, or productivity? Are costs and expenses reduced? If so, repeatedly reinforce the payoff of Profit throughout your presentation or conversation. Profit is a primary motivator for most decision makers, and a quantifiable benefit is best of all. For example, "This solution will increase your efficiency by 30%, which will add 3.4 million dollars annually to your bottom line."



Does your solution save time, decrease hassle, provide ease-of-use, increase satisfaction, offer peace-of-mind, or boost morale? Is it fun and enjoyable? Can your listeners alleviate frustration, stress or complexity by following your recommendation? If so, be sure to tell your audience how they will receive the payoff of Pleasure if they follow your recommendation.  For example, "Not only does this solution increase efficiency and add millions to your bottom line, it's easy to use, quick to implement, and has the highest satisfaction ratings on the market."



In his 1651 book Leviathan, English philosopher Thomas Hobbes defines power as one's "present means to obtain some future apparent good." Determine how your message provides a means of power to help your audience achieve the outcome they want. For example, can you help your audience "own the market," "crush the competition," or "dominate the industry?" These are phrases used in recent sales presentations, which helped the presenter win the order. How does your solution empower your audience?  Does it help them control resources such as time, money, and people? Can you help them conquer their competitor, triumph over circumstances, or defeat the odds? Your message will be even more persuasive when you imbue your audience with Power. 


Prestige is prominence, status, reputation, even exclusivity; it's the level of distinction at which a person or company is regarded by key stakeholders. How does your message help the audience improve their standing among customers, colleagues, competitors, and the industry? Will it help listeners earn awards or receive recognition? Does it boost their status, ranking, or reputation? For example, tell your audience how your solution ensures they will "be the first-to-market," "receive the recognition they deserve," "create goodwill in the community," "earn kudos from their customers," or "be the one and only." Use the payoff of Prestige to show your listeners how your solution will optimize how others perceive them.


So how do you "get anybody to do anything?" Motivate others to act by appealing to their own self-interest. Is it Profit, Pleasure, Power, or Prestige that will convince them? Before your next presentation, ask yourself, "Which of the Four Ps of Persuasion are most important to this audience?" Remember to use their reasons when delivering your message and watch your ability to influence soar! 


If you would like to learn more about delivering powerful persuasive presentations, please read my book, Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results (available in hard cover, audio, and Kindle). 



Feel free to contact me directly to schedule an in-house corporate workshop or private one-on-one sessions for you or your team. I would be honored to support your speaking success!

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