How To Persuade People To Participate When Facts Let You Down

May 8, 2016Comments Off on How To Persuade People To Participate When Facts Let You Down

This article is mind-blowing.

In the 2007 local elections here in the UK, the author’s side lost 500 seats, while the other side gained 900 seats.

…and they’re spinning it as a disaster for the other side!

The other side thought they would win Bury and didn’t. Bury is a small town with a population of 60k, but that’s the story that spread the next day.

Stories trump facts by a long way. Stories are how we organize and prioritize information.

The winner isn’t the person who presents the best facts, it’s the person who spins the most seductive stories. We need to know this now more than ever.

Years ago we worked with an internal community manager who had spent the last 6 months trying to get her colleagues to participate more in her community instead of sending emails.

She had stated and restated the benefits (the facts). She had held dozens of private lunches. Everyone was convinced by her argument, they just weren’t persuaded.

At our first lunch, she was clearly distressed, frustrated, lonely, and feeling ineffective. Her boss was piling on the pressure with weekly “status update” requests.

We’ve all been there, it’s not a nice feeling.

Tell An Emotive Story

Our approach was to find and spread emotive stories instead.

There was the story about the employee who someone mentioned was selfish because they didn’t help others.

There was the story about a rival department that had just moved everyone to a more modern engagement platform and referred to her group as the ‘Dinos’ (short for dinosaurs, I presume).

There was the story about a director of the organization mentioning an idea he had stolen from the community and was later confronted by the employee for not giving him credit…the director apologised.

All of these stories were true of course, we’re just helping them to spread.

All of these stories are very emotive. Fear, jealousy, and pride are very powerful and very persuasive emotions.

All of these stories promote the community too.

Better yet, stories spread far quicker than facts. Few people share facts, everyone shares stories. Stories are persuasive and entertaining, facts aren’t.

And, of course, it began driving up participation too. People began seeing the community in a different light.

That fear, loneliness, and stress our community manager felt melted away. People enjoyed speaking to her again and hearing the latest stories (we made the latter ones funnier). They began to respond more favourably to her ideas. Most of all, she got a contract extension as the level of participation went up.

We want to help you hunt out the emotive stories that will drive your audience.

If you come to our Tactical Psychology workshop in New York on June 6 ($750), we’re going to help you develop some terrific, emotive, stories for your audience.

We’re going to unlock an arsenal of tactics from the world of psychology that you can deploy within your engagement efforts.

You can learn more below:

We have 10 seats remaining (and 1 group ticket if you want to attend with your team).

I really hope you will join us.


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