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You Have A Persuasion Problem, Not A Knowledge Problem

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Do you need to convince or persuade people to participate in (or support) your community?

A typical mistake is to try and convince people by finding the ‘right facts’.

This typically means identifying the benefits from an authoritative source and sending them to the recipient.

But facts aren’t persuasive. If they were, we would all be eating healthier and taking steps to prevent global warming. The (sad) reality is if we’re resistant to the idea, we dismiss or disagree with the facts.

I’ve known several community leaders who went to exorbitant lengths to gather data to prove the community’s value. They were disappointed when the data was dismissed out of hand (my favourite dismissal was when the executive said the benefits of community were ‘too high to be believable’).

Most of the time, we need to persuade people, not convince them.

Persuasion is a different game. You need to build relationships and be seen as a credible source. You need to tell a story that resonates with their worldview. A story that is based upon emotions. Emotions like fear, pride, curiosity are powerful levers to gain community support.

You can see how these merge with stories:

This is what innovative companies like ours are doing.
Our competitors will do this first if we don’t.
We’re starting to be seen as backwards, we need a community.
We can excite customers by doing something we’ve never done before.
This is a bold, new, modern direction…

I’ve genuinely persuaded more people to support (and engage) in a community by noting their fear of competitor’s doing it first than by presenting detailed ROI studies.

If you’re not getting the support you want, you might need to focus less on facts and more on persuasion.

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