Some words have an unusual power over us, disarming defenses and letting us be persuaded more easily. One of these words is “because.” I was reminded of some fascinating research conducted decades ago by Pubcon keynoter and persuasion legend Robert Cialdini. The study was done decades ago by Ellen Langer, then at Harvard. […]
Another week, another batch of content for your reading pleasure. Whether you want to turn your book into a bestseller or develop an app that’s as addictive as an illegal drug, we’ve got something for you! […]
Can sensory-based description make books more accessible, memorable, and, ultimately, more successful?
What’s one of the most simple traffic building tools that even most top bloggers don’t use? Surprisingly, few bloggers take advantage of the ability to target a separate headline for people browsing the site and people searching via Google, Bing, etc.. […]
One of the toughest persuasion tasks is convincing a jury in a courtroom. Car salespeople have it easy by comparison – they control the environment and have the undivided attention of the customer. Imagine if you were in a Lexus showroom listening to why you should buy one of their vehicles, and at your elbow was a BMW salesperson, periodically objecting to the Lexus pitch and then delivering her own. That’s the situation in a courtroom – arguments presented by one side will be directly (and mercilessly) attacked by the other side. One trial-proven persuasion strategy is the use of stories.
Researchers Philip Mazzocco and Melanie Green draw a contrast between rhetorical persuasion, in essence arguing with facts and logic, and the use of narratives to influence decisions. They conclude that stories are more effective at changing emotional beliefs that logical arguments have difficulty reaching.
The whole discussion is an interesting read, but for me one big takeaway is the list of factors that have been found to make stories more persuasive:
It shouldn’t surprise Neuromarketing readers that choice of words is important when writing headlines, taglines, or copy, but brain scans show how specific words can have the same meaning but activate different areas of the brain. Emory University researcher Krish Sathian has shown that words that words related to texture, for example, activate areas of the brain associated with touch – even when their usage has nothing to do with tactile sensations. (Abstract, and an interview with Sathian.) […]
The debate among copywriters about verbs vs. adjectives rages on. While the general consensus is that verbs make better sales copy and adjectives serve mainly to slow down the reader, there’s also research that shows properly used adjectives can increase product appeal.
Lessons from Harvard B-School
If you think your sales challenge is daunting, try selling yourself to Harvard Business School. Even though most applicants are amazingly well qualified in terms of academic, career, and personal accomplishments, almost 9 out of 10 are rejected. When the Wall Street Journal interviewed Dee Leopold, managing director of MBA admissions at Harvard, she weighed in on the adjective vs. verb debate and came down on the side of verbs. […]