Persuasive Messages Chapter 10 Persuasion motivates someone to believe something or to do something that he or she would not otherwise have done. As businesspersons, you will need to persuade others to do as you want. In a sense, all business communication involves persuasion. Theessence of persuasion is overcoming initial resistance. You will have the best chance of succeeding if you tailor your message to your audience, provide your reader with reasons he or she will find convincing, and anticipate and deflect or disarm his or her objections. Planning What is your purpose? Motivate the reader to agree with you or do as you ask. Plan an effective strategy to achieve your goal. Knowing what your purpose is helps you determine what kind of information to include. “Knowledge is power.” Promoting a Product How is the product made? How is the product marketed? How is the product operated? How is the product maintained? What are the differences between your product and a competitor’s product? Planning continued Knowledge and Attitude of the Reader What does the reader already know? Initial resistance calls for more objective, verifiable evidence than if your reader were initially neutral. Why is the reader resistant? Planning continued Discuss how the reader will benefit from your proposal. Emphasize the reader rather than the product or idea you are promoting Aka The YOU attitude. NOT: The San Diego Accounting Society would like you to speak to us on the topic of expensing versus capitalizing 401-C assets. BUT: Speaking to the San Diego Accounting Society would enable you to present your firm’s views on the controversial topic of expensing versus capitalizing 401-C assets. Planning continued Writer Credibility What is your credibility with the reader? The more trustworthy you are, the more trustworthy your message will appear. Direct Plan Present Major Idea First To get readers to accept your proposal when using the direct plan, present your recommendation along with the criteria or brief rationale in the first paragraph. Direct Plan Not: I recommend we hold our Pittsburgh sales meeting at the Mark-Congress Hotel. But: I have evaluated three hotels as possible meeting sites for our Pittsburgh sales conference and recommend we meet at the Mark-Congress Hotel. As discussed below, the Mark-Congress is centrally located, has the best meeting facilities, and is moderately priced. Direct Plan Second and third paragraphs should include supporting evidence. Last paragraph should include a request for action. When to Use Direct Plan You are writing to superiors in the organization. Audience is predisposed to listen objectively to your request. Proposal does not require strong persuasion. Proposal is long or complex. Reader prefers direct approach. Indirect Plan—AIDA Plan Attention Interest Desire Action Indirect Plan—AIDA Plan Gain Reader’s Attention Because a reluctant reader is more likely to agree to an idea after he or she understands its merits, your plan of organization is to convince the reader before asking for action. NOT: SUBJECT: Proposal to Sell the Roper Division (too specific) NOT: SUBJECT: Proposal (too general) BUT: SUBJECT: Analysis of Roper Division Profitability Indirect continued The first test of a good opening sentence in a persuasive request is whether it is interesting enough to catch and keep the reader’s attention. A rhetorical question An unusual fact or unexpected statement Your opening statement must also be relevant to the purpose of your message. Indirect continued Creating Interest and Justifying Your Request To convince, you must be objective, specific, logical, and reasonable. Avoid emotionalism, obvious flattery, insincerity, and exaggeration. Let the evidence carry the weight of your argument. Indirect continued Types of evidence Facts and statistics Expert opinion Examples Indirect continued Present the benefits that will accompany the adoption of your proposal, and provide enough background and objective evidence to enable the reader to make an informed decision. Not: I know you are a busy person, but I would appreciate your completing this questionnaire. But: So that this information will be available for the financial managers attending our fall conference, I would appreciate your returning the questionnaire by October 15. To, Mr. Smith, XYZ Corp. Respected Mr. Smith, How long has it been since you and your spouse had a really good time? How long has it been since you last took a week off to enjoy the more beautiful things in life? How long has it been since you saw the sea, basked in the sun during the day and gazed at the stars at night? We thought it's been a long time too. At ABC Cruise we are offering very few select people an offer to stay on board our cruise for a week, in the lap of luxury like no other in this world. We will pamper you and indulge your every little desire. We will ensure that you and your spouse get a lovely time together and get a bit of romance going! And that too at a 50% discount over our normal rates! Hard to say no, isn't it? Regards, ABC Cruise Vacations. Types of Persuasive Requests using AIDA Plan Sell an Idea Request a Favor Write a Persuasive Claim Concepts for Persuasive Letters Select a central selling theme. Position and repetition throughout supports theme. E2=0, meaning—emphasize everything and you emphasize nothing. Obtain reader’s attention with rhetorical question, thought-provoking statement, unusual fact, current event, anecdote, or direct challenge. Concepts continued Create desire by interpreting features. Show how each reader will benefit. Make the reader the subject of most of your sentences—not the product. Concepts continued Avoid “I hope you will try our product.” Avoid “If you want to save money, . . .” Avoid “Hurry, hurry, order your product today!” Avoid “If you agree, place your order.” Summary Persuasion is motivating someone to take action or to support an idea. To overcome resistance, you must establish your credibility and develop an appeal that meets a need of your reader. Use direct style. Use indirect style. Use AIDA format. Summary Focus on a central selling theme. Minimize objections. Use a positive, confident tone throughout message. Identify clearly the specific action your reader needs to take. Texting While Driving Uncool, Dude! Texting While Driving Uncool, Dude!
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