Motivation and Persuasion
"Selling is the art of creating a desire in the mind of a buyer and satisfying that desire so that buyer and seller benefit."
There is no surer way to get ahead in business than to be a persuasive speaker. However, because public
speaking is normally found at the top of lists of a person’s top fears , many business people fail to make the
effort to become better speakers, and thus fail to reach their potential. However there is no skill with
greater payoff than mastering the art of persuasive speaking. So how can business people and technical
specialists add the weapon of persuasive speaking to their business skills arsenal? By developing a
systematic, not haphazard, method to plan, practice and present--the same systematic method they use in
their day-to-day work. A systematic approach is the ideal way to draft and deliver a very motivational,
inspiring and persuasive presentation or speech.
Surprisingly, however, few people apply the very discipline they use in their business when it comes time
to deliver a business presentation. In this article, I want to share with you the systematic method based on
the motivation strategy we discussed in class along with new insights from NueroPsychology, Physics
(telecommunications) and Philosophy of Mind.
The famed management expert Peter Drucker once wrote that "The ability to express oneself is perhaps the
most important of all the skills a person can possess." Effective, persuasive communication is the
transferring of information from your brain to the brains(s) of your audience in such a manner that this
audience - one or many - accepts your information as its own, and now realizes the benefits of accepting
the information you are presenting.
Pick up any book on leadership, and you're likely to find it: an unequivocal call for leaders to be men and
women of vision. Some even argue that those who are not visionary are not truly leaders. Knowing what
really counts, of course, depends on vision. Only when vision is clear can we know where to focus. What
really counts. So somewhere in the organization we need visionary leadership. But even huge
organizations require only a handful of leaders who are visionary, people who are gifted, original thinkers
in the realm of vision. Why so few? Because the organization needs singular focus. It does not need fifty
cooks in the kitchen, each brewing up his or her own vision.
This requires focus and an in-depth knowledge of what motivates your audience so you can direct your
message to hit these hot buttons. It also requires the ability to anticipate the desired results the audience
may have, and offer them a strategy for moving toward realizing their hopes. The majority of people who
are called on to present, however, are substantive experts, and therein lays an essential problem.
Visionary leaders not only have a clear idea of what is possible, they are involved in bringing it about.
Mahatma Ghandi did more than recognize the value of religious tolerance and sovereignty for the people
of India, he used his life to make it possible. Ghandi drew on everything to instigate the changes he was
seeking: his diet, his clothing, his community, his speech. When a reporter asked him to state his message
for the world, Ghandi replied, "My life is my message."
Understanding your own personal values
According to Stephen Covey "Personal leadership is the ongoing process of keeping your vision and
values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with those most important things. " Do you
associate leadership with business, politics and authority figures? Or is it more personal than that? Is it in
what we do in a daily lives to give our best and to help others do their best? Have you established your
own sense of personal leadership in the quality of being able to draw from your inner potentials. Are you
able to shape these inner desires into what you experience in your interactions during each and every day
in all areas of your life?
The success you are hoping for in life begins with and is built upon integrity and personal discipline. More
importantly how sustainable will your success in life or business be without exceptional skills that are
completely aligned with your inner vision and values? A happy and successful life is built on a character
that makes use of knowledge and skills to express the quality of that character in terms of a certain
discipline (art) perfected.
So, it seems that the success you are hoping for is not just a matter of luck. But most people would agree
that it is connected with who you are related to. Who you are in good relationship with is dependent on
your communication skills. What you communicate is rooted in your inner integrity (your inner values).
With such focus you relate to others with a self-confidence that generates trust and openness.
The happier and successful people in life thus have a strong sense of inner direction. Such people make
decisions based on their personal values and ethics and on their individual guiding principles. People are
happiest when they realize what is important (in alignment with their inner values and inner vision); they
are constantly reviewing circumstances and emerging through obsticles with their vision, mission, and
organizational goals still in focus. These remain the focus of attention, the basis of choice and the
consequences of every action.
The key is to present a picture that resonates with their emotions and their desires for the future. To do this,
you need to recognize that persuasion isn't a one-shot deal, it's a multi-step process. The more attention you
pay to each step, the more likely you are to reach your desired outcome. If anyone is going to change their
mindset then they need to envisage benefits for them that outweigh their present circumstances or situation.
Before you can effectively persuade, you need a foundation of trust. While credibility doesn't guarantee
you'll convince anyone, without it, you're doomed from the start. Often consulting credibility is based on
building a relationship before and deepening that relationship during the process. Then when you begin
you persuasive appeal the clients feel more assured that you understand their issues and concerns. This
approach helps you not only to get valuable feedback but allows you to act in a way similar to what doctors
do with patients. You might expect that consultants need to be experts in fixing organizational problems.
But it works more like the process with a medical doctor. The patient describes the problem and the doctor
just listens, collecting valuable information. At this point the doctor also does not suggest a remedy. The
doctor would usually state the need to do some testing (for consulting this means negotiating with the
client to create a problem solving strategy). In the end the patient supplied all the necessary information
and data to solve the problem. The doctor only guides the process through the proper steps to obtain that
information. Consulting is similar. The answer lies with the client. The consultant guides the client
through a process that makes the needed remedy clear. We will go over this more deeply when we do
Leadership skills are reflected in the visionary person who is able to transcend the ordinary to experience
the best of what life has to offer. O often use sports training as an example of what demanded for
developing exceptional quality. To break into the level of exceptional performance an athlete must first
reach a psycho-biological limit. In sports this happens with repeated drilling in an effort to perfect a
particular talent. Excellence requires a total commitment of a person’s body, mind and heart (although you
are never guaranteed of the outcome). But you know that if you don’t give your entire self to this effort
you will never get beyond your normal psycho-biological limit.
Remember I claim that power occurs with concentrated focus on a discipline that you love. You continue
to give this discipline your body, mind and soul until you perfect the art. Perfecting the art-resulting from
being driven by such inner (self) motivation-results in exceeding the ordinary.
The inner quality inspiring you to develop and express exceptional talent is desire, will (power), passion
and vision. These qualities are demonstrated in such a way that inner character becomes a matured,
reliable, focused professional character. Most people would like the results but most people cannot sustain
the focused disciplining of their inner will, desire and vision.
How does this development of talent pay off in terms of The Art of Public Speaking? Remember I
described your communication ability in Aesthetic terms, “That which is of unusual quality, with traits of
beauty, very high value and imbued with the power of excellence. With such powerful qualities you are
able to bring your audience to integrity (the results of your focused concentration on a topic gives you
exceptional insight on that topic making the audience more aroused or fascinated by your insight. This fact
along with your motivational strategy for public speaking arouses greater interest.
This brings your audience to the edge of the ordinary (insight, inspiration, motivation and enjoyment
combined in a single presentation style). Why? Because they sense that your motivational appeal brings
them closer to satisfying their basic human urges. Your motivational/persuasion strategy paints a picture
of their desires satisfied. Your persuasion strategy then offers them a way of experiencing that picture.
Remember this is Abraham Maslow’s theory of human growth and development. These social
psychology, physics and neuron-biological insights are now applied to marketing creating a better
understanding of how to be more persuasive.
A part of the persuasion process is your ability to lead the audience to satisfaction. The key to your
professional power actually lies in your intention, willingness and desire to bring to audience to a realizing
of their ambitions. It is in this respect that I have been talking about an integration of their interests with
your interest. Increased benefits for both of you lies in realizing this intention! This is in part of the
audience is inspired by. They sense that in following you (your dream and ambitions) they have a chance
to fulfill their hopes and increase their benefits (Win-Win).
While reaching the higher levels of achievement leaders are able to inspire others in a way that brings out
the best in others. Leaders actually make great contributions to society and the world-at least as far as their
chosen field is concerned. Leaders have a unique power of creativity resulting in others often doubting
how realistic they are. What I have found in repeated instances (and what the theory agrees with) is that
although the beginning others might have found your ideas simple, naïve and unrealistic in the end they
would all agree, “That is so simple and so obvious! Why didn’t I think of that!” In the end however it’s
the leader that has the ingenuity to transform this vision into reality.
Once you have a good idea of people's perspectives, it's time to fly a trial balloon. Open up dialog in small
groups. Test your ideas with opinion leaders - key people from the group you want to persuade. If you
want to reach a larger public don’t start with trying to persuade the larger mass. Persuade the key leaders
and let them persuade their constituents. Then later you can address the larger group but with their already
being prepped for favoring your ideas by their opinion leaders.
Discuss and debate your planned direction. Ask for their feedback and ideas. It's important to give opinion
leaders an opportunity to buy-in to your ideas, and to contribute suggestions. By building trust with
opinion leaders, you'll be able to ride the coattails of their credibility.
By now, you should have a good sense of people's values, concerns and aspirations. Think clearly about
the benefits your plan will bring them. Will it make work easier, improve service, increase job security? If
you can't think of any benefits your ideas bring to the people you want to persuade, you'd better start over
and make your first strategy to collect needed feedback!
Begin your presentation by restating people's perspective of how things are and how things could or should
be. Incorporate stories, metaphors and analogies that correspond with their emotions (pathos and mythos).
People have no resistance to ideas that they see as their own (integration and affiliation). Only after you've
accurately described their perspective, should you present your plan to arrive at an outcome that will
NeuroPsychology and Persuasion
Understanding and creating human well-being has been an essential aspect of the development of
civlization. Business and trade has certainly been a cornerstone in that development.
Studies in economic implications of understanding human behavior at the University of California Berkley
predict that future business success will increasingly require understanding the connection between
cognitive psychology, anthropology, and the market.
Systematic study of economic signficance of understanding human motivation and the human desire for
well-being started with Jeremy Bentham. Bentham laid out the concepts of what today business research
theory calls Rational Choice. People are driven by self-interest in an effort to increase happiness, pleasure
and reduce pain: We use the term utility to refer to Bentham’s claim. People are basically seeking to
Adam Smith also contributed to this economic principle with his claim that people in the market are
basically attempting to maximize value. Voluntary association should naturally result in an invisible hand
that impels agents to maximize value and efficiency. He believed that in this way value would be
maximized for the agents and for society.
This has led me to the conclusion that contemporary studies in human motivation are both in line with
certain principles in Eastern studies on human growth and development. Western scholarship is finding
these theories to have enormous economic value. The evidence seems certain that the most effective
motivaition strategies attempt to increase well-being, happiness, pleasure, satisfaction and UTILITY.
The soundness of such cliams (based on classical economic theory, Eastern techniques for improving
performance and increasing ingenuity, plus latest discoveries in neuropsycology) some of the world's
largest corporations paying close attention.
The critics warn the TV and the computer monitor can create similar effects in their viewers. This is what
they both have such sedating effects that sustain long periods of sitting in front of both. However this is
certainly what I would call an undisciplined attempt to experience the exceptional. Just as virtual reality is.
However it is available for those who lack the discipline for natural stimlulation.
Eastern philosophy has taught me that motivational strategy begins with attempting to relax the listeners
with suggestions to breath deeply. Deep breathing sends more oxygen to the brain. The increase in
oxygen coupled with the deep relaxing triggers the fantasy center of the brain (similar to the dream center
we enter at night in a state of deep relaxation). Persuasion strategy states that in addition to your
communicate in a way that generates trust and openness (opennes and trust similar to the love experience
opens the deeper level of the person) you must employ these deep breathing techniques for your own
benefit. They relax you before the presentation, increase your performance abilities and sends more
oxygen to your brain.
Although social psychology is the basis of business’ understanding of organizational behavior such views
on human motivation would have been considered naive or downright idealistic only a few years ago. But
today managers who understand the recent breakthroughs in cognitive science can lead and influence
mindful change: organizational transformation that takes into account the physiological nature of the brain,
and the ways in which it predisposes people to resist some forms of leadership and accept others. This does
not imply that management — of change or anything else — is merely a science. There is a great deal of
art and craft in it. But several conclusions about organizational change can be drawn that make the art and
craft far more effective.
Some of the biggest leaps in science and industry have emerged from the integration of separate fields.
When the study of electricity and of magnetism coalesced to become the science of electromagnetism, the
field gave us the electric motor and generator, which in turn sparked the Industrial Revolution. To
understand how to improve effectiveness, increase the realization of untapped potential and increase
quality we turn to another nexus, this time between neuroscience and contemporary physics. These
sciences are helping us to understand the connection between the ultimate powers of existence and human
Motivational experts have found out that people’s mental maps (their theories, hopes, expectations,
anticipations and attitudes) play a more central role in human experience than was previously understood.
This can be well demonstrated by the placebo effect. Tell people they have been administered a pain-
reducing agent and they experience a marked and systematic reduction in pain, despite the fact that they
have received a completely inert substance, a sugar pill.
The fact that our deeper psychic anticipations, whether conscious or buried in our deeper brain centers, can
play such a large role in what and how we communicate has significant implications. Two individuals
working on the same customer service telephone line could hold different mental maps of the same intra
office communication interactions. The first, seeing colleagues only as disturbing and distracting, would
communicate some degree of annoyance in interactions. The second, seeing interactions as time
consuming but necessary and informative would hear valuable information for improving production and
The fact is that the communications expert still has an obligation to try to improve interactions with the
colleague resisting. What do good communicators keep in mind when attempting to enjoy their own
interactions and improve those with others? Sincerity and authenticity seems to stimulate a response in
the "pleasure center" of the brain, the medial forebrain bundle. (Management behavioral theory has always
understood that rewards also stimulate a response there). The genuinely ingenious character that seems to
typically be polite and considerate develops a reputation. Colleagues anticipate these characteristics in their
interactions and are more open to receiving this person.
Remember there again an Aesthetic quality involved here. The power that is emitted from your inner
qualities creates trust and openness. You are yourself approaching the other with open and generous
willingness to increase benefits. The art of motivation, persuasion and communication effectiveness
sparks the creative centers of the receiver’s brain. You offer ingenious insight into how to improve
performance and quality. You are able to obtain such creative new insight because your communication
skills allows you to get valuable information in the form of feedback. This further sparks the creative
centers of the receiver’s brain. This stimulation is experienced as a mild pleasure. The rewards, both in
terms of the communication experience and the increased benefits, stimulates an openness to experience
such encounters again.
More and more scientists, instructors in Eastern disciplines and humanistic psychologists are concluding
that the body is not a collection of unconscious organs that stimulate the brain. Formerly people might
have even thought that this lower organism (the body) is ruled from on high by the more rational, logical
and elevated mind. But today we are realizing that well-being and enhanced performance requires
attentiveness to wholeness. This includes an intention to promote and/or create well-being in our
communication interactions. Profit may be a part of the desired ultimate outcome but profit occurs when
the audience is persuaded that what you offer increases their pleasure, happiness and well-being. When
you are able to offer of picture of these things for your audience certain parts of the receptor centers of
their brain are stimulated. This makes your communication effort more rewarding for you and for the
Mastery of the subject is vital for any speaker. You must have a clearly defined objective and focused
research. This does not mean only compilation of factual data. You need an active and comprehensive
knowledge of the subject at issue in order to respond to challenges from the audience, especially if the
audience may be predisposed to disagree.
Only a solid grasp of the subject matter can save a presenter when confronted with an unexpected question
or objection from the audience. However, Substance without Structure or Style can make the presentation
an incoherent, boring recitation of data.
The human mind possesses a certain data-processing logic. The speaker who is aware of how people
process information, and how new data are either accepted or rejected, can learn to structure a presentation
so as to facilitate comprehension.
The knowledge of the audience's self-interest, or "What's in it for me?," is an essential tool for structuring a
presentation so it hits the target of the collective mind of audience members.
This is the most frequently-ignored pillar of the speaking art by substantive experts, possibly because it has
the connotation of show business. By Style, I mean word choice, body language, eye contact, movement,
and vocal quality.
Style is that almost indefinable quality of a speaker that causes audience members, even those opposed to
the issue being "sold," to listen, not be bored, and to open their minds. Another word of caution: Style
without Substance can expose the speaker to the charge of being shallow.
Now, let us take a look at the three levels of the Pyramid:
Planning is the wide base required of any stable structure and any good presentation. It is the single most
important building element of any presentation. Unfortunately, most presentations are done with an
inverted Pyramid as the model, with the narrow base indicating little planning, thus placing all the weight
on the presentation. This lack of planning frequently results in poor presentations. Planning includes
understanding the importance of a well structured presentation to motivational appeals and/or persuasive
speeches. Organize the speech so that it follows the motivational sequence for gaining the results desired
to create mutual benefits (remember the more they benefit the more you benefit).
Good business sense dictates that the same effort which goes into the development of a product, policy, or
service be devoted to the presentation whose purpose is selling this product, policy, or service. The
planning stage is where the presenter develops a game plan and point of view for the presentation.
An important part of the planning process is gathering Audience Intelligence - information about the
concerns, problems, attitudes, and expectations of that group of people you are about to face in your
Because the speaker needs to mesh his or her objective for the presentation with the audience's needs and
concerns, the more time spent on strategic planning, the easier will be the actual presentation.
If planning is so important, why is it frequently ignored? Perhaps because time is the enemy of all, and
there are such demands on our time that few people are ready to literally sit down and think. If they do so,
however, they gain maximum advantage from a minimum investment of time.
After you have completed the planning stage, you are now ready to start practicing. This is an orderly
means to internalize the presentation. You will take some of the apprehension out of the experience by
anticipating reactions, comments and questions and developing appropriate responses.
An important tool in practicing is conducting a "Murder Board," a realistic simulation of the presentation
in front of a suitable audience, e.g. colleagues, relatives, friends, who can put your knowledge to the test. (I
have posted other articles on this extremely important aspect of practicing. I bring it to the field of
presentations training from the military, where it is a staple of briefings.) In this simulation,your mistakes
won't count because if you fail you can go back to the planning stage and make the necessary corrections.
Your confidence zooms when you have gone through a practice phase that enables you to say: "I know this
subject better than anyone in the audience. I want them to take their best shot, because I'll be able to
answer any question thrown at me!" That is the attitude you want to carry with you to the presentation.
Finally, you reach that apex, the actual presentation. This is the payoff for the time you have spent assuring
you have included all the required substance, placed within a structure that facilitates audience agreement,
and comprehension of the position you are advocating, done with the style most appropriate to make your
presentation memorable and successful.
If you have (1) done the planning, to include audience intelligence collection, and developed a focus that
meshes with audience members' needs and concerns, (2) then practiced with focus, to include an intensive
simulation enabling you to anticipate questions and objections, you are ready for "show-time."
Always keep this model of the three Pillars supporting the Pyramid in mind when drafting a presentation,
and you will be able to deliver logically structured substantive knowledge with persuasive power.