Scott Adams' Best Tips on Persuasion

An intentional “error” in the details of your message will attract criticism. The attention will make your message rise in importance—at least in people’s minds—simply because everyone is talking about it.

Scott Adams' Best Tips on Persuasion
Source: wsj.com

PERSUASION TIP 1

When you identify as part of a group, your opinions tend to be biased toward the group consensus.

PERSUASION TIP 2

Humans are hardwired to reciprocate favors. If you want someone’s cooperation in the future, do something for that person today.

PERSUASION TIP 3

Persuasion is effective even when the subject recognizes the technique. Everyone knows that stores list prices at $9.99 because $10.00 sounds like too much. It still works.

PERSUASION TIP 4

The things that you think about the most will irrationally rise in importance in your mind.

PERSUASION TIP 5

An intentional “error” in the details of your message will attract criticism. The attention will make your message rise in importance—at least in people’s minds—simply because everyone is talking about it.

PERSUASION TIP 6

If you are not a Master Persuader running for president, find the sweet spot between apologizing too much, which signals a lack of confidence, and never apologizing for anything, which makes you look like a sociopath.

PERSUASION TIP 7

It is easy to fit completely different explanations to the observed facts. Don’t trust any interpretation of reality that isn’t able to predict.

PERSUASION TIP 8

People are more influenced by the direction of things than the current state of things.

PERSUASION TIP 9

Display confidence (either real or faked) to improve your persuasiveness. You have to believe yourself, or at least appear as if you do, in order to get anyone else to believe.

PERSUASION TIP 10

Persuasion is strongest when the messenger is credible.

PERSUASION TIP 11

Guess what people are thinking—at the very moment they think it—and call it out. If you are right, the subject bonds to you for being like-minded.

PERSUASION TIP 12

If you want the audience to embrace your content, leave out any detail that is both unimportant and would give people a reason to think, That’s not me. Design into your content enough blank spaces so people can fill them in with whatever makes them happiest.

PERSUASION TIP 13

Use the High-Ground Maneuver to frame yourself as the wise adult in the room. It forces others to join you or be framed as the small thinkers.

PERSUASION TIP 14

When you attack a person’s belief, the person under attack is more likely to harden his belief than to abandon it, even if your argument is airtight.

PERSUASION TIP 15

Studies say humans more easily get addicted to unpredictable rewards than they do predictable rewards.

PERSUASION TIP 16

It is easier to persuade a person who believes you are persuasive.

PERSUASION TIP 17

People prefer certainty over uncertainty, even when the certainty is wrong.

PERSUASION TIP 18

Visual persuasion is more powerful than nonvisual persuasion, all else being equal. And the difference is large.

PERSUASION TIP 19

In the context of persuasion, you don’t need a physical picture if you can make someone imagine the scene.

PERSUASION TIP 20

People are more persuaded by contrast than by facts or reason. Choose your contrasts wisely.

PERSUASION TIP 21

When you associate any two ideas or images, people’s emotional reaction to them will start to merge over time.

PERSUASION TIP 22

People automatically get used to minor annoyances over time.

PERSUASION TIP 23

What you say is important, but it is never as important as what people think you are thinking.

PERSUASION TIP 24

If you can frame your preferred strategy as two ways to win and no way to lose, almost no one will disagree with your suggested path because it is a natural High-Ground Maneuver.

PERSUASION TIP 25

If you are selling, ask your potential customer to buy. Direct requests are persuasive.

PERSUASION TIP 26

Repetition is persuasion. Also, repetition is persuasion. And have I mentioned that repetition is persuasion?

PERSUASION TIP 27

Match the speaking style of your audience. Once they see you as one of their own, it will be easier to lead them.

PERSUASION TIP 28

Simple explanations look more credible than complicated ones.

PERSUASION TIP 29

Simplicity makes your ideas easy to understand, easy to remember, and easy to spread. You can be persuasive only when you are also memorable.

PERSUASION TIP 30

“Strategic ambiguity” refers to a deliberate choice of words that allows people to read into your message whatever they want to hear. Or to put it another way, the message intentionally leaves out any part that would be objectionable to anyone. People fill in the gaps with their imagination, and their imagination can be more persuasive than anything you say.

PERSUASION TIP 31

If you are trying to get a decision from someone who is on the fence but leaning in your direction, try a “fake because” to give them “permission” to agree with you. The reason you offer doesn’t need to be a good one. Any “fake because” will work when people are looking for a reason to move your way.

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