Using Pre-Suasion to Influence Others: A Guide to Changing Minds

Changing someone’s mind can be a daunting task, but it is a necessary one for anyone who wants to influence others. Whether you are trying to persuade a colleague to support your project, a client to buy your product or a friend to change their behavior, you need to be able to present your ideas in a compelling way.

One powerful tool for changing minds is pre-suasion, the art of setting the stage for persuasion before you even make your pitch. By priming your audience with the right cues, you can make your argument more persuasive, memorable, and effective.

What is pre-suasion?

According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the books Influence and Pre-suasion, pre-suasion is the process of shaping people’s attention and perceptions in advance of a message to increase its effectiveness. It involves creating a mental state that primes people to be receptive to your message before they hear it.

Pre-suasion is not about trickery or manipulation. Instead, it is about creating a context that makes your message more compelling and relevant to your audience.

Here’s an interview with Dr. Robert Cialding where he talks about pre-suasion:

Examples of pre-suasion in action

Here are some examples of pre-suasion in action:

Restaurant menus

Restaurants often use pre-suasion techniques to influence diners’ choices. For example, they might use images of happy people enjoying food or descriptions that make the dishes sound more delicious. By creating a positive mood and expectation, restaurants can increase the likelihood that customers will order more items and enjoy their experience.

Charity campaigns

Charities often use pre-suasion to increase the likelihood that people will donate. For example, they might use images of sad and helpless animals or people to create a sense of empathy and urgency. By making people feel emotionally invested in the cause before they make a donation request, charities can increase their chances of success.

Job interviews

Job seekers can use pre-suasion to influence the outcome of job interviews. For example, they might dress professionally and arrive early to create a good impression. By demonstrating their professionalism and punctuality, they can influence the interviewer’s perception of their qualifications and increase their chances of getting the job.

How to use pre-suasion to influence others

Here are some tips for using pre-suasion to influence others:

Create a positive mood

Positive moods make people more receptive to persuasion. Try to create a positive mood before presenting your message by using humor, sharing a personal story, or using a positive tone.

Create a sense of urgency

Creating a sense of urgency can make people more receptive to your message. For example, you might use a deadline or emphasize the consequences of not taking action.

Establish your credibility

People are more likely to be persuaded by someone they perceive as credible. Establish your credibility by highlighting your qualifications or expertise.

Use social proof

People are more likely to be influenced by what others are doing. Use social proof by highlighting the number of people who have already taken the desired action or by sharing testimonials from satisfied customers.

Be specific

Specific information is more persuasive than general information. Use specific numbers and examples to make your message more concrete and memorable.

Bottom line: Changing someone’s mind can be a difficult task, but by using pre-suasion techniques, you can increase your chances of success. By priming your audience to be more receptive to your message, you can make your argument more compelling and memorable.

Remember to create a positive mood, create a sense of urgency, establish your credibility, use social proof, and be specific. By using these techniques, you can become more persuasive and effective in influencing others.