Between musicians, politicians, and workout instructors, an unreal amount of jobs are based upon the power of persuasion. Even jobs that don’t hinge on convincing people specific things can be vastly improved by a teaspoon of persuasive power – or several. But how effective can it be?
At risk of spoilers, the answer is that it’s hugely effective. Think of it like the whole diet tea trend. An instragram hype miracle, endless consumers were convinced into buying pricey herbal teas – that were often also laxatives – because their fave celebrity told them too in just the right way. Sure, it’s not the most morally upstanding example – but damn if it isn’t an effective example of the power of persuasion.
Persuasive psychology is one of the weirdest, wildest sciences of all time. It’s studied by professors, used by salesmen, and affects just about every aspect of your daily life. With such substantial power, comes substantial responsibility – as understanding how psychology is used to influence your daily life helps you become not only a smarter consumer, but also a smarter worker.
Design thinking isn’t automatically joined with persuasive psychology, but two share the exact same purpose; making you view something in a specific light.
Pre-suation is a term coined by Robert Cialdini, an author who focuses on the psychology of persuasion. The idea is to persuade people in the direction you want them before you’ve even told them the key part of your message. Cialdini suggests several ways to achieve this; such as getting your target audience to say yes to something trivial before getting to the real questions, as well as using setting and small talk to make your client sympathetic to your message.
In terms of design thinking, this becomes especially useful. Thinking about how your preliminary, less relevant parts of what you are designing can affect your audience is sure to streamline your design into top cohesiveness. Similarly, focusing on creating a specific tone or message from the outset is sure to make for more compelling work, increasing its overall effectiveness.
Becoming a semi-psychic master of psychological persuasion sounds fun -but it’s not always going to work. Not every situation allows for persuasive techniques – and, more importantly, you don’t always want to be persuading people. When trying to use persuasive techniques in the big wide world, it’s worth remembering that sometimes it’s equally important to see what a non-influenced reaction is too. Knowing your audiences gut response is crucial to understanding your goals – and will help you know what kind of persuasion works best, too.