So Much Persuasion: Ways to Learn
I recently had a student ask me, “Kenrick, how do you keep track all of these persuasion strategies? Every time we have a call, you pull out another technique. Sometimes I can’t even remember to use the ‘unconscious hello’.”
When you learn a new language, are you fluent in a week?
When you learn a new instrument, can you play Rachmaninoff after a couple of lessons?
Persuasion is just as rich a subject as either of these and more because once you’ve learned a language, you know the language. But persuasion is an ever expanding field of study with amazing breakthroughs happening all the time.
So to put I simply, the best way I know to become a master persuader is to master the basics. And to master the basics, you have to do what people do when they’re trying to learn something: PRACTICE.
‘Learning’ has been traditionally broken down into five different categories: imprinting, habituation, associative learning, observational learning and play.
Imprinting is a phase-based learning usually associated with young animals and humans and is the process by which babies learn from their parents. This, obviously, has no use for us in learning persuasion, but for the fact that the brain state which is achieved by use of the light and sound machines closely resembles the brain state of the very young.
An example of habitual learning is when an animal first responds to a stimulus, but if it is neither rewarding nor harmful then eventually, the response diminishes. This kind of learning rests mainly in the other-than-conscious.
The two types of learning that we most utilize in our quest for persuasion mastery are observational learning and play. The first, we’re all quite familiar with: observing and repeating. ‘Unconscious hello’? Observe. Repeat. We need to pay attention and then emulate.
Lastly, play. I call the homework at the end of each call ‘home play’ because I love the concept of play and playfulness as a way to enjoy our learning and enhance our experience of not only persuasion, but of life in general.
We’re all successful in our fields. Many of us have high pressure work environments. And yet, I can’t help thinking that part of what we do when we meet for our quarterly meetings is quite playful. Role playing, camaraderie, even the occasional game. Some play is unrestrained and has no outcome, but our play has a clearly defined goal, as does our work.
Back to my frustrated student’s question. Persuasion is play. Persuasion is observation. Persuasion is habitual. Persuasion is repetition and emulation and commitment and intention. And it all comes in time with persistence.
Until Next Time,
Kenrick E. Cleveland