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A pithy comment about persuasion

Ed Shiller

Ed's Blog

For those of you who have perused this blog before, you know of two of my long-held beliefs.

The first is that most of us are driven, at least in part, to make decisions or adopt points of view, not so much by demonstrable fact and cold logic, but rather by deep-seated and often unconscious impressions, attitudes and feelings – what I refer to as “residual good will” or “residual ill will.”

The second is a key element of what I call “triggers of persuasion”; namely, that we are more likely to be persuaded by appeals to our emotions than to our intellect.

I’d like to share with you a comment in an online LinkedIn discussion on persuasion by Kristen Sukalac, a Partner and Senior Advisor at Prospero & Partners, that captures the essence of the concepts of residual good (or ill) will and triggers of persuasion:

“Neuroscience shows that we don't actually persuade through reason, or at least not primarily. People make decisions first on the basis of emotion and then justify those decisions with reason. "Facts" can even harden the opposition of people who are passionate about a topic. So the key to persuasion is not to reason the resisters to death, but to figure out how to speak to their emotions . . .”


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