As you think about your next meeting, presentation, or sales call, consider how difficult it may be to persuade this audience to act on your message. Moving someone to action is a challenging task, especially if minds and behaviors must be changed in the process. But it can be done, and there are ways we can make it easier. Simple preparation is a must, of course. By getting to know our audience, crafting a simple, clear message, and maximizing our credibility with our audience, it becomes easier for us to move them to act on our message.
One metaphor we use in our workshops to illustrate this concept is the high school physics lesson of leverage.
- The fulcrum represents how well we know our audience. The better we know our audience, the closer we move our fulcrum to them, and the easier they become to move.
- The lever represents our message itself. A stronger message equals a longer lever, which makes persuasion easier.
- The downward force, or weight, represents our credibility — the figurative weight we carry with our audience. The more credibility, and the stronger delivery of our message, the more downward force we can apply to our lever.
As we prepare our communication, we adjust these variables, and our audience becomes easier to persuade and move to action. Think about these tools as you assess your next presentation or meeting, and how you can increase your own leverage in that opportunity to persuade.