What you can learn about Persuasion from Waleed Aly
Last week The Project‘s Waleed Aly provided a masterclass in persuasive communication. If you missed it, his commentary was in response to Sonia Kruger’s controversial comments about immigration. Aly’s message is thoughtful and refreshing, but it is how he makes the argument that gives it its power. So if you’d like your communication to stand out, cut through and provoke thought, read on…
1. Have a point of view: much of what is said, on TV and in corporate meeting rooms, lacks a point of view. Aly demonstrates how powerfully a different perspective can contribute to our collective understanding of situations and issues. Last week, we had the pleasure of working with Audit Partners at a leading global consulting firm. Over dinner, one of the most experienced senior Partners gave this same advice to the group, saying “What will you tell the CEO that they don’t already know or can’t read in the report? You must have a point of view.” To crystallize your message, ask yourself “If I have just one sentence to say what I think about this, what would I say?”
2. Tone is everything: This is an emotional issue. Aly talks explicitly about being fearful, yet his delivery calm, considered and rational which is crucial for his credibility. There’s a good reason we tend to dismiss an opinion given with too much emotion; put simply, emotion compromises our capacity for logical reasoning. Often we feel strongly about issues we debate at work, so it’s important to achieve the emotional control demonstrated here by Aly.
3. Use evidence: simple, well-chosen evidence woven in to support an opinion gives an argument considerable power and weight. The very presence of some statistics or lesser-known facts suggests your opinion is rational rather than emotional.
4. Change the frame: Aly redefines the frame, changing it from us vs them, where the debate is between adversaries, to a collaboration frame, where everyone’s on the same side. At MP we talk about relationship frames often. We first encountered this concept in Think like a Freak (from the authors behind Freakonomics) and have since used it extensively in our client work to help people change the dynamic in established relationships. Frames are the invisible forces which shape the dynamics of our interactions with others, influencing our behaviour and the outcomes we achieve. At the heart of a collaboration frame is empathy. To shift the dynamic in a relationship to a more positive, constructive one, do what Aly suggests and consider what’s driving them to behave the way they do. Keep your eye on future Vibe posts for more on frames.
Watch one thing, make it Michelle Obama’s speech from the DNC this week. Those Obama’s know a thing or two about connecting with an audience. No wonder Sacha’s feeling the pressure, poor kid. If you just want the highlights, click here for the short version.
The US election is producing so much great content it’s hard to keep up. For a round up of yesterday speeches, including Obama’s much publicised roasting of Donald Trump, click here.
Want to learn something new, check out Crash Course Psychology on YouTube. Each roughly 10 minutes long, these quirky fast-paced videos tackle various aspects of psychology, from perception to bias to brain training. Thanks for the tip Nikita.
That’s it, Vibe-tribe. Thanks for reading.
PS Please feel free to share this with someone who would enjoy it.