Tyler Odean

Most people choose not to take action because humans are very loss averse. We all want to minimize regret, and we tend to ascribe more regret to acting rather than failing to act. Failing to act doesn’t really feel like our fault. If you’re trying to be persuasive, you can anticipate this instinct. If you desire a particular outcome, make sure that your stakeholders need … [ Read more ]

Tyler Odean

To make whatever you’re offering appeal to a human being, be aware that any information you put out there will be consumed through a comparative lens. If you don’t explicitly tell your audience which comparisons to make, they’ll make them on their own. And these automatic comparisons probably won’t be as flattering as the ones you’d choose for them.

Tyler Odean

It’s infinitely more difficult to persuade someone that they’re wrong than to persuade them that there’s new information that should change their minds. Any time you’re trying to convince someone to change their thinking, always frame it as an opportunity to be right going forward — not an admission of past error.

Tyler Odean

People will remember a totally random sample of the information you give them. It won’t be the best sample. It won’t be the summary you wish you could hand them. It’s a random set of data. Because they’ll remember random parts, you want to construct a message that — when sampled at any point — reinforces your argument and remains persuasive. Keep it to the … [ Read more ]

Tyler Odean

If you speak to System II [thinking] (i.e. pose something complex enough that it requires reasoning), you’re asking to be doubted. Many of us have had the thought while listening to someone: “I don’t know why you’re wrong, but I still don’t believe you.” That’s System II doing its job. To persuade someone, you need to speak as much as you can to System I … [ Read more ]

Tyler Odean

What most people think of as vision is actually persuasion.

Jeffrey Pfeffer

People are often cognitively lazy, not just cognitively biased. Our mental shortcuts and unconscious patterns of thought make everyone susceptible to the tactics of interpersonal influence: tactics that depend on the norm of reciprocity, accepting and obeying authority (or its symbols), the power of liking, the value created by scarcity, and the tendency to escalate levels of commitment, even in the face of negative outcomes. … [ Read more ]

Jeffrey Pfeffer

When executives tell me that flattery doesn’t work and that people can see through strategic efforts to garner their support, I cite extensive evidence showing that we are generally quite poor at discerning deception. When the deception is coming from a master deceiver and consummate politician like [Lyndon] Johnson, the odds of successful resistance are quite low.

Ron Crossland

When your intent is to move people to action, to help them understand and deepen their appreciation and gain more insight and more passion about their work, you have got to have […] facts, emotion, and symbols.

Abraham Lincoln

When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say, and two-thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say.

Hayagreeva Rao

Many managers rely on deliberate cognition—that is, the ability of the human mind to process and analyze information—and an appeal to reason. By contrast, insurgents realize that audiences rely on automatic cognition, or shortcuts, to make sense of the world. Hence, they use symbols to communicate their point of view.

Philip Pullman

Thou shalt not’ might reach the head, but it takes ‘Once upon a time’ to reach the heart.

Mario Moussa

Using your authority to beat people down in your company may help you in the short term, but it isn’t good for morale. Most savvy, sophisticated executives are natural wooers because they understand that one of the most important things to people is their self-esteem, and it’s counterproductive to force people to go along with your idea rather than convince them of its merits. When … [ Read more ]

G. Richard Shell

Whenever a new idea might affect resources, power, control or turf, politics will be part of the problem at the implementation stage. You need to prepare an idea-selling campaign, not just a presentation.

Benjamin Franklin

If you would persuade, appeal to interest not to reason.

Robert McKee

There are two ways to persuade people. The first is by using conventional rhetoric, which is what most executives are trained in. It’s an intellectual process, and in the business world it usually consists of a PowerPoint presentation… The other way to persuade people – and ultimately a much more powerful way – is by uniting an idea with an emotion. The best way to … [ Read more ]

John Wareham

The key to changing minds is to introduce conflicting ideas and create “constructive confusion.” Only after confusion has been attained can clarity appear.

Bob Sutton

I try to argue as if I am right, but listen as if I am wrong.

Bill Birchard

…the moral, however relevant, is not what’s most notable to a student of storytelling. What’s remarkable is that when listeners hear the start of such a story – whether fable, personal remembrance, or corporate myth – they implicitly agree to a certain set of rules as an audience. Rather than judge the veracity of each fact presented, as they would in a traditional analytical presentation, … [ Read more ]

Roy H. Williams

Win the heart and the mind will follow. The mind (logical left brain) can always find logic to justify what the heart (intuitive right brain) has already decided.