Ten Ways to Persuade an Idiot

Meera Singhal
7 min readNov 16, 2021

Idiots surround us. Everywhere you go, idiots are there. School, work, your local coffee shop, there is always that one person that wont let it go. They wont let the fact that you stepped out of line, or your typo go, and it can get on your nerves very quickly. Lucky for you, I have 10 ways to persuade any idiot in any situation.

The Cognitive Conversation

  • Use it when, they believe in another side and don’t show any sort of ulterior motive. These sort of people should be able to set aside any sort of emotion relatively easily.
  • It works because of two things. You need a sound argument and good presentation.
  • never introduce emotions into the discussion.

The cognitive conversation. This form of communication is best use when you genuinely believe that the opposing side doesn’t show any sort of ulterior motive, they just believe in what they are saying. It has been proven in multiple studies that people who don’t seem to have an ulterior motive have an easier time to put their emotions aside, a trait that will be helpful when you have to conduct your arguments later.

The cognitive conversation works because you exhibit two traits during your presentation; a sound argument and good presentation. To best imagine how this works, lets use an example. Imagine your running a seafood restaurant.

A successful cognitive conversation requires two things: sound arguments and good presentation. Take, for example, a situation where you are pushing to switch suppliers and you’ve found one whose materials and products are superior to the current supplier, whose products have been causing numerous downstream issues. But your colleague is in favor of sticking with your current supplier with whom he has a long-standing relationship. He expresses his resistance to your proposal by pointing out the higher prices the new supplier charges. You want to prepare sound arguments that disprove the detractor’s objections. In this instance, you might point out that the new supplier is actually less expensive in the long run, when you take into account all the additional production costs cause by the current supplier. You also want to use a logical framework and clear storyline to force the detractor to reassess their thinking. For example, you can emphasize that the decision is based on cost, quality, and service, but above all, cost and quality.

Be cautious about not introducing emotions into the discussion, which could give the impression that you and your detractor are not on common ground. For example, you don’t want to make it seem as if you believe your colleague’s relationship with the former supplier is irrelevant. The goal is to show the person that, on an objective and factual basis, their initial stance on the situation isn’t as reasonable as your argument. Be warned, these detractors are not easily swayed by broad generalizations. Be ready to mentally spar with them and come prepared with facts that back up each aspect of your overall argument.

The Champion Conversion

  • Use it when: they aren’t easily persuaded and bring emotions into it.
  • It works because you: don’t try to jump in and convince the other person. Instead try to invest time in learning about and building a rapport with them. Its not as much about the arguments or the presentation, but bout looking at it from their point of view.
  • you cant rely on the relationship that you built alone, the arguments still have to make sense.
  • be authentic!! its easy to sniff people out

The Credible Colleague Approach

  • Use it when: their personal beliefs are fundamentally opposed to your idea.
  • It works by going over the argues head to their superior in hopes of convincing them.
  • calling in their superior might achieve the outcome you want, but it could destroy your relationship.

Reciprocity

  • Cialdini’s principle of reciprocity says that humans are wired to treat others as they are treated. If you want a favor from them, it bodes well to offer them something before.
  • often times, if you do a small favor for someone else, they will be inclined to give back in larger amounts
  • Take spotify for example
  • Instead of asking you to pay for a subscription right at the beginning (which is unlikely to work given that you have numerous other streaming options), they let you play all the songs you want, popping their subscription ads after every few tracks. Additionally, they also offer a free trial. This can make the user feel:
  • The need to get the most out of the app
  • Obliged to subscribe because of the frequency of ads
  • Happy to subscribe since they already had a satisfactory trial of the service

Users are more likely to pay for a subscription after they have fallen in love with the app. And this type of persuasion psychology (in the form of a free trial) has worked marvelously for them, with a 29% increase in year-on-year subscriptions in 2019.

Scarcity

“Offer valid till stocks last.”

“Sale ends tonight.”

“Your last chance to make your voice heard.”

“Only a few hours left to vote.”

If these sentences give you a sense of urgency and inspire you to act, the persuasion technique of scarcity is working.

This is the classic demand Vs. supply principle wherein a product or service’s cost (or value) diminishes when it is abundantly available. But when the supply is much less than the demand, the same product becomes much more expensive.

How do you utilize this persuasion technique of psychology? If the scarcity doesn’t exist, create an illusion of it!

Pro Tip: There are four ways you can use scarcity to your benefit:

  • Scarcity of time — Fix a limited time to the offer (Eg: Season sales, midnight sales, last-minute GOTV efforts)
  • Scarcity of number — Set a limit to the discounted products, services, or gifts and convey them to customers. Even if the number is enormous, an apparent limit creates a sense of scarcity. (Eg: Offer valid till stocks last, only 1000 giveaway gifts, only the first 20 customers get free delivery)
  • Create competitions — Anything looks more appealing when you win it in a contest. Thus, competition becomes a great persuasion technique.
  • One-of-a-kind specials — “People can’t handle the fact that they could miss out on something. They want to be part of the ‘club,’ the exclusive few,” says Steve Whyley, the 11K Club co-founder. The 11K club was a social experiment website that gave exclusive membership to 11,000 individuals with one “exceptional” benefit. The benefit wasn’t known, and yet, over 11,500 people applied!

This is a great example of a “one-of-a-kind special” persuasive technique. You can utilize this method in ways that serve your political campaign, nonprofit or business the best.

Authority

  • Cialdini’s authority’ principle of persuasion techniques says that people tend to follow advice when it comes from experts or authorities with high credibility.

Pro tip: Highlight your authority and credibility in your texts and calls so supporters understand authenticity. Three ways you can do this are:

  • Mention the qualification of the caller or your team
  • Talk about the impact you have created
  • Highlight your experience with the current team.

Liking

  • We tend to like people who
  • Are most like us
  • Give us compliments
  • Cooperate with us to achieve common goals
  • This “liking” persuasion technique of psychology has been the favorite of many a politician. And it works phenomenally.
  • Take the example of Princess Diana and her wild popularity.
  • The British royalty prides itself on etiquettes that separate them from the “ordinary people”. However, Lady Di stepped away from these norms of being a royal. Instead, she embraced children battling diseases, shook hands without gloves on, and openly showed her sporty side.
  • Because she portrayed herself as one among the people, she became the “people’s princess.”
  • Princess Diana used this popularity to endorse several causes, including HIV/AIDS awareness and campaigning against the use of landmines (as also advocating to clear landmines used during wars). She could count on popular support for these causes because people associated her with themselves and liked her for it.
  • Thus, the “liking” persuasion technique becomes an effective way to show your camaraderie with a group and, in return, to ask for their support.
  • Pro tip: One way of increasing popularity among your supporters is to follow the “Social Identity Perspective.” This theory suggests that to be the prototype and leader of the group, you must

Consensus

This is exactly what the consensus persuasion technique is — communicating what everyone else is doing to direct your supporters in a certain direction.

This technique works particularly well with on-the-edge voters or with new supporters who don’t completely trust you yet, by showing them that others like them support you or act a certain way or have a particular belief.

Amazon’s listing of “frequently bought together” or “People who viewed this also viewed” uses this persuasion technique of consensus to nudge customers to buy more items.

Pro tip: Study your donors, customers, and supporters to understand what group they associate most prominently with. Take examples from these identifiers to have a consensus.

https://enhancv.com/blog/8-persuasion-techniques-to-change-anyones-mind/ ← scientifically proven examples

Foot in the door

  • Principle: The foot in the door principle means that prior to asking for a big favor, you should ask for a smaller one. By first asking for something small, you’re making the individual “committed” to helping you, and the larger request acts as a continuation of something technically already agreed upon.

Door in the face

  • Principle: Say, would you mind running around the streets naked yelling how awesome this article is? No? Well, could you at least share it with your friends on Facebook?
  • Door in the face is the opposite of the previously mentioned persuasion technique. First, you ask for something huge they are not going to agree with, then ask for something contrastingly easier.

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Meera Singhal

Biotech Enthusiast at TKS | Stem Cells | Gene Editing