106 Communications

6th Sense

The Art of Persuasion in Early Careers

January 2020 | Student engagement

Last week I attended the ISE Global Recruiters Conference. As a consultant in the Early Careers Marketing space not all of the sessions were aimed at me. But my interest was certainly piqued by a session entitled “Big little hacks to make people say yes”. The ISE has rightly identified that many of their members both operational and strategic are interested in raising the profile and influence of Early Careers in their organisations to unlock investment (both in terms of time and budget). The session identified a number of very useful persuasion tactics that we can all remind ourselves of before that all important meeting, presentation or one to one. Here’s what I took from the session as useful nuggets…

Presuasion isn’t about a light bulb moment where our boss, partner or kid says “YES!” but a process:

PRESUASION           IN-Moment persuasion             Nudging

Pre-suasion is really about picking your moment (and making sure your audience are well sated!) Don’t have meetings before lunch apparently – a study by Jonathan Levav, associate professor of business at Columbia University, found that the likelihood of a favourable ruling peaked at the beginning of the day, steadily declining over time from a probability of about 65% to nearly zero, before spiking back up to about 65% after a break for a meal or snack.

Pre-suasion is about Planning; Are you clear about your goal and does your audience know, understand and agree with it? This can all be done ahead of time.

In-Moment Persuasion can be maximised if you know something about your influencees. Obvious? Well probably yes, but how often do we think about our decision makers and how they are going to behave in the moment? I have been lucky enough to have worked with some great clients over the past 25 years and have run many sizeable presentations and pitches. But, the best ones have been where we have invested many hours in getting under the skin of the decision makers, what makes them tick, what is their agenda, what is most likely to get them over the line?

In-Moment Persuasion is about using the right Language; asking our decision makers more questions puts them in the driving seat, in control and engaged. Blend this with questions that speak to our audiences’ values, beliefs and emotions will be even more powerful. Making our decision makers feel good before presenting them with the supporting facts and figures will increase your chances of success.

Nudging the client over the line is only possible if you have a clear map of the decision journey.

Nudging influencees by becoming a CHOICE Architect. Provide alternatives to your preferred decision and make your optimum solution the most visible.

And finally…

Interrupt your decision makers’ workflow with Nudges ensuring that they are well timed!

However it struck me that there might be a risk of over simplification if we try to translate the recommendations into a model to engage with our Early Careers talent. Certainly there are elements of the advice above we can consider BUT we should never forget the following;

  • Persuasion could be seen to be a pejorative word – synonyms include Coaxing and Inducement…As Career marketeers this is not our job… our purpose is to Understand and to Educate our audience to help them make well-informed decisions.
  • Our audience is diverse, complex and highly matrixed. Be careful not to over simplify your approach.
  • In-moment decision support – How can we be more creative about being present with our audiences as they travel along their decision path?
  • How do we allow our audiences to ask the questions that allow them to feel empowered and engaged? FAQ’s on your website might not be enough for some audiences.
  • Nudging – in fact, are we clear around our candidates’ decision journeys? Bearing in mind that the journey to application will differ enormously between audience tribes.

Thanks for reading!

If you have liked our take on the Art of Persuasion, then hear more about 106 Comms views on Early Careers Marketing at our “Graduates – Why Bother?” event on the 27th February.  Register now.

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