Pre-suasion (part 2)

fouri_145_pre-suasion2_aspireLast week’s four-i, summarising Professor Cialdini’s new book ‘Pre-suasion’, generated a lot of interest so here’s some further insights from his lecture at the London Business Forum on 11th October.

Do you remember, or perhaps you still have, one of those motivational posters that were so popular in the training rooms of the 80’s & 90’s? Typically they showed scenes from nature combined with a short sentence or single word such as “ACHIEVEMENT”, “ASPIRE”, “TEAMWORK”, etc. And do you look back now and think “they were a bit naff” or, “I doubt they worked at all” or, “if they did work it was probably just for a very short period”? Well if so you, and I for that matter, are wrong!

In a series of experiments involving teams of people in call centres, their targets and scripts were given to them on either plain pieces of paper or paper with “motivational” images such as a runner crossing the finishing line. Quite incredibly, from many studies that prove this works, those teams that received their goals with the runner picture, achieved on average a 60% improvement compared with their colleagues, (a typical uplift quoted was sales increasing from $217 per person to $349). I know, I know, ridiculous, it must be fixed, it can’t be right. But it is. And even more incredible, it didn’t work just once. The teams received the same image for four consecutive days and achieved the same improved results. Maybe it’s time to dig those old posters from the back of the training room cupboard!


And this pre-suasive technique doesn’t just apply to sales. In a related experiment a group of business students were given a number of problems to solve in a set time period under exam conditions. One set had the problem printed with a nature scene as a background, another set with the runner crossing the line image and a third with a picture of Rodin’s “The Thinker”. And the results:

Total Number of Problems Solved

Nature 6.6
Runner 7.1
Thinker 9.3

By just changing the image to something that creates the right state or condition, in this example to pre-suade students to think, their performance improved by a staggering 41%.

As mentioned last week, in November we will be show our members how they can apply these pre-suasive techniques to their teams and customers – if you’d like to be there as well then there a very few trial places remaining… details here.

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