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Pro Tip #72: Repetition

Master persuaders know that if you hear something repeated enough times, it biases you to believe that what you’ve heard is true.

Repetition is persuasive. Repetition is persuasive. Yes, repetition is persuasive. Oh, did I mention repetition is persuasive? 

Professional persuaders know that repeating key points helps those points to stick in the mind of the listener. This is not a new rhetorical concept. The ancient Greeks called it anaphora, which means “carrying back.” 

A classic example of persuasive repetition is Winston Churchill’s defining address to the House of Commons during World War II. The UK was reeling from a humiliating defeat on the European continent, and Hitler’s troops were days away from capturing Paris. The UK needed reassurance. Churchill delivered. Before the House of Commons, he said:

“We…shall fight on the beaches,

we shall fight on the landing grounds,

we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,

we shall fight in the hills;

we shall never surrender…” 

A far less eloquent use of persuasive repetition is those annoying, but hard to forget monster truck rally commercials. You know, the ones that say, “THIS SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!”

And then there’s the Persuader-in-Chief, Donald Trump, who uses repetition to drive home his points, especially when speaking off the cuff, like here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_aLESDql1U

The upshot is this — master persuaders know that if you hear something repeated enough times, it biases you to believe that what you’ve heard is true. So, mixed in some repetition next time you’re trying to persuade someone because repetition is persuasive. Believe me, repetition is persuasive.

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