When my class was asked to describe our greatest fear- some said spiders while some said ghosts. But when the fingers were pointed at me and the …20 Tips for Mastering the Art of Public Speaking
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.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably yelled “down calm” in response to an angry person yelling at you. Did it work? Probably not.
Rarely does yelling “calm down” to an emotionally charged person actually defuse the situation. Usually the angry person will respond right back by hostilely telling you to calm down.
So what works? Try this: “Whoa, let me make sure I understand you.” It’s not a fail proof retort, but empathy often the extinguishes the flames of frustration. Why? Because no matter how frustrated, most angry people won’t let that emphatic response slide. What you’re saying is essential, “Let me make sure we’re on the same page.” No matter how upset, almost any angry person will stop and listen to make sure you heard them correctly.
Empathy is a powerful tool in a professional persuader’s toolkit. Telling a person they’re heard is one of the easiest and least costly things you can do. Use empathy to defuse anger and move the conversation forward.
If you found this tip helpful, give the article a like at the bottom.
What are your thoughts? Will you try empathy next time? Post a comment.