Current Adelaide time:
          

Fresh News: Techniques of persuasive communication

Big Image

Techniques of Persuasive Communication: Old Wisdom in a New Package

by Philip Yaffe

What you are about to read will probably sound familiar. Indeed, it has been said many times before. However, I believe this formulation is original and may help you better apply it in your marketing communication. I immodestly call it Yaffe's Law.

 

Yaffe's Law

If you give people what they want first, then they are likely to accept anything else you want them to have. If you give them what you want first, chances are they won't accept anything at all.


This is simply the classic principle that you should write from the reader's point of view. And of course we all do this. Or do we?

How often do we interpret writing from the reader's point of view as telling people: "What I have to say will be of benefit to you, so you should pay close attention"? When we do this, we are in fact writing from our point of view, not theirs. We may sincerely believe that our message is important and beneficial to our potential readers. But unless they agree—and agree almost immediately—the argument is lost.

We have all been guilty of such self-serving logic, and some of us do it more often than we would like to imagine. This is why this new formulation of the classic principle is potentially so useful. It forcefully reminds us that the readers are king. And like royalty they must be served first. Only after readers have sampled what we have on offer and find it palatable will they be truly inclined to listen to what we want to say. Assimilate it. And hopefully act on it.

The power of Yaffe's Law lies in the fact that it is more than just a reminder. It is in fact a formula for ensuring that you will always write from the reader's point of view. The trick is first to apply the formula, then check how well you have applied it-and, if necessary, reapply it.

The formula consists of three steps:

1. Determine what your readers really want to know, rather than what you want to say.
2. Give this to them—first.
3. Link what you want to say to what they really want to know.

Here are a few examples of how Yaffe's Law works in practice.


Corporate Image Brochure

I was once commissioned to write a corporate image brochure. Two things are certain about these expensive, glossy booklets:

" Almost all companies of any size feel compelled to produce them.

" Virtually no one ever reads them.

By applying the formula, I created a brochure that people not only read. They called the company to request additional copies to give to friends, clients and professional colleagues!

How? I started from the assumption that no one would want to read anything about the company itself. So I asked myself: What things does the company do that people might really want to read about?

The company's basic activity was producing vaccines. We are all naturally interested in health and virtually everyone knows the importance of vaccination. Here were already two things people might want to read about.

I was able to define seven areas of the company's activities that could be naturally attractive to potential readers. However, it didn't stop there. If all this interesting information were mixed up with company publicity, people would still probably not read it despite their natural inclination to do so.

The brochure was therefore laid out in seven double-page spreads, i.e. each of the seven areas of activity would be allotted two facing pages. However, the text would be rigorously segregated.

Theory — The left side would be pure science; the company's name would never be mentioned.

Practice — The right side would explain how the company used the science to produce vaccines.

In short, I gave the readers what they wanted first (scientific information), then what the company wanted them to have second (company information).

When I proposed this to the company, the reaction was one of shock. "You mean people could read the brochure left side only and never ever see our name?" Exactly. But having learned about the basic science, wouldn't they naturally want to learn how the company was using the science?

It took a while for management to accept the idea, but finally they did. When the brochure was ready, they couldn't print enough of them.

Of course, not all companies would be suitable for this particular type of corporate image brochure. The important thing here is not the specific structure of this specific brochure, but the thinking process that led to it.


Stand Specific Video

I have done considerable work for pharmaceutical companies. This often included attending medical congresses. The first couple of times I did this, I noted something strange.

Pharmaceutical companies regularly erect exhibition stands to inform specialist doctors about new drugs and new applications of older drugs. I noted that many of the stands had several video monitors at their edges running videotapes. I observed the behavior of the doctors. The vast majority of them watched the tape for only a minute or two, then went away.

I asked an international marketing director why he was using these monitors and tapes. "To attract attention to our stand," he said. "But the doctors stay in front of the monitor only a couple of minutes, then leave." "Yes, but they were attracted to our stand. They know we are here and may come back."

Frankly, this didn't make much sense to me, but being young and inexperienced I accepted it. A couple of years later, when I felt I knew better what I was doing, I made a suggestion.

The videotapes ran anywhere from 10 - 15 minutes, then automatically recycled. The problem was, doctors who began watching after the tape had started never knew how long they would have to wait for it to finish and restart. Moreover, hardly any were likely to stand in front the video monitor for 15 minutes or more, even if they had known how long the presentation was.

The tapes were so long because they had not been conceived for medical congresses, but for a totally different purpose. They were used simply because they already existed.

I suggested making a "stand-specific videotape", which would concentrate all key information about the company's product into no more than 90 seconds. The fact that the tape ran only 90 seconds and then automatically recycled would be prominently posted, so that the doctors would know exactly how much time they were being asked to invest in it.

Consider the benefits:

1. Virtually all doctors who started to watch the tape stayed for it to recycle.

2. Because they got all the key points, many who wanted more detailed information immediately came onto the stand.

3. Those who were interested but were short of time probably came back later.

4. Even those who were not certain they were interested nonetheless went away with a complete picture of what the company's product was all about.

In short, virtually 100% effectiveness!

There was no way to gauge the effectiveness of the previous system. But if it had been as much as 10%, I would have been shocked.


Interactive Stand Animation System

Another thing I noticed at medical congresses. Doctors would come onto the stand, pick up the brochures and scientific papers, put them in the congress bags, then move on to the next stand and do the same thing. The problem is, pharmaceutical companies could never really tell if doctors actually read the materials they take away. Estimates are that up 95% of it ends up in the hotel's wastepaper basket without ever being opened.

Using the method of Yaffe's Law, a few years ago a colleague and I created what we call the Interactive Stand Animation System. It is applicable not only to medical congresses, but virtually every other kind of professional trade show.

There is not room here to describe how it works, but I can tell you its results.

With this system, you are certain that your brochures, data sheets, etc., are being read, because people read them right in front of you on the stand. Even better, they actually study the documents, then discuss, debate and compare notes with their colleagues. At the same time, they provide you with valuable market research information that would be difficult to obtain in any other way. This can be very important for determining the best ways of presenting your products, which features to emphasis, which aspects may require change for later versions, etc.

I once described this system to the international marketing director of a major pharmaceutical company. He was very sceptical. Basically he said: "I have been in this business for nearly 30 years and I have attended dozens and dozens of medical congresses. What you are telling me just isn't possible." He maintained this position until he went to a congress where we were running the system for another company. His reaction: "I've seen it, but I still don't believe it. I never would have imagined anything like this could possibly be true."

But it was.


 

 

Reports I have written:

Measuring the impact and ROI of social media
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making social media work for your business
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: the new business communication landscape
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing

How to use social media to engage employees
Contributing author to How to use social media to engage employees - for Melcrum Publishing

Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing

 

 

Have you subscribed to my weekly newsletter yet?

As a subscriber you get kept up-to-date on when new articles are added.

Twitter Mastery for Business - subscribe and it's yours for free!Subscribe now! and receive a free version of my $79 report, Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business.

It's the first in a series of reports I'm writing on how to master the various key elements of social media.

Each report is an-depth, step-by-step process that explains in clear, plain English how to master a particular social media tool and help your business communicate better for better business results.

Each report is easy to read, easy to implement and easy on the pocket -- just $79 per copy.

But as a new subscriber to my blog and newsletter, I'm giving you a copy of the free version of Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business report as a way of saying "thank you" for joining my community.

Please subscribe, then check for the email you will receive from me shortly after, because in the email will be details of how to download the report [1.2mb pdf]

Subscribe now!

Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


If you would like to use any of the articles on this site that I have personally written (they will either have 'By Lee Hopkins' on them, or nothing at all) please feel free to do so as long as you include the following 'resource box' text and a link back to www.LeeHopkins.com:

"Lee Hopkins the author of over 130 articles on business communication, and is recognised world-wide as one of Australia's leading experts in online business communication, including Social Media or Web2.0 as it's also known.

To connect with him, please email him at Lee at LeeHopkins.com

Visit his site at www.LeeHopkins.com to find many more articles on business communication. He also blogs at www.LeeHopkins.net. Whilst there, why not pick up a complimentary copy of his 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business', which explains all about this latest seismic change to the business communication landscape!"

EzineArticles.com Platinum AuthorCreative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Finally, if this site or any of the articles have been of any help to you, perhaps you'd like to say 'thank you' by throwing a few pennies my way. If so, please click on the button below and donate whatever you feel is appropriate. The payment is handled by PayPal and is extremely secure. Thanks.

 

 

 

Follow me on TwitterFollow me on FacebookFollow me on LinkedInFollow me on YouTubeFollow me on Google+

Subscribe

Subscribe to my newsletter now and be the envy of world presidents

Subscribe to my weekly business communication newsletter and receive a FREE version of my highly-regarded report, 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business' (that sells for $79)
Find out more...

 

Related material :

Twitter

Better Business Writing course

A 12-step plan to take you from Twitter newbie to Twitter supremo and grow your business in the process.

More details

 

Better Business Writing

Better Business Writing course

You’ve probably always wanted to improve your writing skills in your workplace, but perhaps there wasn't a training course around to help you.

Well, now there is.

More details

Turn Guesstimates into Estimates & close more sales!

Award-winning ProposalKit gives your clients the detailed price quote and proposal they need so YOU close more sales (and boost your bottom line!) Finally you can quote with accuracy, increasing your profitability and professionalism. ProposalKit is easy, customizable, proven, and downloadable now! http://www.proposalkit.com

Social Media White Paper
(3rd Edition)

Social Media book for free

Trevor Cook and I wrote a booklet to help our clients and friends come to grips with this new online phenomenon called 'Social Media' or 'Web2.0'. Now in its third edition, it is still being widely cited and is receiving lots of favourable comments.

Download your free copy now (pdf)

Find out more about it (opens new window)

Vodburner rocks!
Vodburner is my tool of choice for recording skype video calls, either for later podcasting or simply for my own record. Now that video is becoming more and more important, I can't imagine online life without it.
More about Vodburner...

Find out what email marketing can do for your business [opens in new browser window].

What you say about Lee Hopkins:
 

"One of the best days I've spent with a man! "


"As a speaker, Lee and his alter ego in the guise of avatar 'Lee Laperriere' played a key role in making our virtual event in Second Life a success. Lee was well-researched, engaging and enthusiastic about the possibilities that virtual collaboration brings and his presentation showed that he had really thought about the needs of our audience"


"Wow - what a presentation, it went so well, thank you very much! Fantastic job! "


"Lindy and Lee, you were both brilliant and I'm very thankful and pleased for your efforts, it was excellent. Thank you. "


"One of Australia's leading public relations practitioners in the so-called new media"


"While I only had the pleasure of actually meeting Lee face-to-face several months ago, I have been aware of him in conference programs and through feedback from one of my team members for a while. Lee has an amazing and unique skill for managing the new media to support business outcomes"


"Oz's best social network strategist"


"As for Local Royalty, you really are a Superstar among the bloggers and blogosphere!"


"Lee Hopkins, one of Australia's most respected social media experts"


"Lee was very entertaining and knowledgeable. He demystified social media for me and he made me feel it IS possible."


"His enthusiasm is infectious - exciting stuff!"


"Excellent. A really fascinating insight from an engaging speaker."


"A very difficult topic but it was explained in a fantastically simple way."


"The Walkleys relies on the good will of Australia’s talented communicators to make events like these happen and I can’t thank you enough for taking time out from your heavy schedule to make the convention such a memorable event."


"The workshop was very useful in that it enabled us to directly relate what we learnt in the seminar to our business. Lee was very easy to relate to and he presented all the information in a way that was simple to understand."


"Informative and engaging - gave good overview of new on-line technologies and how they can be applied to businesses. Particularly valued the opportunity to have a separate session to look at the specific needs and potential uses for my own business."


"Great to talk to someone who is expert in their field and passionate."


"The ability to interact one on one with Lee, as well as seeing new technologies and how they can be easily implemented into current business processes [was great]"


"Great. Lee was very engaging and presented info in easy to understand language and examples. Use of music, video, PowerPoint etc keep contents fun and educational. Great stuff!"


“Great! Even I could understand and appreciate the content. Excellent examples, wonderful presentation. I’m going back to share with my team. Thank you. "


“Lee was a great facilitator and his energy and passion for social media was evident."

“Excellent, enthusiastic presenter who is right into what he is talking about. Walking the talk. Just the right amount of info about the different topics. Not too geeky. Strong emphasis on how the tools can assist effective business communication. Relaxed friendly atmosphere. The workshop opened lots of doors, stimulating. I’m strongly encouraged to try things out. Many thanks.”


“Lee was great – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, generous in sharing his expertise. I liked the demonstrations."


"Great Workshop... helped me crystalise my thoughts on social media and now I feel ready to develop the strategy and make use of this great new medium"


Would you like me to run a workshop in-house for YOUR company?

Contact me to discuss how we can bring your company into this new and exciting communication universe.

View many of the presentations I have given over at Slideshare

View leehopkins's profile on slideshare

Why does employee communication matter?

Why does employee communication matter?

Download a presentation I gave to a group of PR students on slideshare

For your consideration:

 

Your special audio report on VOIP is here!

Free VOIP report

 

 

 

 


 
Your special audio report on website design is here!

Free Website design report

 

 

 



"I communicate therefore I am"
CommsCafe mug
Available in medium and large mug sizes. You KNOW you want one!

 

 

CommsCafe mug

Available in men's and women's fittings. You KNOW you want one!


Writing for a web audience

Netwriting Masters CourseWant to write more powerfully for a web audience?...
Right-click on this image and download the pdf file to your computer's hard drive.
"The definitive guide to writing for the web"
says Lee