The ART of persuasive communication is: acknowledge your target’s opposition, respond in an honest, substantive and compelling manner and then transition to the next logical step moving the conversation forward.

Meaningful responses are at the heart of your persuasion effectiveness. Your responses should illuminate, inform and educate. So how can you create more compelling responses? Here are some ideas.

Use Examples

Examples present a similar case which constitutes a precedent. It shows how others benefitted from or would have benefitted from taking the path that you are suggesting.

You might say to someone, “Kodak pioneered digital camera technology and built the first consumer friendly digital camera, but still missed the huge market transition to digital photography. I don’t think we want look back years from now and realize that we too, missed a huge, and in retrospect obvious, opportunity.”

The three great sources of persuasive sources of examples are a) well known, like above, b) examples drawn from your own industry, and c) examples from your own company.

Loss language

The other aspect of the Kodak example that makes it compelling is not only is it an example to which many can relate, at the same time it leverages, “loss” language. One of the fundamental tenets of persuasion is that we are more strongly driven to action by what we stand to lose, than what we stand to gain. And in the above example, loss language is used drawing parallels between an existing situation and missed opportunity.

Use Interesting Metaphors, simile and analogies.

Metaphors are a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing, is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison. This series of meetings will be the marketing group’s Olympic Games. This project will be his Everest. The initiative was his Picket’s Charge. We just lived through a cloud burst of missed opportunity.

A simile is a type of metaphor and is the comparison of two unlike things. For example, using this marketing strategy in this situation is like trying to store tomato soup in a zip lock bag, you can do it, but it’s going to be messy and difficult to manage.

Analogies are more logical and draw comparisons between things that have similarities in some respects and differences in others. Hitting second gear on a Harley-Davidson v rod motorcycle is like launching an F18 Super Hornet off the USS Nimitz.

Metaphors and similes rely more on imagery and may elicit more emotion. Analogies are a bit more logical. Don’t get hung up trying to categorize your language, simply try and say things in an interesting and unique way that will help capture the attention of your target and help them understand what it is you are saying.

And remember, a little goes a long way, cinnamon is great, but too much, spoils the dish.