Persuasive Presentations – Part 4 Perception

The P in our SPICES acronym stands for Perception.  Perception is important because it gets to the heart of helping your audience understand that your information is for their benefit.  It frames the interaction and helps people let down their guard and absorb information.

A natural reptilian-brain motivator for any living thing is, “What’s in it for ME?”  Once your audience realizes that the information that is being presented is for their benefit, and can help their particular situation, they are more likely to open up and become active listeners.  How you frame your presentation for the audience’s benefit maximizes the positive outcome for the
listener, not the speaker.  Once the audience believes that you have their best interests at heart, they place themselves in your anecdotes, they imagine how the information that you present impacts them, and they open up.


Why?  Because who doesn’t want another person on their side?  Who doesn’t want the benefit of someone working on their behalf?  Who doesn’t want something for nothing?

A study was done by a carwash using loyalty cards.  They had two different cards.  One had eight spots for punching, with none of them punched.  The other had ten spots for punching and two were already punched.  Keep in mind they both had the same number of available spots for punching – eight.


The study found that while 19% used the first one, more than 34% used the second one.  When asked why, the respondents said it was because they appreciated the carwash giving them a “break”.  Their perception was that the carwash was giving them a deal because it had already punched two of the spots that weren’t even available on the other card!

Likewise, another experiment was conducted in a restaurant.  It involved three different behaviors by a server and the resulting tips customers left.  With one group, the server came over with the check at the end of a meal, and left an extra mint on the check plate.  In the second group, the server left two additional mints on the check plate.  In the third group, the server had one mint on the check plate and then, after putting the plate on the table, began to leave, stopped and whirled around, placing the second mint of the check plate in front of the  customers – as if the thought of placing the mint had just struck them.

The group with one mint left 3.3% more tip.  The second group left 14.1% more tip.  The third group, where the server actively demonstrated leaving the other mint, left 23% more tip!  The customers perceived a kindness by the server, and reflected that kindness back.

Certainly, this kind of power can be misused, but you are beyond reproach Dear Reader, and will certainly use it for Good, not Evil.

Next up – Incongruity!

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