Before I conclude, I want to thank you for your courteous attention. I expected to feel a little like Daniel in the lion’s den, coming in here and, more or less, …ing all over your profession and chosen life’s work. Or at least that’s the way it might have come across.
I hope not. I hope I’ve presented some legitimate “information” that provokes the best of your cortical brain and stimulates you to think … and not just emotionally react.
I want to conclude with some questions you might consider.
Even though you may work 8 to 10 hours a day and get paid for your ability to persuade others, that leaves the majority of your time on the other side of the persuasion ledger. When you’re susceptible to the same persuasive ploys implemented by others who are trying to manipulate or influence you. How vulnerable is your “reptilian hot button”?
Are you bothered to hear highly-respected marketers and advertising CEOs speak unabashedly, and unashamedly, in terms such as “cult-like devotion” and “loyalty beyond reason”? What images does that bring to mind? What are the logical consequences of such mindless loyalty? Do we really want to go there?
Some of you may be familiar with Frank Luntz’s work, either through his television appearances or his books. You might consider him a genius and wish you had his skills and abilities. Or, you might consider him the true underbelly of the dark side of persuasion.
In either case, consider two different statements made in the clip we watched. Referring to the same language tested with the focus group, he first said: “this is how we’re gonna sell it.” Then he said, “this is the language to explain it.” Are those two statements compatible? Do they express the same, or different, sentiments? And if different, is it a difference that makes a difference?
When you’re pitching to a prospective client, you put your and your firm’s best, most intelligent, most creative, most persuasive feet forward. You respect the client, knowing that if you’re successful, you’ll be rewarded, perhaps for years to come. So here’s a question … do you respect your client’s customers as much as you respect your client? More specifically, do you respect your client’s customers’ brains as much as your client’s brains?
And finally, a rhetorical question. I hope you’ve realized that throughout my own presentation, I’ve attempted to both inform and persuade. So if I’ve implied that informing is good and persuading is bad, let me correct that now. It’s not necessarily an either/or situation … depending on the motivations of the practitioner.
So what is it that I’m trying persuade you to do? Simply this … respect your profession. Respect your clients. Respect your clients customers … especially their brains. Appeal to reason. Raise the bar. Advocate responsibly, in a context larger than your clients immediate concerns.
Help us all learn and better discern, so we can all better decide.
I’ll leave you with this. You may have wondered about the picture that was at the top of all my slides. I took this photo last month when I was driving from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. I drove through a little valley, then up and over a hill, and this panoramic scene appeared in front of me. I was so moved by it I pulled over – carefully – to photograph it.
What’s the point? What does this mean? What’s the significance? To me, it’s this … there are two ways of looking at this photo and what it means.
One perspective is to look at this and shake your head in wonder … “why is there a billboard in the middle of this awe-inspiring scene?”
The other perspective is to look at this and shake your head in wonder … “why is there only one billboard in the middle of this awe-inspiring scene?”
What’s your perspective?