60 Seconds

So, you don’t want to read the whole book.

You want it all, you want it fast, and you don’t want to pay for it.


Persuasion uses words to change the way freely choosing people think, feel, and behave.

Persuasive communication moves people through a Communication Cascade of Reception (did you get it) to Processing (how did you think about it) to Response (is it easy, fun, and popular) to achieve ultimate, downstream Behavior Change.  Failure at any Stage of the Cascade kills persuasion.

The Cascade

Behavior change is the TACT – Target Action Context and Time or Who does What Where and When.  If you can’t name the TACT, you can’t persuade.

Rules guide effective persuasion.  The main Rules are:  1)  There are no Laws and If there were I Wouldn’t Tell You, 2) It’s about the Other Guy, 3) All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere, 4) All Persuasion Is Local, and 5) You Can Get Farther with a Kind Word and a Big Stick than with Either Alone.

The Persuasion Toolbox has three categories:  WATTage, Arguments, and Cues.

WATTage is receiver willingness and ability to think.  High WATT processors search for Arguments and elaborate on them with that “conversation in your head.”  Low WATT processors love Cues and follow obvious indicators for change.

Arguments contain important, crucial, and central information about the topic, issue, or behavior in question.  Evidence, facts, and reasoning are common examples of Arguments, but so is a Pretty Face when it is offered as an Argument from a Cosmetic Surgeon or a Shapely Body for a Fitness Center.

Cues influence receivers without needing any thinking.  A Pretty Face to sell a red convertible is a Cue while a Pretty Face to sell a Cosmetic Surgeon is an Argument.  Just about anything that moves, shines, or jiggles is a Cue.

The Central Route is a high WATT processor thinking about Arguments.

The Peripheral Route is a low WATT processor following Cues.

Central Route persuasion produces change that last longer, resists counterattacks, and predicts future behavior.  Peripheral Route persuasion doesn’t, but can produce the same amount or more of immediate change as the Central Route.

Simple ELM

Persuasion science is based on the four forces of chance, control, comparison, and counting.

A persuasion script is a routine sequence of dialog and action that includes a persuasion play and a TACT for a targeted receiver.

Learn more from:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide for Persuasion by Steve Booth-Butterfield

Influence by Robert Cialdini

The Psychology of Attitudes by Alice Eagly and Shelly Chaiken

Attitudes and Persuasion by Richard Petty and John Cacioppo