How to persuade people using neuroscience

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Using both conscious and unconscious techniques combined

When it comes to persuasion logic works quite well.
In one of my previous articles i mentioned how important it is for you to address people's mental resistance or opposing beliefs in order to persuade them to do something.

But just as persuasion can be done logically on the conscious level it can also be done on the unconscious level. Some techniques that are based on neuroscience can help you persuade people easily without saying a word. However, this doesn't mean that you should ignore conscious reasoning when trying to persuade someone.

The best way to persuade people is to use both conscious and unconscious techniques together.

How to persuade people using neuroscience

Studies have shown that the situations people pass through right before taking a certain decision can greatly affect that decision. If for example you were on your way to buy something then you helped someone on your way then this might affect your buying decision. Because psychological momentum is very easy to build helping someone on the way might motivate you to help the seller who look desperate to sell you something if you met him shortly after you helped the first person.

This means that you can mentally prepare people before asking them for something and so increase your chance of getting a good response. One study have shown that once people were given a candy to eat their desire to buy expensive things became much higher. (see also How to use neuroscience to influence people)

The explanation is simple. When a person does something he acquires some momentum to keep doing it over and over. When a person is allowed to eat a candy it automatically activates areas in the brain connected to binging and because purchasing stuff can be considered one form of binging people tend to buy more things when given a candy.

This brings us to a very important conclusion; The mental state you put someone in before asking for something greatly affects your chances of getting a good response.

How to tune someone's mind before asking for something

Let's suppose that you are going to ask someone for a favor that would cost him some time. If you talked about a topic that unconsciously reminded that person of generosity then you might have a higher chance of getting help. This can be as simple as talking about the last movie you and that person saw.

If you reminded that person of a movie about a superhero who used to help people, Batman for example, then he might feel more like wanting to help without knowing the reason.

What happened here is that you targeted the subconscious mind of that person indirectly and put it into a mental state that rewards giving.

If on the other hand you talked about something that made a person unconsciously recall selfish values then you might not get any help. For example studies have shown that talking about money makes people recall their selfish nature. Now if you talked about finical stuff before asking for a favor you might not get the help you are after.

In short, you need to find a smart way to mentally prepare someone for your demands before asking him anything.

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