"We are all storytellers," proclaimed Patti Sanchez, senior vice president at Duarte Inc. as she opened her session on persuasive communication at Connections 2014. Great storytellers motivate an audience to react-to take action and feel invested in the outcome.
This type of persuasive communication doesn't happen by accident. There are reputable patterns you can use to engage your customers while bolstering your brand.
"They won't buy if they don't have a reason to care," said Sanchez. Your prospects need to understand how their world will be better because of the idea you raised.
Like any good story, effective communication starts with a big idea and a hero to make it happen. Your big idea is the desired state-the ultimate goal. Your customers are the heroes that travel along the journey you've identified, emerging transformed and in a new state of bliss because of the path you've identified.
There will be roadblocks and your customers might stumble along the way. You must convince them the pain, complications, cost, and risk are worth the effort.
"You're asking them to fight unknown dragons," Sanchez said. "It's your job to give them the motivation for that journey."
As a communicator you need to present what is and what could be. Sanchez calls this the Persuasive Presentation Form.
The distance between what is, what could be, and the new bliss is the journey you're asking your customers to take. A famous example of this persuasive form is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech.
In it Dr. King moves elegantly between what is and what could be.
"I say to you today, my friendsâ¦even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream." (What is)
"â¦that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: 'we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" (What could be)
"I have a dream" (What is)
"that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood." (What could be)
Importantly, Dr. King ends his speech stating the new bliss.
"â¦we will be able to speed up that day when all God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.'" (The new bliss)
Check out this analysis by Nancy Duarte, owner of Durate Inc., as she explores, in-depth, the persuasive elements of the I Have a Dream speech:
"The greatest communicators inspire people to create new futures-to make a new reality possible," Sanchez said. "Great leaders understand that communication is the difference between success and failure."
As a marketer and communicator, you have the opportunity to inspire your customers to take the first step on a path toward a new state of bliss. "When you communicate really well," said Sanchez, "you move people into the future."