I sat with a good friend of mine recently explaining to him why I thought he needed to improve the presentation slides he used for selling his company’s services.  They were out-dated to say the least.

“I don’t see what’s wrong with them?” he explained.

I went into detail about how he had too many words on each page, how his fonts should be at least 30 point size to be seen clearly, how the average person will just start reading a slide if you show him complete sentences, and ignore what the presenter is saying.

“No, sorry.  It’s not clear why I should bother to change them.” he replied.

Then I realized what I was doing wrong.  “Here, let me show you.”   And I opened some sample presentations for him to SEE what I meant.  Giving excessive details would have worked for someone trying to convince me.  But my friend was a Visual person and was using visual predicates (the italicized words) and needed to see it to be convinced.

People need to be addressed by different channels to be convinced.  In the same situation someone else may have needed:

  • To have heard what I was saying (Auditory)
  • To find out if it worked possibly by trying it themselves (Kinaesthetic)
  • Hearing or reading all the logical details and supportive evidence (Auditory Digital)

Everyone has a specific way they need to be approached to be convinced.  In my friend’s case, he needed to see something because he is a Visual person.  I’m an Auditory Digital person, so I need to hear details and facts.  The Convincer Channel, as it is referred to in NLP Meta-Programs,  is an important element to take into consideration when identifying how to convince someone.  If you missed my last blog post about Predicates and Preferred Representational Systems, it gives details of these four channels.

Within these Convincer Channels, you also need to pay attention to the way a person needs to receive information.  There is another Meta-program in NLP we use to identify how a person needs to receive information to be convinced, called the Convincer Mode.

People fall into the following four Convincer Mode groups:

  1. Number of examples: a person needs to see, hear, read, or do something a set number of times before they are convinced.   Most people follow into the ‘three-times’ convincer group.  That’s why many TV commercials repeat their core message or show their product three times.
  2. Automatic:  a person is automatically convinced.  A classic example is a shopaholic.
  3. Consistent:  is someone who is never convinced for long and needs constant re-convincing.  They will make decisions of course, but they are not easy clients.
  4. Period of time: a person who simply needs time to be convinced.  How much time varies by person.

If you know someone or work with them, you can usually identify their Convincer Channel and Convincer Mode in due time through your normal conversations, once you start looking.  With someone you don’t have regular contact with; you can often informally ask a question like:

“For you to be convinced that a supplier is good how often do they need to demonstrate competency to you before you are convinced?  Do you need to (see/hear/read/do) it a number of times or do you need to (see/hear/read/do) it over a period of time?  Are you automatically convinced or are you never really convinced?”

You can supplement the ‘supplier’ example with any other relevant example such as employees or salesmen.  Also you would obviously substitute the right choice depending on their Convincer Channel where I put (see/hear/read/do).

Learning someone’s Convincer Pattern will not give you special powers over them.  But it will help you to recognize how to get someone to a point where they can take a decision.  In the business world where time is money, this can be a very important thing.  It’s also good to know your own Convincer Pattern, because it can come in handy sometimes.

Do you know what it takes to convince you?