12 Practical Business Lessons From Social Psychology

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Two Routes to Persuasion

Two Routes to Persuasion

The Concept: Not everyone processes information (including product demos and advertisements) the same way. Generally speaking, there are two types of audiences, depending on your product/service. Your audience is either attentively thinking about your message, or they are distracted. These two audiences take two different routes to understanding your message. The involved group takes what is known as the “Central Route,” meaning that they focus on what you are saying closely, develop counterarguments and respond based on what they eventually decide your product is all about. If your ad or pitch was strong and convincing, these people will probably buy. If it was weak or not convincing enough, there’s little hope of them buying.

How You Can Use It: The distracted audience takes a very different route to understanding your pitch known as the “Peripheral Route.” These people focus on irrelevant parts of the pitch that randomly interest them. The speaker’s good looks, for example might interest them more than the information in the pitch. Simple language is also important for this kind of audience. For example, if you’re selling a market research service, classic adages such as “look before you leap” will probably work better than “perform proper market research before investing.”

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Two Routes to Persuasion

Written by Jeff Springer

Jeff Springer

Jeff Spring is the Finance & Markets Editor at BusinessPundit.com. He's currently spending his days backpacking across Europe. While he may be living outside of the United States, he stays connected to American financial markets and M&A's more than is probably healthy for any single person. His love of a good book and a Bloomberg terminal can't be understated.