“In large measure, who we are with respect to any choice is where we are, attentionally, in the moment before the choice.”
“Is it possible to enhance effectiveness not only within those lengthy time frames but also in an instant—the last instant before a communication is sent? Not only is it possible, it is established. Communicators can elevate their success by knowing what to say or do just before an appeal.”
Robert Cialdini’s seminal 1984 book, Influence, became required reading for anyone angling to learn the sales and persuasion tactics marketers have used on consumers for ages.
I first read Influence maybe 6 years ago. While not quite an easy read — Cialdini is a professor who’s written several textbooks and probably thousands of academic papers, which makes for very academic writing — Influence explained, very clearly, how certain unseen tactics could be employed to steer out decisions. The book is a classic that has sold over 3 million copies.
Over 30 years after that hit book, Cialdini wrote his second book, Pre-Suasion, which is, for one, written as more of an offensive manual (“here’s what you can do”) to juxtapose Influence’s defensive stance (“here’s what they’re doing to you!”). For two, Pre-Suasion is about the actions which can be taken prior to a move for Influence that, more than hopefully predisposes your subject to behave in a certain fashion.
True to his academic roots, Cialdini is a heavy researcher; the Index and footnote citations take up nearly half the book. So don’t be discouraged by the length of it — a lot of it isn’t the reading part. That shouldn’t matter, though.
You Should Read Pre-Suasion IF: You want to better your skill of persuasion. That’s it.