An April 9, 2021 article in the New York Times pointed to a worrying trend: In just a few weeks, Americans will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine easily…but will they? In order to reach herd immunity, we must be able to persuade reluctant people to get the jab.
To this point, persuasion efforts have been largely focused on the science and the statistics. As a professional persuader, I know that’s unlikely to work outside of those already convinced to get the vaccine. Research shows that one-to-one, personal communication is the most effective marketing tool we have. That means all of us need to up our game, because frankly, it’s up to us – as individuals – to accept the responsibility to convince our reluctant friends and family. But how can we do that?
In my upcoming book (scheduled for a July 4, 2021 release), Chapter 39 highlights the four persuasion techniques anyone can master to help convince people to get the COVID-19 vaccine…or frankly, of anything else!
Here’s a preview:
Level 1: Facts, figures, and logic.
You can attempt to have a scientific discussion about the quantitative nature of risk. Good luck with that. It’s too easy for misinformation to be used against you.
Level 2: Emotional appeals.
You can try public (and private) shaming…or appealing to a deeper sense of duty. Be careful, though. Remember Ben Franklin’s advice: Praise in public, criticize in private.
Level 3: Judo!
This is where you convince someone that it was their idea to do something. It takes skill – you need to lead them to the right conclusion, but in their own way. You must be willing to sacrifice your own satisfaction of “winning” the argument. In other words, you’ll never hear, “You were right!”
Level 4: What would [someone you really respect] do?
When all else fails, people often will follow others they deeply respect. If that’s not you (and it probably isn’t, otherwise the simple fact that you did it would be enough), you’ll need to know the person well enough to enlist the help of their idol. Sometimes, that person has made a public statement already, but if not, you can try a service like Cameo.
The truth is that most persuasion never passes Level 2. If you want to be successful, you need to step up your game to new levels of persuasive skill.