Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Laws of Persuasion: Likability Outweighs Credibility

Part 1 of a 5-part series

If you want to change customers' beliefs, remember that likability outweighs credibility.

So said French philosopher Blaise Pascal in his 1658 essay The Art of Persuasion.

"People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive," Pascal wrote.

Because attraction holds more sway than evidence, Pascal says, you need to understand both "the mind and heart" of your customer, "what principles he acknowledges, what things he loves."

Pascal doesn't advocate sweet talk alone, but an artful blend of reasoned argument and adorableness.

"The art of persuasion consists as much in that of pleasing as in that of convincing, so much more are men governed by caprice than by reason."
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