By Goke Ilesanmi
Last week, we said the first rule of persuasion is to establish your credibility. We explained that politically, thus, there is need for credibility of a message and even of those delivering the message. We emphasised that to achieve this, there should not be intimidation, expression of desperation in the form defamation or demarketing of opponents, confrontation or abuse of other candidates or those not yet persuaded by the message, etc.
We said credibility equally varies and is contextual. We explained that credibility can be moral, social, intellectual, psychological, temporal, practical, vocational, theoretical, etc., depending on what a context predominantly demands. We added that as regards intellectual credibility, before you can voluntarily sit down to listen to somebody for knowledge impartation, you must have had confidence that he or she is intellectually qualified to do so. We said moral credibility is about the ability of someone to have proven to have high ethical standards or value over a period of time. We stressed that often times, credibility is not about status but psychology of practical ability.
Another rule of persuasion is that you should never expect an immediate positive response.
Building your persuasive message or case slowly but steadily will improve your chances of success in terms of persuasion. So, campaign handlers must not compel the electorate to embrace their message immediately.
It is like the advertisements of some products on television or radio. The advertisements may not appeal to us the first few times we hear them. But with time, we just discover that we have mastered all the wording of the formerly “anonymous” advertisements and we are even ready to buy the products because persistent persuasion has made us accord the products recognition eventually.
On a lighter note, stories abound of men that say their wives did not give them a definite positive answer the first day they proposed marriage to them. But with persistence of persuasion, the women were able to confirm the genuineness of the marriage proposal and marry them. If those men had forced such women to give them an immediate positive answer, the women might have given them a negative answer because it would have clearly shown that such men were actually not looking for wives but mere girlfriends needed to fulfil their despicable sexual desire.
Another related rule of persuasion says you must learn from rejection. That is, as candidates or campaign handlers, even if you try to persuade some electorate and you are totally rejected, you need to be calm and receptive to the outright rejection. You may even try to ask why such people reject you as candidates or your candidates if are campaign handlers so that you can make amends where necessary. And you may achieve a better result through the adjustment made in response to honest rejection. In fact, those who have earlier rejected you may later be persuaded by your message because of your exemplary humility, flexibility, sociability, personality, etc.
You should also know that it is not possible to convince everybody. Some will be supporters of other candidates or political parties while some that reject you as candidates or reject your candidates if you are campaign handlers may not even be supporters of any candidate or political party. But forcing, confronting or insulting those who refuse to be persuaded or support your cause will definitely rubbish your reputation as a candidate and project you as being desperate. The same thing applies to rude and unprofessional campaign handlers, too.
Starting criticism with objective commendation
As a political candidate, if the occasion demands comparison of your manifesto to those of other candidates in an organised debate, for instance, endeavour to begin on a positive note by first emphasising the strengths of other candidates’ manifestos. Then, without condemning theirs, professionally focus on how yours can proffer better solutions to identified problems or bring about greater development.
In the same vein, if as a candidate, you want to use the current deplorable state of the economy as a basis for justifying why you need to be voted into office, you can do so professionally without being abusive. You do not need to start by condemning the current government’s efforts totally.
The better approach is to first appreciate what the current government has done and then tell the electorate that the current realities have shown that the best of the current government is not enough to put things right and then prove how you want to improve the situation of things. Use your explanation to justify why you need to be voted into office to remedy the situation.
So, beginning criticism objectively and positively without defamation or insults naturally allows your listeners, electorate and even the people you are impersonally or professionally criticising to be persuaded by your points.
For instance, just imagine someone praising you for a long time and then casually drawing your attention to one habit that you need to discard. You will naturally not feel offended but will rather appreciate the friendly advice. However, your reaction will naturally be different if the person begins with harsh criticism or condemnation and even ends without mentioning any positive thing about you.
Political candidates and their campaign handlers and supporters should concentrate on issue-based campaigns, avoid use of foul language, defamation of other candidates and undergo professional Political Language, Persuasion and Presentation training to achieve effective persuasion and entrench political atmosphere of peace and development.
PS: For those making inquiries about our CV/Profile Writing and Speech Writing Services; Political Persuasion and Presentation Course; General Public Speaking and Business Presentation Course; Professional Writing Course, etc., please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant. Tel: 08056030424; 08055068773; 08187499425