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The power of persuasion

Lesson plan Time: Level: Objective: Materials: 90 minutes B1+ and above To raise awareness of the use of persuasive strategies and language. To create a persuasive poster presentation One copy per participant of pages 3-7

Procedure: A: Lead-in: learners discuss the questions in pairs or small groups.


B: Persuasion theory. Learners read the text and look at the diagram illustrating Robert Cialdinis theory of persuasion factors. When they are finished they match the factors of persuasion to their definition in the table: Key: Principle Liking Commitment Authority Scarcity Social proof Reciprocity Definition People like other people who appear to be similar to them People dont like to back out of a deal, especially after they agree to something in writing or verbally People want to follow the lead of real experts. The less of something there is, the more valuable people see it People are guided by the decisions and actions of the people around them If someone gives us something, we want to give them something back

C: Discussion: Learners discuss which companies they know who use these principles to sell their products or services. For example in clothing shops assistants often make positive comments about items of clothing, saying that they themselves have bought the same thing (liking), or that what the customer has chosen is a best seller (social proof). D: Marketing strategies as examples. Learners look at six marketing strategies and relate them to the persuasion factors in step B. Key: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Sending free samples - reciprocity Use a customers first name when calling or writing to them - liking Offer a free online course, newsletter or advice to people browsing your site - commitment Testimonials from satisfied customers social proof Demonstrate your credentials - authority Offer products for a limited time only scarcity

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Gabrielle Jones 2013

E: Brainstorming further examples. Learners consider other tactics which businesses use to persuade customers, and make a list, aiming for two examples of each factor relating to the Robert Cialdini model. F: Persuasive language Learners are introduced to the five most persuasive words in the English language. They imagine that they want to take a days holiday, and must prepare an argument to persuade a colleague to cover their work. They can prepare their sentences in groups then compare them with those of another group. G: Simulation. Working in groups of three, learners plan and carry out a simulation, based on a workrelated task in which they need to persuade someone to do something. Two participants take the role of the speakers, and one takes notes on their performance and debriefs to them at the end. This task may take between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on the experience and skills of the learners.

H: Preparing a persuasive presentation. Learners prepare a poster presentation. Their objective is to present a new product. You can either have them develop something themselves, or use unusual products such as these http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-inventions/. They should prepare both the poster and their speech, which aims to persuade their audience to buy their product. They are also encouraged to use the persuasive factors presented in step B and the persuasive words from step F. Once preparations are finished, groups present their products. If the class is large, you can have the groups repeat their presentation several times to different groups. If appropriate, groups can take a vote on who gave the most persuasive presentation. I: Debrief: Discuss how successful the presentations were and what learners intend to take away from the lesson with them.

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Gabrielle Jones 2013

The power of persuasion


A: Lead-in: discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups 1. Are you good at persuading other people to do something? 2. When was the last time someone persuaded you to do something? 3. What kind of jobs require people to have good persuasive techniques?

B: Persuasion theory Robert Cialdini is an American professor of Psychology and Marketing. In 1984 he wrote a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. When he was researching the book he spent three years working undercover in telemarketing companies, car dealerships and fundraising organisations. He identified 6 key principles which influence other people:

Definitions: Match the principle on the left with its definition on the right: Principle Liking Commitment Authority Scarcity Social proof Reciprocity Definition If someone gives us something, we want to give them something back The less of something there is, the more valuable people see it People like other people who appear to be similar to them People want to follow the lead of real experts. People dont like to back out of a deal, especially after they agree to something in writing or verbally People are guided by the decisions and actions of the people around them

C: Discussion: Can you think of how companies you know use these principles to sell their products or services?

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Gabrielle Jones 2013

D: Examples: Look at the following marketing strategies. Which of the influencing factors are they examples of? 1. Sending free samples 2. Using a customers first name when calling or writing to them 3. Offering a free online course, newsletter or advice to people browsing your site 4. Providing testimonials from satisfied customers 5. Demonstrating your credentials 6. Offering products for a limited time only. E: Brainstorming: What other strategies could you think of for each influencing factor? Try and think of two for each: Liking 1 2 Commitment 1 2 Authority 1 2 Social proof 1 2 Scarcity 1 2 Reciprocity 1 2

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Gabrielle Jones 2013

F: Persuasive language Salespeople use language and techniques to persuade potential customers. The most persuasive words in the English language are considered to be: a. New b. You c. Free d. Because e. Instantly Imagine you go on holiday and want to persuade someone else to cover your work for the day. How could you use those words to present a more persuasive argument? Brainstorm ideas in pairs or small groups. When you are finished, compare how you have used the language with another pair or group. G: Simulation Think of a work-related situation in which you need to persuade another person to do something. When planning your simulation, consider: Who is involved? Think job roles Where are the participants? Think cultures, companies and countries Why are they involved in this situation? Think how the discussion is related to their goals What is the topic you will discuss and what outcome do you want? Think how the conversation will develop and what the consequences might be for each participant involved How can you include the most persuasive English words: new, you, free, because and instantly. When you are finished planning, simulate your work place scenario in threes. Person A and person B should take part in the conversation, person C should make notes on how they perform the simulation. When you are finished participant C will give you feedback on how successful the simulation was.

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Gabrielle Jones 2013

H: Preparing a persuasive presentation At exhibitions and conferences speakers can usually choose one of three types of presentation a poster presentation (around 5 minutes), a talk (around 30 minutes) or a workshop (45 to 60 minutes). When making a poster presentation, organisations have around 5 minutes to persuade visitors of the benefits of their project, product or research. They prepare a detailed poster which visitors can look at, and then prepare a short presentation which they give to each group of people who visit their stand. Heres one template which can be used to prepare a poster:

a. HouseshoesRus

b. Nightglow slippers

c.

Basic information: a. Name of company b. Title of product/service c. Picture of the product or diagram of the service Detailed information: 1. Explanation of what the product or service does and how it works 2. Information about similar products or services on the market and why this one is better than competitors products or services. 3. Information about the target customers and the benefits to them 4. Information about customer service, including after sales service (where applicable) Task: You are going to be presenting a new product at an exhibition. Decide what your product is Prepare the information on your poster Prepare a 5 minute presentation. Dont forget to include persuasive strategies so that the customers commit to your product! These include persuasive factors, such as reciprocity, liking etc. and persuasive words.

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Gabrielle Jones 2013

I: Debrief When you have finished presenting your product speak to someone from another group. Discuss these questions: 1. 2. 3. 4. How persuasive were your presentations? Why/why not? Is there anything they could or should have done differently? How do you think todays lesson will help you at work? What part of todays lesson would you like to learn more about?

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Gabrielle Jones 2013