Whether you are trying to convince an editor to read your query, a publisher to send you a book contract, or a reader to believe what you are saying, you need to be persuasive. Take this simple quiz to learn how potent your persuasive powers really are.
1. TO CONVINCE OTHERS YOU ARE CREDIBLE AND TRUSTWORTHY:
A. Cite statistics
B. Share an anecdote
C. Use a combination of statistics and anecdote
2. LEE IACOCCA HAS BEEN NAMED THE SALESPERSON OF THE CENTURY. CAN YOU IDENTIFY WHICH OF THESE SENTENCES BELONGS TO THIS PERSUASION-MEISTER:
A. " It is imperative for us to unite, to grit our teeth, to aspire to new heights."
B. "For in the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."
C. "It's a leader's job to bring the bad news, to get people to believe things they don't want to believe, and then to go out and do things they don't want to do."
3. AN EXPRESSION SUCH AS "OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE":
A. Has lost its effectiveness due to overuse
B. Appeals to a broad spectrum of listeners/readers
C. Reminds us of purpose
4. YOU'LL FIND EFFECTIVE PERSUADERS:
A. Using little words
B. Relying on current buzzwords
C. Teaching their followers via "sesquipedalian" words (literally: one and a half feet long), which demonstrate the writer's erudition
5. PARALLELISM (THE DELIBERATE REPETITION OF WORDS OR PHRASES):
A. Is annoying to listeners/readers
B. Creates a monotonous impression
C. Is an effective persuasion-tool
1. B. Research by J. Martin and M. Powers found the anecdote by itself was most effective in establishing credibility.
2. C. The gutsy, direct, feisty style of this super-salesman is shown in this sentence. Note how many monosyllabic words he used.
3. A. Sentences that are overused, obvious truisms lose their power via the sheer force of repetition. To restore power to such a thought, add an original spin. For example, "To protect our future, we must protect our children."
4. A. Winston Churchill may have said it best: "Big [wo]men use little words."
Check out the words of others who have exerted great influence: Reverend Martin Luther King ("I have a dream."); JFK ("Ask not what your country can do for you."); Mother Teresa ("We can do no great things--only small things with great love.").
5. C. One of the best expressions of the post-September 11 era came from the President, when he stood at Ground Zero and responded to a firefighter who couldn't hear everything the President was saying: "But I can hear you. The whole world can hear you. And very soon, those who destroyed these buildings will hear from all of us."
Dr. Marlene Caroselli, author of 58 business books, is an international keynote speaker and corporate trainer for Fortune 100 companies, government agencies, educational institutions, and professional organizations. She contributes frequently to a number of well-known publications (among them Stephen Covey's Excellence publications and the National Business Employment Weekly). Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was chosen a main selection by Newbridge's Executive Development Book Club. A more recent title, Principled Persuasion, was named a Director's Choice by Doubleday Book Club. One of her latest books, 50 Activities for Promoting Ethics in the Organization, has been co-released by HRD Press and the American Management Association. 500 Creative Classroom Techniques for Teachers and Trainers is now available from HRD Press.