professional communicator of persuasion techniques is all
the professionals who start the ‘we’ve done that!’, “Poo, not
rotten old A.I.D.A. again!” or, if they are being charitable,
“Well, it’s always important to be reminded of what you
already know.” When coaching one-to-one I then see the
whole thing fly out of the window. In a written test they
can quote A.I.D.A. chapter and verse yet they fall at the
first hurdle. Do they have the other person’s full attention?
How often, when on the telephone, do you notice a sort
of vagueness that you can’t quite put your finger on? Then
you hear the clickety clack of the keyboard or the Microsoft
jingle…yep, they are doing their emails. Talking at people is
a sure way of losing their attention but we do need to get
our point across.
When considering the mechanics of persuasion I did
wonder why such a cheesy old acronym as A.I.D.A. was so
important and why even the most elevated of persuaders
found such a simple old technique so difficult to stick to.
Let us examine our map analogy again. With every jour-
ney there has to be stages which physically cannot be taken
out of order. Where our persuasion journey comes to bits
is that it can be taken out of order with fairly disastrous
Kids are the greatest persuaders I have ever seen. They
lack the sophistication of adult guile so they make the
fundamental error of asking for their goal and then trying
to post-justify it if turned down. This can work but it takes
the brass neck of a child to pull it off. In my book Resistance
is Useless, I suggested a six-year-old child can do a better job
of persuasion than us.
“Dad, can I have a lolly?” This is not A.I.D.A. Attention
is not guaranteed. But what am I saying? The kid knows
by instinct so a lot of sleeve-tugging and “Dad, Dad, Dad,
Dad…” will take place until there is indeed attention.
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