Win Bigly by Scott Adams

Win Bigly by Scott Adams

Author:Scott Adams
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2017-10-30T00:00:00+00:00

THE WALL

PERSUASION TIP 19

In the context of persuasion, you don’t need a physical picture if you can make someone imagine the scene.

Trump could have simply said he wanted better immigration control, but that would not have been good visual persuasion. Concepts without images are weak sauce. So instead, Trump sold us a mental image of a “big, beautiful wall.” He said “wall” so many times that we all started to picture it. Before long, we started seeing artists’ renderings of potential walls. Even the opposition media started running videos of existing walls and walls in other countries.

The reason the wall imagery was good persuasion is that it was both simple to understand and memorable, compared with a generic concept such as “border control.” And it made us “think past the sale.” In other words, we reflexively assumed the wall would exist because we had imagined it so often and debated its cost. That’s one of a persuader’s most basic and well-known tricks: People automatically gravitate toward the future they are imagining most vividly, even if they don’t want the future they are seeing. You’ve probably experienced something similar in your own life. When you vividly imagine something you don’t want to happen, such as dropping your phone in the toilet, it can (for some people) increase the odds it will happen. Humans are visual creatures. Like moths, we are drawn to the brightest light. And the brightest light in our minds is whatever we can visualize most clearly. This sort of persuasion doesn’t work on every person in every situation. It isn’t that powerful. But in the context of a yearlong presidential campaign, in which you only need to persuade perhaps 5 percent of the public in order to win, every advantage counts. Trump took every persuasion advantage available, especially the ones that were free. His opponents did not.

While Trump was talking about the wall, Senator Rand Paul—one of Trump’s Republican primary challengers—had a number of smart ideas that got no traction whatsoever. Paul presented his ideas as concepts without visuals. They died on arrival.

Trump was also smart enough to be vague about the details of the wall so that each of us could imagine the wall we wanted to imagine. He could have easily provided his own artists’ renderings of the wall, but that would have been a mistake. It would have given critics lots of targets to attack. But there is one kind of wall that is hard to criticize: the one that is entirely different in each person’s head.

In my imagination, I started seeing small segments of the wall as attractive tourist destinations and special trade zones, with lots of potential for mutual benefit on both sides. Others probably imagined a harsh wall that said, “Stay out!” because that’s what they wanted or expected to see.

Trump’s critics often mentioned the impracticality of building a solid wall along the entire border. They said it would be cost prohibitive. And walls work well only in certain types of terrain.



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