What’s more persuasive, email or face-to-face communication?
Per a UK psychology study published on this fascinating British psychology blog, gender roles make a difference. So does the level of familiarity. Friends can persuade us more easily, generally, than strangers.
But when familiarity levels are low, email is more persuasive for men than it is for women. And when familiarity levels are high? Women still react better to face-to-face interaction. At least, better than men.
But overall, you get your best results when “oneness” levels are highest.
“Oneness” is simply the idea that the better you feel you know someone, the more doing something for them feels about as good as it does doing the same for yourself.
The researchers tested this by giving two test groups a set of personality tests.
In one group, the results were faked so participants would believe they shared identical personalities to fellow test-takers. In the other, the faked results showed a vast difference in personality types.
After the test, the participants were asked to try to convince one of their test-taking counterparts of different assigned arguments. In the “like” personality group, persuasion was a breeze. Between dissimilar types, not so much.
If I had to tie this back to the email or face-to-face question, I’d say that — at the very least — this confirms what a lot of us have already suspected. Which is that, the more you build that personal connection, often the better your results.
Especially in business-to-consumer marketing.
From the same psychology blog, want to persuade a group that your opinion is actually the majority opinion?
Turns out that all you might have to do is repeat that opinion at least three times. Doing just that, it can have 90% of the same effect as three other people voicing the same stance. For marketers, this just underscores another accepted truism: there’s value in repetition.
If you’ve got a key message and you’re writing long copy, especially, look for more than one way to express that point. Not so the meaning changes, but so that it’s fresh and easy to absorb each time. Same goes for reinforcing your big benefit. Come back to it naturally in the copy, throughout, when you can.
Speaking of psychology tricks, here’s a set of some insights a little more for the “useless but interesting” file.
First, try this: do the following math quickly in your head… 2+2, 4+4, 8+8, 16+16. Done? Good.
Now QUICK pick a number between 12 and 5. Great. You picked the number 7.
Weird, isn’t it? No, I don’t know why it works.
Here’s another one: What is 1+5? 2+4? 3+3? 4+2? 5+1? Now say the number “6” as many times as you can over the next 10 seconds. Done? Boy, you follow directions well. Now QUICK… name a vegetable.
Was it a… carrot?
Only 2% of those tested this way ever say otherwise.
No, I can’t explain that one either.
Last modified: May 16, 2019