Great Speakers are Great Persuaders.

If you have to persuade anyone, you will need this!

When a great speaker stand to speak, they have a whole arsenal of tools that they can use to persuade you to their message.  One that we can all use is the “Push and Pull” method.

Put simply, the “Push and Pull” refers to how you structure the features and benefits in your message.  (Understanding the difference between features and benefits is a basic sales technique.  For example, the feature of the car is that it has an air-conditioner; the benefit is that you can travel in cool comfort on hot days.  People will always buy the benefits over the features)

You can use the Push and Pull to deliver your benefits in different ways:

  • The Push – The air-conditioner is great because you can travel in comfort.
  • The Pull – The air-conditioner is great because you don’t want to be hot and sticky when you arrive at your destination.

Both the Push and Pull give the benefits of having an air-conditioner but they are worded differently.  The Push a positive approach while the Pull has a negative approach.

You can use these two techniques individually or together.  If you were to use them together you could say something like, “The air-conditioner is great because you can travel in comfort.  After all, who wants to arrive all hot and sticky?”

So how does this apply to today’s work place?  When structuring your message, look at how you can use the positive and negatively worded benefits in your message.  This can apply to anything from change management, the need to increase sales or even in training sessions.  Simply focus on your message and how it benefits your audience and use the “Push and Pull” to get your message across.

‘Til next time.


Darren Fleming

Australian Toastmasters Champion

Posted in public speaking, public speaking courses, public speaking tips, Understanding your audience

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  • terrygault

    Nice post, Darren!

    This is a concept that is very familiar to sales people as pain and benefit.
    “What is the pain/problem you are trying to solve?”
    “If you solve it, how will your company benefit?”

    It’s important to talk about both. The classic line is that people buy based on emotion and justify their decision based on reason.

    Now, thanks to new studies in psychology, this isn’t just an old cliche, it can verified. A neurologist named Antonio Damasio studied people who had damage to their frontal cortex. Hence, rather than feeling emotion, they feel nothing. They even lack the normal bodily reactions to scenes of horror or beauty but perform normally on measures of intelligence and knowledge of social rules and moral principles.

    They found themselves not like Mr. Spock on Star Trek, who could make decisions and take action readily. They were unable to make simple decisions or set goals and their lives fall apart because they LACK FEELINGS OF LIKE OR DISLIKE.

    From an Article titled “Can Technology Build a Better Buffett?” in Business 2.0 magazine Jan/Feb 2004

    As the director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering at MIT, Andrew] Lo’s own research found that feelings are another extremely important input for professional investors. Lo concluded this after attaching electrodes to traders working in Boston; the devices measured increased skin conductivity — and, hence, heightened emotions. “Unless you can put an emotional value on certain events and actions,” he explains, “you can’t get the job done.”

    Naturally, investors don’t process this hodgepodge of inputs according to some set of explicit, easily transcribed rules. Instead, the mind matches the jumble against other jumbles stored in memory and looks for patterns, usually quite unconsciously. “Often, great investors can’t articulate the nature of their talent,” Lo admits. “They’re like pool players who make incredible trick shots on intuition.”


    After reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” and other articles on emotion, we are learning that it is a sophisticated, highly advanced form of thought and pattern recognition.

    It turns out, people CANNOT make decisions without emotion.

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