“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” – Napoleon Hill
Over the last few years I’ve put on a little weight.
Actually – a more accurate statement would be – each year over the last few years I’ve put on a little weight and over the ‘few years’ the little bits of weight that I’ve put in have started to add up.
I’m not fat – but I could definitely benefit from taking a few kilograms off.
I’m convinced that I need to lose some weight and have been for a couple of years now. I know the arguments of why I should lose weight and even know how to do it but the reality is that I’ve done nothing about it.
Why is this?
To be honest I’m not exactly sure – but I guess what it boils down to is that as much as I’m convinced that I should – I have no real desire to make the changes that I know are necessary to lose weight.
I suspect that I’m not alone – both when it comes to losing weight but also when it comes to taking action in other areas of our lives.
This week we’ve been talking about how to become a persuasive blogger – we’ve talked about getting attention, stimulating interest and convincing (or convicting) readers that they should take some form of action.
The Need for Desire In Motivating People To Take Action
People often get stuck at this point. They give us their attention, they are interested in the topic we’re exploring and they’re even convinced that what we’re saying is right and that they should so something – but they leave our blogs and do nothing about what they’ve read.
Some of them leave saying ‘it’s too hard’ and others saying ‘I’ll do it one day’. Procrastination sets in and no action is taken – the desire just isn’t there.
Taking people beyond being ‘convinced’ is a real gift and it’s something many of us need to learn about. Here’s a few strategies that might help:
How to Move Readers to a Point of Desire
1. Reemphasize Benefits
You’ve already outlined why people should take the action you’re suggesting – but some people need to hear things more than once. Without repeating yourself word for word go over the benefits of taking the action your suggesting.
2. Shock Them With a Picture of Inaction
Here in Australia there’s been a show on TV (that I’m sure people get versions of elsewhere) called ‘Honey we’re killing the kids’. The show takes parents and shows them a picture of what their kids will look like at the age of 40 if they continue to parent them like they are parenting them. The pictures of what they look like are generally of overweight, tired looking adults, often with no teeth and looking pretty bad. The hope with showing the pictures is to shock the parents into changing their parenting style (it almost always works).
Similarly in Australia we get a lot of Shock Ads – for example there are some very effective TV ads around that show people very graphically what happens if they don’t stop smoking – the latest two show amputations and mouth cancer (see them here if you’re game). I know a number of ex-smokers who put their quitting down to these ads.
Painting a shocking picture of how life will be with inaction can be a powerful tool for helping people to increase their desire to do something. I’m not saying to use shock/scare tactics where they’re not warranted just for the sake of it – you do need to keep the ‘shock’ in proportion to the topic you’re talking about – but showing not only the positives of an action but the alternatives of inaction is a worthwhile strategy to employ in presenting your case.
3. Paint an End Results Picture
At the end of ‘Honey we’re killing the kids’ parents are presented with a picture of their kids ‘alternate reality’ if they continue to work on their parenting (ie change diet, discipline, sleep patterns etc). The pictures are in stark contrast to the ‘shock’ pics that they’ve previously seen. You can see the hope and desire in the eyes of the parents as they see the comparison and I’m sure it is a major motivation for them to make changes.
4. Appeal to The Heart
It is interesting to track the changes in advertising and marketing over the past few generations. I recently came across an old newspaper from the 50’s and was amazed by the differences in ads in it to todays. Most of them were aiming first and foremost at the minds of their readers and were appealing to logic. They outlined features, specifications and gave logical reasons why you should buy their product.
These days ads are much different – they appeal to the heart, they aim for the senses and unashamedly go after an emotional response (even as I watch this I see an ad for a car on TV that doesn’t even mention anything about engine size, brakes or any other feature – all it really seems to be saying is that it’s a car that helps you get ‘free’ and have ‘fun’).
Now I’m not saying as bloggers that we need to emotionally manipulate our readers – however we could learn a thing or two from marketers because they’ve learned that people these days don’t just make logical decisions with their heads – they often make them from the heart also. So consider using stories, pictures and engaging people on a personal level in addition to outlining facts and arguements.
A Proverb to Bring it Home
There’s an Old Irish Proverb that I think sums it up nicely:
“Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.”
Help your reader see a picture of their lives if they do take the action you’re asking them to. Bring it home on a personal (heart) level and help them to dream a little and you might just find that they’ll put their dreams into action.
Tomorrow I’ll finish this series by looking at the last challenge of persuasive bloggers – helping people move beyond Fear to Committment to take Action.