Using Timing to Become a Better Persuader

Daniel Pink

Lesson time 07:01 min

We often focus on what we need to accomplish and how to get everything done—but Daniel explains why we also need to focus on the “when” of these decisions.

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Topics include: When You Pitch Matters · When to Give Bad News · Schedule Tough Requests After Breaks


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:06.75] INSTRUCTOR: A lot of times when we're trying to be effective, we focus very much on what we're going to do, how we're going to do it. But we often give short shrift to the when of these decisions. And it turns out that when we do things can have a big effect. So timing might not be everything, but it's a big thing. [00:00:23.76] Focusing on the time you're doing it, on the sequence of what you're doing, whether you're operating in the beginning, whether you're operating in the middle, whether you're operating at an end, if we bring that when factor into our decision making and into our persuasive encounters, we're going to be better at it. [00:00:47.31] Many times as a persuader, we find ourselves in a serial competition, that's serial with an s. What that means is that you have a series of competitors who are doing things one after another. They are pitching for a new business. They are a series of job interview candidates coming in one after another after another. So there's some interesting research on where you want to be in that sequence. And it distills to some I think really useful guidelines for when you go first and when you don't want to go first. [00:01:16.69] So there are three instances when you want to go first. If you are not the default candidate you want to go first. What does that mean? Let's say that you are running an advertising agency and one of the clients is considering getting rid of their existing ad agency. And they're possibly thinking of a new one. The other agency, their current agency, is the default choice. If you are not the default, you want to go first because you're more likely to get a fresh look. [00:01:45.39] Second area where you want to go first, when there are relatively few other candidates. Small number of candidates, going first gives you the advantage of what's called the primacy effect. People who go first are taken a little bit more seriously. The third area where you want to go first, if a lot of your competitors, whether it's other businesses, whether it's other job candidates, are very strong. Because if people see a number of strong candidates one after another, when they get to the later ones, they are going to say, nobody everybody can't be this good. And they'll start more aggressively looking for flaws. So those are the three areas where you want to go first. [00:02:25.11] Now, there are also three situations where you don't want to go first, you want to go toward the end. If you are the default candidate you don't want to go first. Second, if there are a lot of competitors, you definitely don't want to go first, you want to go toward the end. And there's some super cool research on this from idol competitions, from figure skating competitions, from wine tastings, showing that when there are a huge number of competitors the people who come toward the end are actually evaluated more highly. So there are a lot of competitors, go toward the end....

About the Instructor

With four NYT bestsellers, Daniel Pink is an influential voice in the evolving landscape of sales and motivation. Now the author of To Sell Is Human teaches you science-backed principles for effective and ethical sales and persuasion. Learn tactics for achieving better outcomes in any interaction—at home or at work—and tools for framing your message, navigating cognitive biases, and pitching ideas, products, or yourself.

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Daniel Pink

NYT-bestselling author Daniel Pink shares a science-based approach to the art of persuading, selling, and motivating yourself and others.

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