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mini-com course #2 : Convince without manipulating

Emmanuel Tourpe

This series ” The mini-com courses ” was born in the mind of my friend Emmanuel Tourpe during the period of confinement following the coronavirus pandemic. Emmanuel, being a renowned professor of communication and philosophy, is also the director of programming at ARTE, the Franco-German television channel.

Initially published on his Facebook feed, these “mini com-courses” as he called them, deserved more significant exposure. Limited to Facebook, they were like many gems hidden at the bottom of a mine. In agreement with Emmanuel (who should be thanked here), we are posting them on this blog for the pleasure of as many people as possible.

We have published his ” mini-com course ” n°1 as part of a more global reflection on the problems of communication applied to market research methods. In this post, please find his ” mini-com course ” n°2.

Happy reading!

Mini-com course n°2

“Convince without manipulating”

What a fabulous title: how to convince without manipulating! At a time when certain abuses of NLP (neurolinguistic programming), or even CIA persuasion techniques, teach you for 200 euros how to seduce, direct the attention and win the adhesion of anyone. By breathing at his rhythm, by giving him reason by deception, by disarming his mental defences… how to sell a car in 3 lessons.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer

The Institute for Propaganda created in the 1920s by Clyde Miller in the U.S. had established a whole set of useful tricks – still used in advertising today, such as the notion of a muse to sell perfume – that allowed the masses to be manipulated through propaganda. Schopenhauer had described the dreadful rules of bad faith and mental illusion long before in “The Art of Being Right” (1830-1831).

However, how can we not enter into such practices while remaining effective? How to get one’s message across, to make it stand out, without playing on the unconscious springs of desire and narcissism?

It was Aristotle who came up with the solution, and it is still relevant. It is straightforward: a good drawing is better than a long speech.

To strike minds? Use an image. A metaphor. An analogy. A narrative. A parable. Nothing strikes the human mind like an image or a story. It grabs attention and creates acceptance. A sharp image is much more convincing than a logical demonstration: because the image touches the imagination, the heart. Furthermore, all communication is based on this absolute secret: we are governed by our hearts more than our brains or our reason.

Do you want to convince? Look for a sharp image. A striking comparison. A memorable anecdote. It will not manipulate anyone but will attract attention and often adherence. It is a golden rule of communication. It reigns at the heart of the Gospels parables, everywhere the strength of the story is preferred to the violence of illusions. Take any book sold in train stations in the United States: for each theory, a picture or a personal anecdote.

This is what communicating is all about: talking to the whole being, imagination and reason, not to his or her instincts and impulses. To communicate is to invite to share the same symbol, the same image, the same story. It is to tell.

Illustration : shutterstock


Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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