Structure is hypnotically seductive, but we usually can’t see it.
What do I mean?
Consider this sentence:
Yesterday I ate a banana.
The structure is [time reference] + [subject]+[verb]+[object].
The content, the stuff that fills in the blanks, is yesterday, I, eat, banana.
How about this sentence:
You are smart because you are reading this sentence.
[what I want you to believe] because [what you are doing now].
Why is understanding structure important? Because most people don’t. Most folks latch on to content, and are completely oblivious to structure.
This gives us persuaders and inside angle into their brains.
Let’s say I want to convince you to eat your vegetables. I could say something like this:
If you eat your vegetables, then you’ll get strong muscles, which will attract that girl you see at the post office.
Now unless you want strong muscles, or want to attract some girl you see at the post office, you’re going to think I’m talking to somebody else.
But what about this:
If you eat your vegetables, then your body will change in a way to make it much more easy for you to get attention from that special person.
Here, the structure is the same, but the content is very vague. Whenever we meet up with vague content, we HAVE to fill in the blanks. When you use specifically vague content, it’s much more persuasive, because the listener is filling in the blanks with what’s most important to them.
The great thing about this is that you really don’t even need to know what’s important to them, just that you sort of know what “direction” there going to go. And since most of us humans have the same basic desires, this is pretty easy.
All you need is a little bit of rapport, and you’re ready to go.
Try it out, and see.