Most of us are easily seduced by content, but in reality we are influenced by structure.
Meaning a lot of times the structure of a particular message is much more compelling than the content, but since structure is largely outside of our conscious awareness, we think we’re making the decision because of the content.
Confusing, I know.
Here’s an example. Let’s say some bright eyed college students show up at your door. They’re pitching some sort of “coupon book” for local businesses, with all proceeds going to the children’s hospital.
They have official looking nametags, and they mention they are going door to door with approval from the chamber of commerce, and they give an official tax I.D.
There’s even an administrator from the children’s hospital silently standing behind them, giving them authority and legitimacy.
Maybe you’ll buy the coupon book, maybe not.
Now assume another person comes knocking . Exact same pitch, exact same coupon book, exact same tax I.D.
But this guy isn’t a bright eyed college student. This guy looks like he just escaped from prison, he looks like he stole his clothes from a dumpster, he hasn’t shaved in a week, and he reeks of alcohol.
Two identical “pitches” or content, but two completely different “pitchers” or structure.
The truth is that as much as we think we are logical and content oriented, we simply can’t escape from structure.
And structure doesn’t just mean the person giving the sales pitch, or trying to persuade you do something.
Within language itself, there is structure language, and there is content language.
As you can probably guess, structure language is much, much more persuasive than content language.
And as you’ve already likely guessed, even when we are persuaded by structure language, we THINK it’s because of the content, when in reality, the content is barely relevant.
This, of course, means that with the right structure language, persuading people to do what you want, in the way THEY want, for THEIR reasons, is much, much easier than most people realize.