In the groundbreaking book, The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production: Toyota’s Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That is Now Revolutionizing the World, Womac and Jones highlight the five basic principles of lean manufacturing: value, the value stream, flow, pull, and perfection. These principles are now applied across a myriad of industries. In fact, you can even apply lean principles to designing your kitchen. With that in mind, this blog applies the principles of lean manufacturing to persuasive speaking.
Every company, regardless of industry, must understand what value a customer or client places upon their products or services. It is this value that determines how much money the customer is willing to pay. Once this concept is understood, the cost of products and services can be determined.
When examining value in the context of public speaking, understand what the customer values. Knowing a person’s values helps the persuader frame a message in a way that the other person is likely to positively respond. Aristotle coined the terms logos, ethos, and pathos; each is a different way to construct a persuasive appeal. Logos is logic, ethos is credibility, and pathos is emotion. For example, if you know that the person you are trying to persuade values saving money, you can appeal to his or her sense of thrift when trying to convince them of something. If you know that a person responds more to logical appeals, you would construct your argument as such. Some people are more emotional and make decisions based on their emotions. In this case, you would be sure to use emotional words in your appeal to evoke that person’s feelings.
- The Value Stream
The value stream is the complete flow of a product’s life cycle from raw materials to the customer using the product. Once a company understands the value stream, they can clearly identify where in the cycle there is a value and where there is waste. Once waste is identified, you can remove it.
Think about the components of a persuasive message as its value stream. Adam Sicinski, creator of IQ Matrix, a mindmap development company, presents the components necessary for increasing your chances of successful persuasion in his article The Psychology of Persuasion:
In order to be successful in persuasion you must be seen as credible in another’s eyes. There are many different things one can do to boost credibility like being sure your words and actions are consistent, displaying confidence, and displaying a strong character.
The Persuasive Mindset
The persuasive mindset is cultivated through building upon three fundamental layers: honor, trust, and presence. Showing a willingness to be taught, displaying confidence, and presenting powerful goals and vision are three ways to begin building on the fundamental layers.
Indispensable Skills of Persuasion
These skills are grouped into personal and social. Examples of personal skills to master are critical thinking and creative thinking. Examples of social skills to master are creating rapport, negotiating, and listening.
Understanding what motivates people is key to building a successful persuasive message. The six critical human needs, according to Anthony Robbins, are the need for: certainty, uncertainty, significance, connection, growth, and contribution.
Pleasure Seeking Motivators
Within this category are personal motivators such as health, freedom, and personal power. Social motivators include good relationships with family and friends, cooperating with others, and being respected by others.
Pain Avoidance Motivators
This final category includes those things that many do their best to avoid. Examples of common pain avoidance motivators are fear, failure, and rejection.
In lean thinking, one key to eliminating waste is making sure that the product or service has a complete and uninterrupted flow. Carefully designed flow across the entire value chain will tend to minimize waste and increase value to the customer.
When thinking about flow in terms of persuasive speech, the flow of the appeal needs to be smooth. Articulating your message with the most effective rhetorical strategies, while conveying credibility, clarity, and warmth is no small task. In order for this to happen, the speaker needs to be sure that he or she is clear on both the aim of their message and has done their homework in terms of researching and designing their persuasive appeal.
Unlike traditional western manufacturing, which uses a push approach often amassing inventory, the lean approach focuses on a pull approach. This approach means that nothing is made until a customer orders it. Achieving this requires great flexibility and incredibly short cycle times of design, production, and delivery of the product or service.
When thinking about this part of lean, it calls to mind those persuasive appeals that are only built from the agenda of the persuader and tend to be “pushy.” A pull approach, in the context of public speaking, would be to elicit information from the customer or client. The more information one has about the needs, values, and concerns of a client, the more one can tailor a persuasive message for maximum effect.
This idea explains the act of continuously removing the root causes of poor quality and waste, always striving for perfection in the process of creating and delivering products and services.
As with any skill-set, more learning, refining, and practice are always helpful. Striving to create and deliver effective persuasive appeals that motivate people to change what they do, or what they think, is both an art and a science.
Applying lean thinking to persuasive appeals is another example of the utility and efficiency of lean. Think about conversations, meetings and presentations on your schedule and how you can implement a lean approach to your persuasive approach.