Presuppositions are statements or assumptions that are made within a larger context or conversation. In the context of persuasion, presuppositions are used to frame a conversation in a way that leads the listener to a certain conclusion or desired outcome.
By using presuppositions effectively, speakers can influence the way their message is received and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
- Embedding presuppositions within statements – By embedding presuppositions within statements, speakers can lead their listeners to a certain conclusion without overtly stating it. For example, instead of saying “I know you’re interested in buying this product,” a speaker might say “So, when you’re ready to move forward with this purchase, let me know.” The second statement assumes that the listener is interested in buying the product and frames the conversation in a way that leads the listener towards that conclusion.
- Using presuppositions to establish authority – By using presuppositions that assume authority or expertise, speakers can establish themselves as credible sources of information. For example, a speaker might say “As someone with over 20 years of experience in this field, I can tell you that this is the best solution for your needs.” The presupposition here is that the speaker is an authority on the topic and that their recommendation is the best option.
- Anticipating objections – By using presuppositions that anticipate objections, speakers can proactively address concerns that their listeners may have. For example, a speaker might say “I understand that some people may have concerns about the price, but when you consider the long-term benefits, it’s really a smart investment.” The presupposition here is that some people may have concerns about the price, but it’s framed in a way that assumes the listener will ultimately see the value in the product.
By using presuppositions to frame conversations in a way that leads listeners to a certain conclusion or desired outcome, speakers can increase their persuasive power and achieve greater success in a variety of settings.
A few more quick examples:
- Assume the sale: One common technique is to assume the sale in your language, even before the prospect has agreed to buy. For example, instead of saying “Would you like to purchase this product?” you could say “How would you like to pay for this product?” This presupposes that the customer will buy and makes the sale feel more like a natural conclusion to the conversation.
- Frame the conversation around benefits: Presuppositions can be used to frame a conversation around the benefits of your product or service, rather than the features. For example, you could say “When you start using our product, you’ll notice a significant increase in productivity.” This presupposes that the customer will start using the product and that the benefits will be noticeable.
- Use hypotheticals: Another technique is to use hypotheticals to lead the prospect to the desired outcome. For example, you could say “When you’re using our product, imagine how much easier your workday will be.” This presupposes that the customer will use the product and that it will make their workday easier.
- Assume the prospect’s motivation: Presuppositions can also be used to assume the prospect’s motivation for buying. For example, you could say “So, when you’re ready to take your business to the next level, our product is the perfect solution.” This presupposes that the prospect wants to take their business to the next level and that your product is the solution they need.
- Frame objections positively: Finally, presuppositions can be used to frame objections in a positive light. For example, you could say “I understand that you have some concerns about the price, but let me show you how our product is worth the investment.” This presupposes that the prospect has concerns about the price but also assumes that they will be interested in seeing how the product is worth the investment.