There Are Only 3 Types Of Audience Members. Here’s How To Win Them Over

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No matter where you are or what you’re pitching, chances are if you’re presenting to an audience – whether it’s an audience of 5 or 5,000 – you’re going to encounter one of three types of personalities, says author and speaker Mark Jeffries.

There are the learners, those audience members who want to learn something new or interesting. There are the vacationers, those people who came to the event because, well, it’s better than a day in the office. And then there are the prisoners, those who were required to attend but really don’t want to be there.

“So your job as a presenter is to give the learners what they came for, let the vacationers know they’re not on holiday and get the prisoners to at least uncross their arms,” says Mark.

And the best way to do that, he says, is to use what he calls the BRAINS of influence.

What is the BRAINS of Influence

The BRAINS of Influence is an acronym Mark coined to describe a simple, yet effective, 6-part framework for influencing the people around us. By using this framework you can inspire people to see things your way or get them to do what you ask.

Here’s how Mark breaks BRAINS down:

B stands for Bridging. It’s the “social proof” form of influence that appeals to people who value the opinion and recommendations of friends and people they trust.

“People that love to connect are the bridges,” he says. “And the way to create a bridge is to find someone who is very well connected, have them enjoy the benefits and value of your product or service (so they can tell others).”

R is for Rationalizing. This is for the rational decision-makers, the “black-and-white” thinkers.

“They’re not influenced by fluff,” says Mark. “They just want the facts. If that’s how they make a decision then that’s what you have to give them.”

In other words, don’t try to influence or entertain these folks with story or anecdotes. Give them the data they need to make their decisions. The stories might give a valuable backdrop, but the rational-minded audience member wants the meat to back it up.

A means Assertive. Asserting is all about being self-assured and confident about your message.

“Here’s the rule when it come to being assertive: it’s got to be in their best interest,” Mark says. “There’s a very fine line between being assertive and aggressive, but assertive only works if (what you say to them is) in their best interest.”

He points to Nike’s iconic campaign “Just do it.” That’s being assertive.

I stands for Inspiring. This for the people who get bored with the minutia. They don’t want to know about the process, they want to know how it’s going to end.

“They are driven by the destination not the journey,” Mark says. “You, in many ways, are the journey, and you have to sell the destination.”

N is for Negotiating. It’s about reading the person in front of you and giving them something before they ask for it.

“It’s not negotiating in the traditional sense,” Mark says. “It’s about winning favor early in the transaction and understanding the thing that drives them; giving them the feeling that they just got a bit more than they were expecting.”

S stands for Specializing. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Show that you know what you’re talking about.

“When people see a specialist, they see trust,” Marks points out. “And where there’s trust there’s reliability, and where there’s reliability there’s buyability.”

Everyone’s in Sales

Everyone at some point has to sell their ideas or persuade others to do something they want. In today’s world, the best salespeople are subject matter experts, not old-school, back-slapping, stereotypical sales folks.

Whether you’re an accountant, an engineer or a stay-at-home mom, chances are, at some point, you’ll want someone else to do something.

You’ll be much more successful if you influence (rather than coerce) others to your way of thinking.

“At the end of it, you want everyone to walk out saying what a nice bloke or what a nice woman she was.” Mark says. “I would trust her to the end of the world and back.”