The Role of Logic In Influence

In a world where people are driven primarily by emotions, logic does have its place.

I’ve read tons of books on sales and dedicated most of my life to mastering the art of selling. Many sales experts or guru’s claim that every decision that we make is primarily an emotional one and that logic is used later to justify that decision. This is true. Even the most logical decisions are driven by emotion. Take the decision to not stand in front of a truck going 60 mph. While it may appear that this is a logical decision because you don’t want to get hurt or even die, it is the emotion of fear that is ultimately driving that decision.

Here is what most of the gurus don’t talk about…. Some people like to think they make decisions logically like “thinkers” for example. These people are not strayed by emotional arguments. They like hard data and facts that support a particular point of view. But this desire to make decisions logically is still driven by the emotion to want to be logical. Therefore, when persuading these types of people, it’s important to appear to appeal to the logical side of their brains but keep in mind that you are still triggering emotions within them.

Emotions are essentially what fuel the world. Emotions are what create love, hate, war, life, death and just about everything else that we do but make no mistake, logic does play a role in the emotional experience.  And therefore, you must always remember to balance tapping into logic and emotion when influencing certain people.

People are definitely more likely to believe what you say, based on logic, but ultimately it is their emotion that will move them to take action.  Many different studies have shown that more than 90% of the decisions that we make are emotionally driven.  Yes, we use logic afterwards to justify our actions and why we did certain things, but ultimately it is emotion that prompts us to first take action.

When using emotion to guide behaviors or thought processes, you can sometimes first engage people using logic, and then tap into the emotion to get them to take action.  For example, if I wanted to persuade you to buy a car- but it was a $250,000 Ferrari -which you know logically you cannot afford, the fact is that we will never even get to the influence process, because you’ve already made a logical decision that it would not even be worth it to speak with me.

Back to my point, human beings like logic in some cases. And in those cases, it’s extremely valuable. For example, when we are trying to draw conclusions based on evidence that’s been given to others, we use logic. In fact, for an argument to even make sense or to even be worth speaking about it has to be true and valid which means there has to be some level of logic involved.

Once all of that has been established, then we can move into the emotional part of how this works.  There are various types of logic that you can use to influence someone and one of my favorites is analogies.  Basically, an analogy is when you reconstruct your point using an example of how your point makes sense, but it’s done using a completely different situation.  The reason why I like analogies so much is because they enable me to get to the point fast and it opens up a new perspective for the person to understand what I’m talking about.

One of the first rules of influence is that the audience must understand what you’re saying.  And often times, just repeating your point over and over again doesn’t do the job.  If you can create a different scenario with a similar meaning, chances are your audience will be able to see things in a different way and ultimately agree with you.

Statistics are another great way to use logic to persuade someone. People love statistics.  Statistics prove that a general number of people believe, act or behave in a certain way and what that leads to is one of the mental triggers that will talk a little talk about in a little while called social validation. When people see that a majority of other people are thinking or acting in a certain way, they assume first that it must be right or it must be correct and secondly, it supports your case.

If you are referencing a statistic which indicates that a certain event has taken place numerous times, it brings the logic to the table which you can use as evidence in your presentation.  Haven’t you ever seen the book cover that says “number one bestseller” or “over one million copies sold”? This tells the customer that many other people have bought this book and subconsciously sends a message that says the product must be good if so many people purchased it.

When using logic to influence, there a couple of different rules that I like to follow:

Rule #1 – Third Party Evidence Is A Must – First, whenever you use evidence, use it from a third-party expert rather than presenting it from yourself. Using a third-party expert or third-party opinion shows the person you’re trying to influence that it’s not just you that believes what you’re saying, but someone with  knowledge and expertise feels the same way.  This is why testimonials from others (particularly experts) are so powerful.

Rule # 2 – Use Up To Date Information – Always use information that is updated, new and relevant to the times. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read where the author is trying to make a point and he or she will bring up a study of something that took place 10 years ago.  It automatically turns me off and makes me that he or she is probably not using the newer studies because the consensus has changed since then, and they don’t want to counteract the point that they’re trying to make.

Rule # 3 – Use Evidence That Your Audience Can Relate To – Always make sure that whatever evidence you’re going to use is congruent to your audience’s belief system. This goes back to one of the very first rules which is knowing your audience. You don’t ever want to make a presentation using evidence that is not in line with your target’s beliefs because doing so may offend them or completely turn them away to the point where they will no longer be receptive to your presentation.  Logic is how we persuade people on a conscious level, but emotion it is the method which we persuade people on a subconscious level.  It takes place in ways that people don’t even realize are happening.  Human beings formulate emotions based on how we feel about certain things.  We generate these feelings based on a number of different factors.  Most of it has to do with past experiences, upbringing and society.

Those three things contribute to how we feel about certain things and how we develop morals, beliefs and values.  When something is in line with our morals beliefs and values, it positively impacts us, strikes our emotion and moves us to take action.  When something is opposite to our beliefs or morals, we will take action, but in a different way; usually in the opposite direction to avoid whatever is being presented.




  • Dave says:

    Very insightful, I like it

  • aditya says:

    The rules seem to comply with the need for clear communications. should definitely create an impact for the audience to respond to.

  • dhaval says:

    good!! and i belive that logical level save one”s life while emotion part can make harm

  • Yusuf says:

    Logical reasoning is the clinical way of justifying something to an individual… and emotional reasoning is the colourful way… depends if the target is a clinical or colourfully-receptive crowd.. 🙂

  • mikerosss says:

    I just added your blog site to my blogroll, I pray you would give some thought to doing the same.

  • masitza says:

    logic should always counteract emotion.. nice stuff

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