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Using Music to Persuade! Date Posted: 11/10/2004

Jim Speakman’s

Persuasion E-News

Here’s your semi-regular issue of Persuasion E-News.  It’s designed to be read in about 3 minutes and give you a tip or technique that you can use immediately in your work and life to help you get more of what you want more often!


A Quick Thank-You!

Thank you to the Canton CEO Forum and the Jackson/Belden Chamber of Commerce for allowing me the opportunity to speak at their recent meetings.  It’s always exciting to share information with people who are looking for any and every advantage!  If your company or organization is looking for a speaker / trainer, please contact me using any of the phone numbers or email addresses at the bottom of this email.



“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln



Persuasion Secret: Sound/Music

There is a theory that music can change minds.  I believe that music absolutely sets the mood and expectations of what is happening/about to happen.  Don’t agree with the power of this tool? 


Try renting JAWS … play this classic movie during one of the frightening shark scenes … but turn the sound completely down and play that song that Elmo sings!  It takes the fright-power right out of the experience.


Music is powerful and should be used much more in the persuasion process.


Another example of the power of music to set the pace is restaurant chains that will play faster music during their busy times in order to help people to eat faster and to turn tables quicker.  It works!


Restaurants – at least the ones that study this stuff – will also play much slower music in their slower times in order to keep people in their seats (ordering more to drink … and more deserts).  This slower music will actually slow down the conversations and the experience.


So, is there a particular type of music that is most persuasive? … YES … depending on what you want to do.


According to the article in the Akron Beacon Journal (11/9/04), “Holiday Tunes Go Techno”, music is being used by holiday retailers to encourage shoppers to buy more this year!


Music does persuade!


Stores like Old Navy, Red Baron, Pottery Barn and many others are hoping that the traditional Christmas music that is remixed with a strong pulsating beat will not only lure younger customers, but also put them in the mood to spend!


This is no accident.  The power of music to persuade and to change and shape attitude, mood, and emotion is classic.


Have you ever stopped to wonder why you listen to that favorite song of yours over and over again?  We don’t do that with everything … just music.  Once we read a book, we don’t read it 6, 7, 8, or 20 times!  But we will listen to our favorite song over and over again … why?


Music has a deep biological connection to our bodies and brains.  We are driven by music.  From birth we are driven by the pulsating sounds of our Mother’s heartbeat.  That sound is taken over by the rhythmic sounds of the clothes dryer or the moving car.  There is something deeply satisfying about the beat of music that can move us to action, or get us to relax. 


Think about the sporting event that using intimidating music to introduce the starting line up of the home team.  Remember the way the Chicago Bulls were introduced?  Lights out.  Thunderous music.  It set the mood and attitude of the evening.  Intimidation was the name of the game … and music was a very large part of it.  How large?  Well, think about what that scene would have been like if everything else was the same (crowd, lighting, etc), but instead of the music they played … the theme from Elmo came over the sound system!  What impact would that have had?


Ok, so you might be asking … “That sounds great, but how can I use music to persuade other people?”

Great question.  You actually have more control than you think you might.  A simple radio/CD player on your office desk is a great place to start. You can control the sound atmosphere around you.  This way, when people come to visit you, they will hear your music (classical, or rock … slow, or fast, etc) … these things have an effect. 


Also, when you are taking someone someplace in the car with you (business lunch meeting, or friend to a store), don’t just allow anything to play on the radio … you again have control over the sound atmosphere … use it!  Choose wisely based on the desired behavior you are trying to bring about in the other person.



Knowing that I study persuasion … what’s your situation?  Who would you like to persuade?  Would you like an unbiased opinion complete with some fresh ideas to help you get your way?  Send me an email … I’ll share what I know with you through this newsletter so everyone can benefit (of course, I’ll keep you confidential).


Need a Speaker for your company or organization?

Check out my website:  I have 19 topics that I can customize for your particular situation.  If you’re interested in rates, dates, and topics, send me an email to


Have a great week!


Jim Speakman



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