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How to Persuade Using 3 Hidden Addiction with Tyler Koenig

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
3 min read

About This Talk

This talk is by Tyler Koenig and was recorded on October 16, 2020. You can learn more about Tyler by:

Also mentioned in this presentation:


00:00 Intro
02:27 How to Persuade: 3 Hidden Addictions
15:30 Everyone Needs to Feel Noticed
22:41 Everyone Needs a Scapegoat
32:40 Everyone Needs to Feel Empowered

How You Can Be Really Persuasive

If you want to be more persuasive, you have to understand how people think. In particular, you should focus on what Tyler calls the “hidden addictions.” We all have them, and they’re things we crave and influence the way we make decisions.

You may think of the word “addiction” as being negative, or that focusing on addiction is exploitation. Tyler suggests that these addictions are a little different – more like unconscious desires, or basic needs we have that need to be fulfilled.

And when you don’t fulfill these needs, people will resist you. The opposite is true too, and less resistance equals more sales.

The three hidden addictions are:

  1. Everyone needs to feel noticed and understood
  2. Everyone needs a scapegoat
  3. Everyone needs a sense of power

Everyone Needs to Feel Noticed and Understood

We’re in the b2b space, so we represent a company and we’re speaking to another company. Because of that, we typically appeal to rationality – we give business reasons for why people should follow or buy from us.

Tyler suggests that you need a layer of emotion in your writing, showing someone that you notice and understand them as an individual. One of the ways you can do that is to write in the second person – use the word “you” in your copy. Write directly for your client, not for their company.

Everyone Needs a Scapegoat

Giving someone a scapegoat allows them to shift the blame for their circumstances. It really just gives people reasons why they’re experiencing a problem – it gives them a clear explanation. And having a scapegoat means they’re not at fault for whatever their situation is.

According to Tyler, having a scapegoat helps us make decisions, and helps us admit we have problems that need to be solved. And that’s a good thing if you want to persuade anyone of anything!

Everyone Needs a Sense of Power

People need to feel empowered to make decisions. They need to feel as though they have autonomy and impact the outcome of their lives.

So many times in life, things happen that we can’t control. Perhaps you’re selling to people who have corporate jobs and they want more control. Perhaps you’re speaking to prospects who feel disaffected and unsure of what to do.

One way you can persuade is by giving someone a sense of power so they feel more in control over their lives, and the outcomes they’ll experience.

Here’s an example Tyler shared in his presentation, and it comes from Ramit Sethi:

Notice how Ramit points out important moments in our lives when we don’t necessarily feel “ready.” He contrasts that with the ideas that “you don’t have to be ready” and “you don’t have to be perfect.”

Being stuck in a rut without a clear decision is disempowering. Taking action is empowering. Giving your clients, prospects, and readers the ability to take action is incredibly empowering.