Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs isn’t just for psych students: it’s a handy framework for public speakers to use to figure out how to persuade their listeners. It states (among other things) that different people will be motivated by different needs at different times. A pitch appealing to a sense of patriotism or moral duty may work with some customers, but not others. It may even work with with certain customers one month but fail to move those same customers a month later. As people’s needs are met (or no longer met), they will present different levers that you can use to motivate them.

The diagram of Maslow’s Hierarchy I presented in class is available on Wikipedia. You can also read another instructor’s take on Maslow and persuasion here.

Of course, all you really need is a little INXS:

Advertisements