When you are making a persuasive appeal, your audience might be supportive or opposed, but what about people who simply don’t care? Influencing people who are indifferent and unmotivated requires different tactics.

These are not always people you can ignore, because sometimes you need their support. But the apathetic usually do not even recognize that the issue you are discussing is significant, so your first challenge is to generate concern, a sense of urgency.

If the problem is widespread, emphasize that. Whether you are crafting a written message or a speech, open with a fact, a striking statistic, or an attention-grabbing example that illustrates how extensive the problem is. Perhaps the problem is not yet widespread, but it is a serious issue and could become more complicated if something is not done soon. As in the previous scenario, open with a fact, example, or statistic that conveys the urgency.

Reinforce your point in the body of the message, using different tactics:

  • Ask people about their own behavior. If you are trying to persuade employees to enroll in your corporate wellness program, ask them how often they work out in a week, or ask, “how many people stopped at a fast-food restaurant for breakfast today?”
  • Cite a situation that the audience frequently encounters and then ask, “You know why this happens? Because …” and then lead into your position, and go on to elaborate.
  • If what you are advocating has not occurred yet, use an example of a similar situation that the audience has experienced and say, “The reason that happened is because … ,” or “We need to avoid that by …” and then move into your message.