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Dr. Rhoads speaks extensively throughout the United States. If you're interested in having Rhoads speak to your group, please contact Working Psychology. Descriptions of five popular presentations follow:

  • Influencing Hostile Audiences
  • Influencing the Legislator
  • 10 Influence Campaign Errors
  • Framing: The Pre-Persuasion Battleground
  • Narrative: Influence Stealth Technology

Influencing Hostile Audiences

Hostile audiences don't agree with you, they're suspicious of your motives, they challenge your statements. They may view your group negatively, may have had bad experiences with your products and services, or may dislike what you stand for. As audiences become increasingly politicized, tribalized, organized, and vocal, the need for effective persuasion becomes acute. Influencing Hostile Audiences is one of Rhoads' most frequently requested presentations. It outlines seven culture-spanning tactics that work effectively even with difficult-to-persuade groups. The presentation examines when to use which tactics, and provides evidence of their effectiveness for audiences who are opposed to the communicator. Participants learn:

  • What makes even hostile audiences vulnerable to persuasion.
  • How to induce perceptions of similarity among unsympathetic listeners.
  • How to make and when to use one-sided vs. two-sided arguments.
  • Four “bias-busting” methods that build trustworthiness quickly.
  • The conditions under which humans are most likely to conform.
  • Corporations
  • Nonprofits
  • Political Entities
  • Government & Defense
  • Defense Contractors
  • Law Enforcement
  • 90 minutes to 3 hours.

Influencing the Legislator

Upward influence is difficult! Especially when you're trying to persuade busy, powerful lawmakers to support your cause. This presentation is for political and grassroots activists who need to influence their legislators. It covers:

  • Establishing a relationship with the legislator.
  • Finding points of similarity.
  • Guarding and enhancing your advocacy's credibility.
  • How the legislator is likely to think about your issue, and the "triggers" that will place him or her in your corner (or the opposition's).
  • Necessary checklists to review before approaching the legislator.

This presentation is usually delivered in conjunction with Amy Showalter of The Showalter Group, whose firm specializes in grassroots and PAC organization, communication, and effectiveness.

  • Corporate Advocates
  • Grassroots Members
  • Agents attempting to effect "upward influence."
  • 90 minutes to 2 hours.

10 Influence Campaign Errors

This is a social scientist’s view of where things usually go wrong in influence campaigns. This presentation is particularly useful for political professionals, grassroots activists, social-action experts, and others who execute campaigns that must persuade large numbers of people to change their behavior. It examines:

  • 1) Old-school vs. new-school persuasion;
  • 2) Powerful tools of persuasion that campaign managers often miss;
  • 3) The role of “Magic bullets:” those elusive one-time persuasive messages that can be dramatically successful;
  • 4) How to determine “current audience position,” and why it's vital to do so;
  • 5) The effectiveness of remote influence technologies, such as email and websites;
  • 6) The function of personality in successful persuasion;
  • 7) The surprising role of evidence, reason, and powerful arguments in changing—or not changing—the human mind;
  • 8) Three types of influence agents, and why one is superior;
  • 9) Easy vs. good segmentation practices; and
  • 10) Influence campaign planning—how it should be approached, what’s often missed, and why it's frequently avoided.

This is a fast-paced presentation that moves quickly from topic to topic, providing more breadth than depth.

  • Campaign Managers & Staff
  • Corporations
  • Nonprofits
  • Political Entities
  • Government
  • Social Action Engineers
  • 90 minutes to 3 hours.

Framing: the Pre-persuasion Battleground

One of Rhoads’ most popular presentations. Much of influence is accomplished through “pre-persuasion” techniques, which include the framing of a debate before the debate itself begins. A good frame makes successful influence much more "invisible." Being able to choose the correct frame is like a battlefield commander who is able to choose the time and location of an attack, with all the advantages that such control affords. Attention is paid to real-world framing battles, types of frames, reframes, and frame construction. Examples range from Michael Moore to OJ Simpson to Rush Limbaugh, and a framing checklist concludes the presentation. Vital information for waging mass-media based campaigns, but also useful for interpersonal influence. Workshop versions of this presentation (see Workshops) include framing exercises and the administration of a values inventory. (You can sample some of the content of this presentation at the academic: framing portion of this website, but the presentation does not follow the website closely. The presentation is less academic and more applied.)

  • Corporate & Nonprofit Public Relations
  • Political Entities
  • Campaign Managers & Staff
  • Attorneys
  • Marketers
  • Sales
  • Government
  • Defense
  • Especially helpful during the campaign planning stage and during mid-course corrections, particularly if reframing is required.
  • 90 minutes to 3 hours.

Narrative: Influence Stealth Technology

Are your employees or members able to tell compelling stories that promote your cause? Recent research has shown that stories are strongly persuasive. However, people are much less likely to recognize narratives as an attempt to persuade, making stories an effective “stealth technology” of influence. The use of narrative is appropriate for situations where overt advocacy would be inappropriate or rejected out of hand by a hostile audience. This presentation explains why and how narrative works to persuade below the level of conscious awareness. Startling examples of the persuasiveness of known fiction is presented. This module ends with suggestions on how to create narrative themes for persuasive effect. In workshop form, exercises encourage participants to create compelling stories for their advocacy. This module attains a high level of audience response. Appropriate for all audiences.

  • Corporate Employees
  • Nonprofit Members
  • Public Relations Staff
  • Political Staff
  • Salespeople
  • Very helpful for resistant or hostile audiences
  • 90 minutes to 3 hours.

Custom Presentations

Custom Presentations may be arranged for a variety of influence disciplines:

  • Politicians, lobbyists, & social action groups;
  • Commercial Marketing;
  • Social Marketing (nonprofit, social action, etc.);
  • Public Relations;
  • Mass Media;
  • Collections;
  • Law Enforcement & Military
  • Defense Contractors.

Please contact Working Psychology for further information.

Clients may request a Quicktime video clip sampler on CD-ROM for previewing...

Copyright © 1997-2004 by Kelton Rhoads, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.

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