The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is 'Framing'?

Framing is the act of emphasizing the critical details of your offering and deemphasizing the others.

You can't include every detail of your message. We rely on framing because we have limited time and limited attention.

By emphasizing certain benefits of your offer, you can maximize persuasive power.

Framing is not the same as lying. Don't leave out information that your customers have the right to know: being less-than-truthful will decrease customer satisfaction and permanently harm your Reputation.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Framing'

In a famous experiment conducted by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, participants were asked to make a decision about administering medical treatment to a sick population of 600 people. Participants in the study were given two options: Treatment A would save 200 lives. Treatment B had a 33% chance of saving all 600 people and a 66% possibility of saving no one.

Treatment A and Treatment B are mathematically identical-statistically, there's no difference in the expected outcome. The results, however, revealed a clear psychological preference: 72% of participants chose Treatment A, while 28% of the participants chose Treatment B.

The experiment was then repeated with two different treatment options. Treatment C would result in 400 deaths. Treatment D had a 33% chance that no one would die, but a 66% probability that all 600 will die. Participants overwhelmingly preferred Treatment D, 78% to 22%.

What's interesting to note is that Treatments A and C are also statistically identical, but A was overwhelmingly preferred while C was not. Contemplating lives saved with fatalities significantly altered the preferences of the people making decisions, even though the expected outcomes were exactly the same. We'll explore one of the reasons for this preference in Loss Aversion, but for now, let's focus on how the emphasis of the various messages changed the results.

Framing is the act of emphasizing the details that are critically important while de-emphasizing things that aren't, either by minimizing certain facts or leaving them out entirely. Proper use of framing can help you present your offer persuasively while honoring your customer's time and attention.

Framing is a natural part of communication: some form of compression in any message is inevitable. It's simply not practical to include all of the facts and context when communicating with others-we emphasize some details and leave out others to save time. We Frame because we have to: otherwise, it would take a huge amount of time to communicate even the simplest information to other people. It would take two hours to order a pizza, as you told the person at the other end of the line not only the size and toppings you want, but how you got their phone number and why on this particular evening you're in the mood for a slice as opposed to, say, General Tso's Chicken.

Since Framing is an ever-present part of communication, it pays to be conscious of it. By being mindful of what you're emphasizing and what you're minimizing, you can communicate the benefits of your offer to your prospects in a clear and concise way, which maximizes your persuasive power.

Framing is not the same as lying or being deceitful. Honesty is always the best policy, and not just from a moral perspective. Misrepresenting your offer may net a few more sales in the short term, but it dramatically increases the probability that your customer's expectations will be violated, decreasing their satisfaction and permanently harming your Reputation. (See The Expectation Effect.)

Using framing to your advantage will allow you to communicate the benefits of your offer to your Probable Purchasers persuasively, as long as you don't leave out information that your customers have a right to know.

Questions About 'Framing'


"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and philosopher


From Chapter 2:

Marketing


https://personalmba.com/framing/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

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