4 June 2019 By Ridhwan Yusoff, 
Certified TetraMap Facilitator, Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group, Singapore 

Today one of the greatest dilemmas facing man stems from one question we ask ourselves at the weekend when we go out with our family- WHAT SHOULD WE EAT?

The average family takes about 45 minutes to decide.

Of course, what drives this dynamic is the plethora of options available to us today. When you go to the supermarket, the choices go on and on. When you walk along the streets, the billboards scream for your attention. Every brand is screaming messages that they are the best, they are №1. You get a feeling that this battle is never-ending.

So how can you win the battle of persuasion?

By standing out and emphasizing your differences. Your uniqueness makes you special. It presents you an opportunity to add value. To be remembered. To be persuaded.

The TetraMap tool gives us the ability to do just that in a matter of seconds. Utilising the four elements of nature and the metaphorical representation of Earth, Air, Water and FIRE, it gives us a handle on how we can leverage communication cues to build an instant connection, communicate succinctly and leave an imprint.

By looking at four lenses of persuasion, it gives every person a quick hack to persuade, influence and impact. To be In your Element.

The Lens of Earth

Earth,  like a mountain is firm. 

Earth persuades by being direct and decisive. By facing the challenge head-on. To zoom in on what matters most. To quickly uncover the underlying concerns of the audience and being forthright with it.

To use EARTH: Be direct and straightforward. Share Results. Sell Effectiveness.


The Lens of Air

AIR, like the wind is clear. 

Air persuades by having a logical argument and a scientific approach. It uses numbers, statistics and data to show the evidence. It gives structure and order to things. It wins others over by being thorough, precise and meticulous. This makes quality and perfection a by-product.

To use AIR: Be Thorough and Systematic, Share Evidence. Sell Efficiency.


The Lens of Water

WATER, like a lake is calm. 

Water persuades by being consistent and reliable. It is the voice of support who will always be there for you even if you fall. Water brings loyalty, patience and a sense of harmony to all things. Inclusive and caring, water elicits positive emotions that say “We’re all in this together!”

To use WATER: Be reliable and supportive. Share your Inclusiveness. Sell HARMONY.


The Lens of Fire

FIRE like the sun is bright. 

Fire persuades by making a loud entrance. They talk about the future and possibilities. They evangelize hope and desire. They work on positive emotions and focus on fun, joy and excitement. Fire says “Yes We Can!”

To use FIRE: Be positive and expressive.  Share your vision of the future. Sell hope. 

In summary: 
With these cues,  we can navigate through the noisy signals and chaotic messages of a saturated marketplace in order to stand out and deliver value.

We can address the underlying currents, devise systems and plans, include others as part of the community and spark hope that the project of building a better tomorrow, can start today.

BONUS CONTENT: A commercial from Thailand (watch to the end…) 

This commercial cleverly deploys all 4 ELEMENTAL TRIGGERS to persuade the audience. Can you identify where they use the four triggers? 

When you see advertisements, can you identify how they use elemental triggers to persuade the audience in a compelling manner?


I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  

2 - Comments on “Stand Out from the Standard”

  • Ridhwan, I love your blog and I smiled when I saw your “What should we eat” topic because being “the main cook” in the house, it’s one of my “top of mind topics” throughout the week. It certainly requires me to practice all the 4 elements. This is my take on it… Funnily enough, Water element is my first consideration because there is always something that someone doesn’t eat! Murray (husband) doesn’t eat “pig food”, cheese, chilli, it’s a long list), Alysha (daughter), doesn’t eat bacon, pork but loves chilli – list not so long). Earth – dinner needs to be on the table by 7pm, so that’s my deadline. Air kicks in with okay, how much time do I have with everything else I have to do. What’s in the fridge/freezer and what can I cook (with food preferences) in the time that I have, how many dishes can I cook. Mentally create the process in my head regarding what time to start, so I can have dinner ready on time. I love different cruisines and making different dishes (Fire element) but with the above restraints , tends to make the same meals each week. Some of my experiments to expand the family taste buds have ended up in the rubbish (couscous!) , so am more careful now. My best “cooking day” is Friday, when my husband prides himself on cooking and cleaning the dishes – he buys take away/take outs for the family and he brings me a bottle of wine to have with the dinner! Now shopping…. that’s another story!

  • This is so useful for anyone trying to sell, persuade or influence Ridhwan. Something we all do every day, at work and at home. The advert is also fun and made me think about how we make judgements all too easily. Thanks for using your creative flair to highlight this. Nice work, and thanks for sharing!

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