Persuasion is an act or process of presenting arguments to move, motivate, or change your audience. Aristotle taught that rhetoric, or the art of public speaking, involves the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion (Covino, W. A. and Jolliffe, D. A., 1995). In the case of President Obama, he may have appealed to your sense of duty and national values. In persuading your parents to lend you the car keys, you may have asked one parent instead of the other, calculating the probable response of each parent and electing to approach the one who was more likely to adopt your position (and give you the keys). Persuasion can be implicit or explicit and can have both positive and negative effects. In this chapter we’ll discuss the importance of ethics, as we have in previous chapters, when presenting your audience with arguments in order to motivate them to adopt your view, consider your points, or change their behavior.
- 14.1: What Is Persuasion?
- Persuasion is an act or process of presenting arguments to move, motivate, or change your audience. Persuasion is the act of presenting arguments for change, while motivation involves the force to bring about change. The concept of measurable gain assesses audience response to a persuasive message.
- 14.2: Principles of Persuasion
- A persuasive message can succeed through the principles of reciprocity, scarcity, authority, commitment and consistency, consensus, and liking.
- 14.3: Functions of the Presentation to Persuade
- A persuasive speech may stimulate thought, convince, call to action, increase consideration, or develop tolerance of alternate perspectives.
- 14.4: Meeting the Listener’s Basic Needs
- In this section we will examine why we communicate, illustrating how meeting the listener’s basic needs is central to effective communication. It’s normal for the audience to consider why you are persuading them, and there is significant support for the notion that by meeting the audience’s basic needs, whether they are a customer, colleague, or supervisor, you will more effectively persuade them to consider your position.
- 14.5: Making an Argument
- In this section, we will briefly discuss the classic form of an argument, a more modern interpretation, and finally seven basic arguments you may choose to use. Imagine that each is a tool in your toolbox, and that you want to know how to use each effectively. Know that people who try to persuade you, from telemarketers to politics, usually have these tools at hand.
- 14.6: Speaking Ethically and Avoiding Fallacies
- Speaking to persuade should not involve manipulation, coercion, false logic, or other unethical techniques.
- 14.7: Sample Persuasive Speech
- Here is a generic, sample speech in an outline form with notes and suggestions.
- 14.8: Elevator Speech
- An elevator speech is to oral communication what a Twitter message (limited to 280 characters) is to written communication. It has to engage and interest the listener, inform and/or persuade, and be memorable (Howell, L., 2006). An elevator speech is a presentation that persuades the listener in less than thirty seconds, or around a hundred words. It takes its name from the idea that in a short elevator ride (of perhaps ten floors), carefully chosen words can make a difference.