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Persuasion Techniques

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The art of persuasion is an essential part of rhetoric and good argument. There are different levels of communication. If you simply want basic information because you are in an unfamiliar location, that is one thing. On the other hand, in communication at higher levels you are often engaged in the process of sharing a point of view and attempting to get others to share your point of view. Imagine how many aspects of modern business and commerce, local, national and international politics, education, the arts and every form of industry are dependent on intelligent people making persuasive arguments literally countless times each day. In in class speaker, Mr. John Divine, provided us with a great example of this. Mr. Divine is honed in the necessary art of persuasion due to his vast personal experience, as he performed the art of persuasion for both a living and profession. For many years Mr. Divine was involved in sales for IBM, a multinational consulting and technology company who designs and sells computers and computer hardware and software in addition to offering consultancy in technology. Furthermore, Mr. Divine was involved in the political realm of persuasion; he acted as mayor for the town of Salina. Through his personal experience Mr. Divine has come to be a prolific reserve in terms of information pertaining to persuasion. He has come to learn in what cases persuasion is more likely to be effective, which he kindly shared with our class. He told us about key steps which can lead persuasion to be more effective, in any realm. Each of these steps can be clearly related to fundamental principles of persuasion which we have discussed throughout the discourse of our class. The first step Mr. Divine discussed is forming good relationships with others. He spoke of how it is key to build rapport and trust within any given situation. This thought can be closely related to the Balance Theory, generated by Fritz Heider. In Heider’s theory there are three parts: a person (P), another person (O), and an object (X). Within the theory, commonly referred to as the “P-O-X” theory, each of these parts or elements is linked to each other, forming a triangle. This theory explains how people tend to maintain consistency in patterns of their liking and disliking of one another and of inanimate objects. When patterns of liking and disliking are balanced, structures are stable. When they are imbalanced, structures are unstable and there is pressure to change in the direction that makes them balanced. Heider conceived that people would do their best to make the relationship among these elements balanced in order to be consistent, doing this by building rapport or trust among individuals. We see this theory being employed frequently in both advertising and political campaigns. Due to Mr. Divine’s experience within the political realm, let’s look at how this theory could be implemented within the political world. The book provides us with the example of how politicians seek out endorsements of favored individuals to support their election campaigns. Just like any other politician, Mr. Divine had to do this during his candidacy for mayor. Another key step which Mr. Divine shared with the class is to create a good impression or image for the target, which can be closely linked to the elaboration likelihood model (ELM), more precisely the peripheral route of processing. The elaboration likelihood model, created by Richard E Petty and John T Cacioppo, model attempts to explain how a persuasive message works to change the attitude of the receiver. Furthermore, the model states that there are two routes through which persuasive messages are processed: the central route and the peripheral route. Messages processed through the central route consist of thoughtful consideration of the arguments in the message. Within this route, the receiver carefully dissects and analyzes every angle of the message and evaluates the subject matter of the idea as they actually care about the subject. On the contrary, peripheral route messages focus on practically everything but the message itself, as they are not processed cognitively. The peripheral route of persuasion is successful for messages with low receiver involvement, low receiver motivation, and weak messages. As the book states, when we employ the peripheral route we tend to rely on peripheral cues to help us decide how to respond to a message. Peripheral cues are factors which help us quickly decide how to process the message without having to exert much cognitive energy. They can include things such as source credibility or merely bright colors, a catchy tune, or the attractiveness of the source. Many of times when making a good impression or presenting a good image it is based on mere peripheral cues. It is often said that we judge a book by the cover. Stemming from this, in the case of Mr. Divine’s personal experience it is intricately obvious that presenting a good image and making a good impression comes from those cues such as attractiveness and source credibility. One of my favorite key steps in order to be effective with employing the art of persuasion is that you must be comfortable with hearing no. This step lends itself to the defining characteristics of persuasion. Persuasion needs not to be successful to be considered persuasion. I feel like many people forget this while implementing persuasion. They feel as if in order to be persuading the must be successful in their feat. However, the book provides us with the example of both a television advertisement and politician’s campaign speech. Let’s look at the speech, as this further relates to Mr. Divine’s personal experience. When we view the messages presented to us through a politician’s campaign speech clearly see it as a persuasion as the politician is advocating for us to support him in his endeavors. However, if we choose to not vote for the political candidate when it comes to voting day, we are still aware that an attempt at persuasion was made. The critical factor when it comes to persuasion is that the message is intended as persuasive not that it is successful. In Mr. Divine’s case when he was elected mayor, his campaign speeches were seen by a vast majority of citizens within the Salina area. However, this does not mean that this entirety voted for him in the end. Mr. Divine proved to be a prolific reserve in terms of information pertaining to persuasion while sharing with us the key steps he found necessary in order for persuasion to more likely be effective. He learned these steps and techniques through a large extent of personal experience, as both a politician and businessman. It is clear that these techniques he discussed clearly relate to the fundamental principles of persuasion which we have discussed throughout the discourse of our class. My both learning about ways to implement these principles through Mr. Divine’s speech and seeing the ways in which they work, it is clear to me why so many study persuasion and why it is seen as a necessary art.

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