Persuasive Communication Persuasive Communication is basically communication that is aimed at creating, reinforcing, or changing peoples beliefs or actions. Persuasive communication benefits us in every part of our lives i.e in our relationships and career aspirations. Lawyers, marketers, public relations practitioners, counselors, administrators, politicians, pastors etc thrive on persuasive communication The more you know about persuasion the more likely you are to get what you need in life.
Points to note When you speak to persuade your aim is to get listeners to agree with you. The goal for persuasive communication may be to defend an idea, refute an opponent, sell a product, inspire people to action or to secure employment. Persuasive communicators do not only speak clearly and concisely, they need skills that enable them to affect their listeners attitudes, beliefs or actions
Points to note contd Persuasive communication is ethical Effective and ethical persuasive communicators must not: Juggle statistics Doctor quotations Pass off opinions as facts Pander to prejudice and stereotypes, or Manipulate listeners In other words, persuasive communicators must not take ethical shortcuts to achieve their objectives.
The Challenge of Persuasive Communication Persuasive communication is more challenging than most forms of communication due to the following reasons: It is an ambitious form of communication which demands more audience analysis and adaptation It deals with controversial topics which touch on the listeners deep-seated attitudes, beliefs, philosophies of life and preferences Persuasive communication inevitably faces resistance from the audience In persuasive communication we have to tussle with the listeners
knowledge about the subject and their predisposition towards it. Challenges contd What seems perfectly logical to some listeners may seem wildly irrational to others Despite your expertise, forcefulness and linguistic dexterity you will always get listeners who do not agree with you. In any persuasive communication encounter there are likely to be people who strongly agree with the speaker, the neutral ones and others with strongly antagonistic perspectives Our success in persuasive communication can be premised on
how we successfully tailor our messages to the values, attitudes and beliefs of our audience The essence of persuasion is strategic thinking Methods of Persuasion To foster a better understanding of the methods, we need to reflect on the following questions: What makes a speaker persuasive? Why do listeners accept one speaker and reject another? How can a speaker motivate the audience to
support a particular cause, political candidate or proposition? The methods contd The ancient Greek Philosopher Aristotle grappled with the same questions about 500 years before the birth of Christ. Studies over the years including Aristotles note that there are four main reasons listeners will be persuaded by a speaker. These include: Credibility, which Aristotle labelled Ethos Evidence and reasoning which Aristotle collectively referred
to as Logos, and The capacity to touch the listeners emotions which Aristotle labelled Pathos Credibility or Ethos Credibility refers to the audiences perception of whether the speaker is qualified to speak on a given subject or not. Credibility is influenced by two main factors namely: Competence and Character. Competence refers to how an audience regards a speakers intelligence, expertise, and knowledge of the subject.
Character refers to how an audience regards a speakers sincerity, trustworthiness, and concern for the well being of the audience. NB Credibility is an attitude which exist in the mind of the audience. A persuasive speaker can have high credibility with a given audience and low credibility with another. Types of Credibility There are three main types of credibility: Initial credibility which relates to the credibility of the speaker before he or she starts to speak
Derived credibility which relates to the credibility the speaker acquires during the persuasive speech Terminal credibility which relates to the speakers credibility at the end of the speech. NB A speakers credibility varies from audience to audience and topic to topic. Methods of enhancing credibility Credibility can be enhanced by the following factors: explaining the persuasive speakers competence or expertise on the subject matter
Establishing common ground with the audience. One can not persuade listeners by assaulting their values and rejecting their opinions. Respect the listeners. Show them you have their best interests at heart. Delivering the speech fluently, expressively and with conviction. Using evidence (logos) Evidence consists of supporting material e.g examples, statistics and testimonials to prove the veracity of an argument
Listeners do not fancy unsubstantiated generalisations. Evidence is used to prove or disprove the tenability of an argument. Important tips for using evidence Use specific evidence Use novel evidence, not run of the mill kind of evidence Use evidence from credible sources Make clear the point of your evidence. Use
evidence to prove a particular point. Reasoning (logos) It is the process of drawing a conclusion on the basis of evidence. You can persuade by reasoning from specific instances. This is reasoning that moves from particular facts to a general conclusion We can advance a compelling persuasive message by reasoning from principle. The argument moves from a general principle to a specific conclusion
Causal reasoning seeks to establish the relationship between causes and effects Appealing to emotions (pathos) Appeal to a variety of emotions
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