Persuasion: Who, What, To Whom, Essay Example

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Words: 905

Essay

This is an essay, which analyzes the three parts of persuasion. Also, it addresses the issues of who, what and to whom persuasion occurs. Additionally, the characteristics involved and their influence on the participating parties.

Introduction

Persuasion is can be defined as an attempt that is done deliberately by one party so as to influence the behavior and attitudes of another party. It is done in order to achieve the end that is predetermined. The one communicating sends a message to the target party with a hope that the response will be evoked (McDougall, 1960).

Persuasion is divided into three major parts: the persuader, the message and the audience. The persuader is the party which or rather who persuades others. They exhibit certain characteristics, which are mostly emotionally based. These are expertise, trustworthiness, credibility, similarity, likeability and attractiveness. They are perceived to be experts in what they are doing or saying since they have knowledge of what they are saying. Trustworthiness is a character that enables them to make others belief in what they are advocating for. Attractiveness and likeability characters make  persuader amuse others, and through this, he or she can influence others.  Sometimes the ability to become persuaded by someone is influenced by factors such as obedience from superiors or an authoritative figure, or through conformity we are influenced to go along with the group or the majority. Other times we get persuaded because of the characteristic that the persuader has. Credibility of the persuader enables him or her, and his opinions and perspective to be trusted by the audiences, and its impact is that the audience does not show any reluctance in opening themselves to persuasions.

People usually respond to those with persuasive characteristics because they make the audience feel comfortable the persuader and also good about themselves and use persuasion techniques such as foot in door, reciprocity, low ball and door in the face among others. The characteristics also prevent the audience from forming a wall of resistance to what the persuader says or does. They also capture the attention of the audience and stirs up the emotions inside the audience making them respond well to the persuader. When an unattractive, angry, or noncredible person, was trying to persuade us, we would not get persuaded at all, or the likelihood of being persuaded would be small. This is because of the characteristics that they posses, we would not get attracted to them. Therefore, we would not pay attention to what they say, and a wall of resistance would be build towards them and their perspectives. Therefore, it is important for a persuader to posses the necessary traits.

The second part of persuasion is the message or the “what” of the persuasion. The message that is contained in persuasion contains attributes that make it different from other messages. These attributes include emotion, one sided and two sided message, framing, narratives and rational appeals, sleeper effect. They influence us differently for example, emotional appeals are meant to manipulate the audience feelings and results to them acting in accordance to their feelings. Rational appeals on the other hand, rely on logical facts. By the provision and evaluation of the evidence in the message, audience is easily persuaded. The way the message is framed either positively or negatively determines the extent to which it is going to be scrutinized and in turn the persuasion effect. Positively framed messages have more influence of persuading one in showing one the desirable consequences of complying. A sleeper effect, is known to be a phenomenon, where a message that was originally discounted due to other factors like the credibility of the source begins to become more persuasive with time. Its significance is that it changes the attitude of people towards the message (Allen & Preiss, 1998).

The last part of persuasion is the audience. Not all audience is persuaded the same way. Some are easily persuaded than others. Audiences also show certain characteristics with regard to persuasion. These are their culture, gender, self esteem. These characteristics play a major role in determining the influence an individual will get through persuasion. For examples females tend to be persuaded more by emotional messages than males. Culture also affects the audience’s view of perception. Different perspectives originate from the different cultures. Self esteem of an individual again affects how he or she would be persuaded. People with high self esteem are not easily persuaded unlike those with low self esteem.

The elaborate likelihood method is a theory of persuasion which explains the two routes to persuasion named peripheral route and central route. Through the central route, the relationship between the persuader, the message, and the audience is explained. From the literature Social Psychology in Depth: Word of Mouth and Persuasion, it is illustrated how the two interact with each other. T he word of mouth is a phenomenon where information is passed from one person to another orally. Its effects can be attributed to the medium used. A face to face word of mouth is more effective in persuasion than a printed one.

In conclusion, everyone is faced with persuasion in their life, one should not be mislead by persuasion into doing things. They should be knowledgeable enough to make their own correct decisions

References

Allen, M., & Preiss, W. (1998). Persuasion: advances through meta-analysis. Cresskill, N.J.: Hampton Press.

Keefe, Daniel. (2002). Persuasion: theory and research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

McDougall, W. (1960).  An introduction to social psychology. London: Methuen.

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