Topic 3: The art of persuasion: Propaganda, advertising and art

effective persuasion

You have all the flexibility you want—you can cook anything in the world as long as you know how and have the time and desire to do it. When you arrive at the supermarket, you find all these overstuffed aisles with cryptic single-word headings like “sundries” and “ethnic food” and “condiments.” These are the menus on typical computer interfaces. The question is whether salt is under condiments or ethnic food or near the potato chip section. There are surrounding racks and wall spaces, much as our software interfaces now have support buttons, tool bars, and lines around the perimeters. Now after you have collected everything, you still need to put it all together in the correct order to make a meal. If you’re a good cook, your meal will probably be good.

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It’s far better to present your position with the finesse and reserve of a lion tamer, who engages his “partner” by showing him the legs of a chair. In other words, effective persuaders don’t begin the process by giving their colleagues a clear target in which to set their jaws. Part of crafting effective public-health messages is finding ways to avoid restricting people’s choices outright. Although health-related mandates are sometimes necessary during a pandemic, they can provoke a backlash and complicate further efforts to stem the spread of disease. Some businesses, for example, have rebelled against enforced closures during the pandemic. Instead, behavioural economist Varun Gauri at the think tank the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, advocates for a ‘nudge’ strategy that makes doing the responsible thing require very little effort.

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According to some experts, persuasion is the most important skill you need to succeed in business. Whether approaching investors, partners or customers, you need to listen first to find a personal intersection of interest with your idea. If the person is creative and intuitive, don’t hit them with a logical and analytical message. Establish a relationship or do some homework first if you can.


A person’s anchor point is considered to be the center of their latitude of acceptance, the position that is most acceptable to them. Social judgment theory suggests that when people are presented with an idea or any kind of persuasive proposal, their natural reaction is to immediately seek a way to sort the information subconsciously and react to it. We evaluate the information and compare it with the attitude we already have, which is called the initial attitude or anchor point. You may tell me that your focus is on the content of your message. However, you fail to realize that the way you deliver your message to your recipient affects the content of your message.

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Animated characters had been used before only in software for children, making their use in adult environments hard to envision. But Fries and Linnett felt their proposed product had both dynamism and complexity, and they remained convinced that consumers would eagerly buy such programs. They also believed that the home-computer software market—largely untapped at the time and with fewer software standards—would be open to such innovation. Another example of how to establish credibility comes from Microsoft. Finally, Smith launched some small but highly visible initiatives to demonstrate his expertise and capabilities. For example, he was concerned about slow growth in the company’s mortgage business and the loan officers’ resulting slip in morale.

That way, he argues, residents will understand better how health departments work to protect people and will be more likely to heed official guidelines about how to prevent a pandemic from taking hold. “People know the police station, the fire station, the mayor’s office. But once people start to feel saturated with information, the power of public-health messaging can start to wane. When people received informational messages about how COVID-19 spreads, these messages decreased trips outside the home only for those who had started socially distancing in the past couple of weeks11. For those who had already been practising distancing for a month or more, the messages had almost no effect, and even decreased adherence to distancing guidelines. There’s considerable research supporting the conclusion that listening is key to being persuasive.


One study3 that gauged the effectiveness of vaccine lotteries found that vaccination rates were not significantly higher in lottery states than in non-lottery ones. Guaranteed cash payouts were somewhat more likely to encourage vaccination, a meta-analysis showed4. Still, the evidence on incentive-based persuasion “is pretty disheartening in general”, Milkman says. Some persuasion strategies that make intuitive sense, however, do not seem to have the desired result. After the first COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out in the United States, local and state officials invested millions in the idea that waving money at people would convince them to get the jabs. Leaders tried straight cash incentives, whereby people collected a set sum for getting vaccinated, as well as lotteries, in which vaccinated people were entered into a draw to win a cash prize.


They have also consistently shown strong emotional character and integrity; that is, they are not known for mood extremes or inconsistent performance. Indeed, people who are known to be honest, steady, and reliable have an edge when going into any persuasion situation. Because their relationships are robust, they are more apt to be given the benefit of the doubt.

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After delivery, the teacher had to up the voltage to the next notch. The catch to this experiment was that the teacher did not know that the learner was an actor faking the pain sounds he heard and was not actually being harmed. The experiment was being done to see how obedient we are to authority. The conclusion was that people are willing to bring pain upon others when they are directed to do so by some authority figure. An audience is likely to distort incoming information to fit into their unique latitudes.

Moreover, Smith looked to the branch managers because he believed that they could increase his expertise about marketplace trends and also help him test his own assumptions. Thus, for the next three months, he visited every branch in his region of Ontario, Canada—135 in all. During each visit, he spent time with branch managers, listening to their perceptions of the bank’s strengths and weaknesses.

The Elaboration likelihood model forms a new facet of the route theory. It holds that the probability of effective persuasion depends on how successful the communication is at bringing to mind a relevant mental representation, which is the elaboration likelihood. Thus if the target of the communication is personally relevant, this increases the elaboration likelihood of the intended outcome and would be more persuasive if it were through the central route. Communication which does not require careful thought would be better suited to the peripheral route. This conditioning is thought to affect how people view certain products, knowing that most purchases are made on the basis of emotion. Just like you sometimes recall a memory from a certain smell or sound, the objective of some ads is solely to bring back certain emotions when you see their logo in your local store.

Persuasion methods are also sometimes referred to as persuasion tactics or persuasion strategies. A good tip is to identify the who the decision maker in the group you are addressing is and to tailor your communication to that person. Of course, carry the rest of the group along as you go.

The evidence of 1,000 people responding positively to your message is much more effective than you alone pitching. The good news for communicators is that Aristotle believed that persuasion can be learned. In fact, according to Hall, he was viewed as “quite threatening” to the political class in ancient Greece when he made the tools of rhetoric available to the masses. They wanted to keep the formula a closely held secret. He championed the idea that a person’s ability to speak and write well, and to use rhetorical devices to change another’s perspective, could unleash human potential and maximize happiness.

Repetition is the key to getting people’s attention.

As a result, she knew all the senior people at Microsoft and had hired many of the people who would be deciding on her product. For the last 12 years as both an academic and as a consultant, I have been studying 23 senior business leaders who have shown themselves to be effective change agents. Specifically, I have investigated how these individuals use language to motivate their employees, articulate vision and strategy, and mobilize their organizations to adapt to challenging business environments. But researchers stress that better containment is possible — thanks to growing knowledge about how to promote coordinated public action.

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At various times in your job, you need to persuade employees, clients, co-workers, or your boss about your plan. The Art of Persuasion is a book written by Kristen Felder for the collision repair professionals. There are few things that are more powerful than being able to persuade others that your argument is correct. This power of persuasion allows you to get more of what you want while also helping others get more of what they want. Art as Propaganda – visual art and images are used widely to persuade, educate and convince at target audience.

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When presented with two alternatives, our brains tend to automatically choose one of the alternatives to the exclusion of all other alternatives. For example, parents can give their children the illusion of control by setting up the following alternate response question, “We are going to lunch. Do you want to go to McDonald’s or Burger King for a kid’s meal? If you want to increase the probability that people will do what they say, get a verbal commitment. People who make verbal commitments feel obligated to follow through on their commitments.

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17.Communicating Clearly is Key- If you can’t explain your concept or point of view to an 8th grader, such that they could explain it with sufficient clarity to another adult, it’s too complicated. The art of persuasion lies in simplifying something down to its core, and communicating to others what they really care about. This extends beyond our conscious decisions to our unconscious behaviors.

  • Persuasive skills in fact, go beyond the concerns of making people see your vision but also bolster organizational strength and are crucial for influencing the direction your company takes.
  • In addition, she generously shared credit for good ideas and provided staff with exposure to the company’s senior executives.
  • It is more often about leading someone into taking certain actions of their own, rather than giving direct commands.
  • I believe they have much to teach all of us who want to get the country back on track, protect liberal democracy, heal our divides, and change what needs changing—if that is work you are ready and willing to do.
  • With credibility established and a common frame identified, persuasion becomes a matter of presenting evidence.

Furthermore, it must be seen as an sg&a definition form that requires commitment and practice, especially as today’s business contingencies make persuasion more necessary than ever. Effective persuasion is a difficult and time-consuming proposition, but it may also be more powerful than the command-and-control managerial model it succeeds. As AlliedSignal’s CEO Lawrence Bossidy said recently, “The day when you could yell and scream and beat people into good performance is over. Today you have to appeal to them by helping them see how they can get from here to there, by establishing some credibility, and by giving them some reason and help to get there. Do all those things, and they’ll knock down doors.” In essence, he is describing persuasion—now more than ever, the language of business leadership.

  • Rarely, if ever, is it possible to arrive at a shared solution on the first try.
  • Make sure everyone gets a turn to contribute their opinion in meetings and observe how they express their opinion and ideas.
  • And he had built dozens of relationships in the process.
  • People who are physically attractive seem more persuasive.

In a study conducted by Egon Zehnder, 79 per cent of respondents said that a company could only undergo successful transformation if the person at the helm also engaged in self-renewal. Taking control of your professional trajectory thus requires a lot of convincing and persuading. Persuasive skills in fact, go beyond the concerns of making people see your vision but also bolster organizational strength and are crucial for influencing the direction your company takes. Persuasion, in the professional domain thus merits an unpacking. This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of rhetoric, the art of persuasive writing and speech.

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