Theories of Persuasion
1. Why is persuasion important in an open society?
In an open society we are presented with certain opportunities that other cultures and countries are not. Ever since human beings have been able to want and desire, he has also possessed the urge to direct others to see what he sees. Rhetoric, propaganda, persuasion, these are all just words describing the same thing. Methods of persuasion are all around us. The devices from which we are persuaded come from a number of different places such as advertisements on television, blogs, the internet, radio, colleges, family & friends, and more. One can hope they are well equipped and have a strong ethical tool box. Not everyone tells the truth, so persuasion in open society can be a dangerous thing. Not everyone educates themselves; some people will simply believe what they are fed if they are well persuaded. Not everyone is of strong moral character. Many are capable of lying, therefore it is important to educate ourselves and hone in on the skills needed to smell out false information. The art of persuasion can be a very good thing. Persuasion can be positive when the intensions of the source are based in sound ethics. A pastor can persuade a congregation to perform volunteer work in a community. The community work brings a community together and strengthens those involved. As we know not all men are full of good intentions. In fact some are misguided. A person skilled in persuasion is dangerous, because persuasion can also be used for evil. When the message is delivered by an amoral or misguided source, the outcome can be gruesome, as in the case of Jim Jones and his unfortunate followers. The content of the message is important but also whoever gives the message has an effect on people¹s acceptance of it. The major determinant to the communicator’s success is his/her perceived credibility and attractiveness. Goode, Erica (2000) Credibility or believability is determined by the communicator¹s appearance as an expert or as someone who can be trusted. Expertise is established when the communicator is introduced as someone who has a great deal of knowledge concerning the topic of conversation. Goode, Erica (2000) When the communicator relays viewpoints that are identical to the audience she/he will be perceived as smart. Also, to project an image of expertise it is necessary to speak confidently and without hesitating. Goode, Erica (2000) Trustworthiness of the communicator is assumed if direct eye contact issued and speech is rapid. If the speaker is seen as not trying to influence or is arguing a position that is against their personal interest they will be considered trustworthy. Goode, Erica (2000) An attractive communicator has certain qualities, like physical appeal and similarity that draw in the audience. If the arguments of the attractive speaker are more readily accepted, central route persuasion has occurred or if we are persuaded by the unconnected positive association between the communicator and the product there has been peripheral route persuasion. Goode, Erica (2000) Persuasion is constant; the good news is that whether you are persuaded or not is completely up to you. At some point in life, someone or something has attempted to influence your way of thinking. The way we perceive certain cultures, what we worship, and what brand of soda we drink at some point has all been influenced by someone or something. As the world progresses and becomes ever-more linked via information systems, we find that the world we live in is getting smaller. Places previously untouched by western society are much more within reach consequently the world is being exposed to more information from different sources. The factors that influence us in today’s society are known as the Seven Faces of Persuasion. The Seven Faces of Persuasion characterize the factors and processes involved in persuasion that are central to life in the twenty-first century,...
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