Communications that Persuade

Cite this article as:"Communications that Persuade," in The Business Professor, updated September 25, 2019, last accessed July 7, 2020,

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Communicating to Persuade

The act of presenting arguments to move, motivate or change your audience is called persuasion.
Persuasion can be either “implicit” or “explicit”.
Motivation involves force, a stimulus, or enough influence to bring about a change.
Motivation is the stimulus while persuasion is the process that compels your audience to change their beliefs and behavior, adopt your place and relate to your arguments.

Principles Common to Persuasive Communications

Social psychologist Robert Cialdini mentions six principles of persuasion that are impactful and effective:

Reciprocity – Reciprocity is the expectation for the exchange of services or value mutually. You build in a moment making people feel urged from social norms and standards to reciprocate once you take the lead and give.

Scarcity – People are generally attracted to something rare and exclusive. Scarcity is the idea of limited supply or inadequate resources.

Authority – Trust is the most important virtue to the decision of purchase. Your expertise needs to be known for you to gain credibility. Referencing experts and expertise involve the principle of authority.

Commitment and Consistency – It is difficult to recall oral communication at all times. The principle of commitment and consistency brings the social standard of respecting one’s words to bear during purchase.

Consensus – People tend to look at each other while making a purchase or a decision. The herd mentality prevails among humans at a higher level across humanity. When we don’t have enough information about something, we tend to follow others’ paths. The tendency of the individual to follow the leader of the group is the principle of consensus.

Liking – Effective communication goes hand in hand with safety. We are more likely to make conversation or interact only when we feel safe. We are drawn to people who like us and communicate to us. It is quite effective. We are also attracted to people who are like us irrespective of caste, race and other socio-economic backgrounds.

Desired Effects of Persuasive Communications

The objectives of persuasive communications include:

Stimulate – To strengthen their beliefs and bring them to the foreground, facts need to be presented. This way, the issue is delivered to the surface. You can keep in mind the common ground and shared beliefs, and then introduce information that the audience may not be aware of. The common ground serves as a strategy to stimulate interest.

Convince – The objective is to bring change in beliefs, attitudes, judgments and values of your audience. As the audience may involve their bias in judgement, plan a few valid points for them to listen to and understand your topic. If the audience agrees with you mind that scarcity or a problem exists, they will look for solutions. Then you may refer your product as a better alternative and then recommend an improved future action.

Call to Action – With this option, you call your audience to action by getting their attention. The objectives is to create curiosity, solve a problem, or propose a range of options as solutions.

End Results of Persuasive Communications

Adoption – Adoption is where the speaker wants for the receivers to think differently and adopt a new habit or action.

Deterrence – Deterrence makes the speaker persuade the audience not to start something if they have not already begun.

Discontinuation – Discontinuance involves the speaker persuading the audience to stop doing something that they have been doing for a while such as smoking.

Continuance – Continuance makes the speaker want to persuade the audience to keep doing what they have been doing such as re-elect a candidate or continuing their education.

Increased Consideration – You would want to increase consideration on the audience who hold hostile views or are neutral and curious. Their support for your argument increases the consideration of your position. In this presentation, you won’t be asking for action but an increase in consideration. This may lead the customer to the point at future.

Tolerance of Alternative Perspectives – As a speaker, you would want your audience to develop an understanding of the alternate point of views and perspectives, but not necessarily, the acceptance of alternate viewpoints. By starting from a common point of interest and by introducing a similar idea, you are persuading the audience to consider another perspective.

Strategies for Persuasion

Persuasion requires a truthful and well-organized presentation of facts upon which a person may choose to act. Being persuasive in communication involves:

Understanding of the Product, Service, or Idea – Knowing the product, idea or service well enough. Being well informed about the product. The product should be used, and usage of the product should be monitored. Comparing product with rivals in the market. Request feedback from others. Knowing the answers to the following questions:

  • What good will the item or service do to its users?
  • What are its features that are superior to others? (design, manufacture, the benefit of the receiver)
  • What makes the product or idea different from and superior to others?
  • What costs does the user have to bear?

Knowledge of the Audience – To whom is the message directed? What are the consumer’s wants and needs? Is the message directed towards an individual or a group of individuals? If a group of individuals, what are the common things between the individuals in that group? What are the goals, work and education pursued by the group of individuals? How much of their requirements have been satisfied with this product or by another product? How will cultural differences affect your product? This requires prediction of the arguments that might come from the audience and having a reasonable response to those arguments. It requires identification of the action that is desired.

Structure of a Persuasive Communication

Generally, a persuasive message is “inductive in Structure”. Inductive messages are explained further in separate material.

Types of Persuasive Communications

The most common types of persuasive communication are:

  • Arguments
  • Sales Messages

Bother of these are discussed in separate articles.

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