Components of Effective Persuasion Capability

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Components of Effective Persuasion Capability
Paula Kokare, Project Manager, Switzerland

Described as oneís ability to intentionally and successfully influence another person in order to overcome another personís resistance, Hargie (2011) defines three important components of effective persuasion:
  • CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PERSUADER: the effectiveness of the agent to persuade the target is closely related to the various forms of power that the agent holds; his sense of humor; physical attractiveness and the relationship with the target.
    1. An agentís power can exhibit forms such as senior organisational role; ability to control rewards and punishments; access to unique information; a recognised social role or possession of a specific and unique knowledge.
    2. Humor builds a stronger rapport between the audience and the speaker. It also improves listenersí focus, acceptance and positive attitude towards the idea being communicated.
    3. Physically attractive people have been observed to receive positive reactions from other people around them. Therefore, they are more likely to develop self confidence and better communication skills.
    4. Improved relationship and, therefore, more effective ability to persuade the target will result from common positive experiences obtained by agents and targets; positive associations related to the image of the agent (e.g. success, physical beauty); positive feedback given by the agent to the target.
  • DELIVERY OF THE ARGUMENTS: ideas with clear arguments and logical conclusions are found to be very persuasive and are found to consist of the following main components:
    1. Powerful delivery of the message which excludes any signs of doubt; hesitations; disclaimers; tag questions, etc.
    2. Repeating of the main conclusions resulting from different arguments
    3. Non-excessive use of strong metaphors and storytelling
    4. Including both pro- and contra-arguments and leading into logical conclusions and emphasis of the pro-view
    5. The sequence of requests from the target by the agent should be carefully designed to account for the quantity and the timing of the requests
    6. Balance to be maintained between the requests made and what is given by the agent in return
  • EMOTIONAL ASPECTS: while represent significant influencers of individualís behaviors, emotions are powerful tools of persuasion techniques:
    1. Fear can be a powerful persuasion tool if the hypothetical outcome represents a fearful scenario for the target, if clear steps are given how to avoid the undesired outcome and if the target has a self-belief to be able and willingness to take an action according to the suggestions
    2. Moral appeals function as persuasion tools by triggering caring behaviors, moral obligations, improving oneís social- and self-esteem
    3. Competing for resources which have become recently scarce increases the perceived value of these in the eyes of people
    4. Arguments which emphasize loss prevention instead of improving the upside potential are seen as more desirable by targets
      Source: Hargie, Owen (2011): Skilled interpersonal communication. London: Routledge.


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