People Must Persuade Themselves
In the book “The Dynamics of Persuasion”, R. M. Perloff says that it is a myth to think that persuasion includes convincing people to do things we usually do not want to do. In his view, people persuade themselves to change their attitude or their behavior. There is no way to command people to be persuaded, it is only possible to activate and stimulate their desires and expose them to the logic behind your ideas.
Only when people completely understand and buy in with their personality, total commitment to a product or to an idea is possible.
It is much easier to understand the concept of self-persuasion when looking at an activity that does not seem to involve any persuasion: therapy
is such an example. Actually, a therapist only gives recommendations and offers suggestions about how improvements can take place. But clients of therapist will never say that the therapist has persuaded the client. This is because people who are seeking for psychological help think about themselves, about what upsets them and how they can change themselves to be able to deal with it. And, if they are truly making progress afterwards, it is the client who is changing and the client is the only one who is able to assure that he or she is not going back down.
Perloff, R. M. (2012). “The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century”. Erlbaum, Hillsdale.