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Persuasion: Who, What, and to Whom
Even though people can just say no to the individual or to a group, the communicator influences the audience because people may be persuaded by the message. The communicator’s goal is to change your mind, and most people are easily influenced.(Rhoads, 1997). Social psychology helps us to identify different aspects of ourselves, and the environment in which we live and work. It gives us insight as to why people judge others, and how the power of persuasion affects an individual, group, or a nation. An effective persuader possesses both positive and desirable traits. One of these traits is to portray believable knowledge. (Feenstra, 2011). If the communicator appears as if they know, what they are talking about they will be far more likely to persuade the audience. In addition, when the communicator speaks in an authoritative manner opposed to a hesitant, unsure manner they are typically much more persuasive. It is important that the audience see the communicator as being trustworthy this plays an important role in persuasive communication. When a person is seen as always being honest, it makes them much more credible then a person who is known to lie or avoid telling the truth. Credibility is important to persuasion as it is associated with an individual’s character. The most important factor in persuading others is character. Moreover, an effective persuader builds a connection before giving the actual persuasive message. One way to establish this connection is in showing how you and your audience are alike. The more the audience feels that they are similar to the communicator the more they will identify and be persuaded by them. (Education, 2011).
First, the communicator influences the audience with a message because the audience may be persuaded. If the audience sees the communicator as attractive, there is more of a chance they will be persuaded by them. There is a dramatic advantage over people who are not as good-looking in reference to persuasion. It is also the case that physically attractive people usually obtain higher grades, are more likely to be hired for a job, and when hired for a job takes home more money (Changing Minds, 2011). People seem to subconsciously and consciously believe that attractive people are more credible and trustworthy. The psychological reasoning is that people see a communicator that is attractive as also being more likeable. Being liked is also an important factor of persuasive communication. There are other important factors seen such as being friendly, optimistic, sincere, cheerful, appreciative, kind, and generous these characteristics are influences to being generally likeable. We are more likely to be persuaded by someone we like as opposed to someone we do not. People as a whole do not like to be thought of in a negative light and no one desires to feel unwanted or unattractive. It may be observed that when messages are persuasive by themselves that they are appealing to reason, logic, and are more effective than those messages that do not have those appeals. Data used in messages from outside sources instead of the communicator are also found to be more persuasive. The fear technique may sometimes persuade an individual to purchase an item or to support a “charitable” worthy cause. This is because an emotional appeal may arouse guilt or fear. The way an emotional appeal works is that, the individual wants to avoid negative consequences of guilt or fear. A guilt approach points out a mistake that the individual is responsible for then shows them how to make up for the mistake. How the communicator frames the message influences the way an individual reacts to it. Included in the framing of the message for example would be changing the meaning of the message or changing it to fit a particular audience. Framing works to focus on the subconscious level. (Rhoads, 1997).
Additionally, the communicator’s goal is to change your mind. The way that narratives may be persuasive is that they capture and hold an individual’s attention. While the sleeper effect over time shows the context of the message to be more important than the credibility or knowledge of the communicator that gave the message. This shows that the content of the message is significant in persuading an audience to make lasting changes. The characteristics of the audience are also important because people perceive messages in different ways. Often cultures view male speakers as more credible than female speakers. Therefore, an effective persuader has to know about the culture of the audience and fit the message to that audience. It has recently been found that audience gender is not as import to consider as it was once thought to be. However, women do shop differently than men. Self-esteem is another factor in persuasion as people with low self-esteem are easier to persuade than those with a high self-esteem. (Education, 2011).
Finally, the most important reason the communicator influences the audience with the message is that most people are easily influenced. The elaboration likelihood model explains that the audience will take a direct approach oran indirect approach to being persuaded. Those that take the direct approach are able and motivated to do so and it can be said that the message for them is more important. Whereas those that take the indirect approach are influenced more by the communicator’s characteristics. While in traditional persuasive communication, the communicator is more important. This characteristic holds true as well in the e-word of mouth persuasion. The expertise of the reviewer is also more important to the audience. It has been observed that people connect expertise to an internet setting being credible the same as they do in a traditional setting. In the e-word of mouth, it is important for the communicator and the audience to see a similarity between them. Because when an individual reviews a product they feel a connection with the communicator as they both are interested in the product and went through the same buying process. The actual message is also important in persuasion because if the communicator is positive the audience will usually be positive and be more likely to be persuaded to purchase the item. In addition, people are suspicious when the message is overly positive just as they are in a traditional setting. Because we are not able to see the communicator giving the message the sleeper effect is usually more prominent then the e-word of mouth persuasion. An important part of the e-word of mouth persuasion is the audience. The Chinese look for more information than do the Americans when it comes to e-word of mouth. Therefore, it is shown that culture and characteristics of the audience play a role in e-word of mouth as they do in traditional forms of persuasive communication. (Feenstra, 2011).
Indeed, while the audience can just say no to the communicator, the communicator influences the audience with a message. The communicator’s goal is to change your mind, and most people are easily influenced.Social psychology helps us to identify different aspects of ourselves, and the environment in which we live and work. It gives us insight as to why people judge others, and how the power of persuasion affects an individual, group, or a nation. (Rhoads, 1997).
Changing Minds. (2011). Social Influence. Retrieved from Changing Minds.org: http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/social_influence.htm
Erupting Mind Education. (2011). How To Persuade Different Types Of People. Retrieved from Erupting Mind Education: http://eruptingmind.com/how-to-persuade-different-types-of-people/
Feenstra, J. (2011). Introduction to social psychology. Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Rhoads, K. (1997). Introduction to Influence. Retrieved from Working Psychology: http://www.workingpsychology.com/intro.html
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