Persuasion is the power to convince a person or group of people that an argument is compelling or accurate. Whether the person is having a one-on-one dialogue, or in front of a giant audience, the goal is the same. They want to convince their audience that they are right. Here you will find articles about how persuasion can work in your favor or against you. Learn how to use persuasion to help you. Persuasion, if used correctly, can assist you in becoming a more assertive person and learning to stick up for yourself.
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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
What is Persuasion?
Persuasion is the art of influence. When you’re persuasive, you’re actively convincing a person or group of individuals to believe what you’re saying. You might be convincing them to buy something, or you may be persuading them that the current political regime is toxic and they need to make a change. Politicians use persuasion and so do everyday people. Maybe you’re persuading your child to eat green beans when they’re adamant about not consuming vegetables. There are places for persuasion, and it comes in handy in your daily life.
Robert Cialdini, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University, identified six principles of persuasion. They are:
Reciprocity: A person gives something and receives something in return. The goal is to make the person feel like they owe you something. They will provide something to you, and wait to receive something in return. People typically don’t want to give without feeling appreciated back. You want to reassure the person that they will receive something if they are generous.
Commitment and consistency: Consistent beliefs and behaviors. You ask a person for a small promise or action that they promise to follow through with that isn’t overwhelming. It should be something that they’re accountable for, that other people will witness them doing. Once they engage in that action, they receive a reward from you.
Social proof: You persuade a person or group of people using the credibility of experts. These can include doctors, researchers, journalists, celebrities, authors, or scientists. People tend to believe a speaker if they quote expert sources. They see that the opinion about a product or idea is well-researched by people who know what they’re talking about because they’re in the field and have knowledge about that product or idea.
Likability: You or your brand needs to appear attractive. Your website or your company needs to look good for people to do what you’re asking them to do. If people like you, they’re more likely to do what you’re asking them to perform.
Authority: We tend to follow people who look like they’re in charge. People who are in positions of authority represent truthfulness, whether that means they have a badge, uniform, or a title. When a person who has clout tells us that we should do something or purchase an item, we’re more likely to listen than when the average person tells us to act.
Scarcity: When there is a limited number of things or a rare product, we’re more likely to be convinced to get a product. That makes the product more unique. We can be persuaded to buy something if it seems rare.
Persuasion Techniques in Writing and Beyond
There are three practical ways to persuade someone of an argument. They are reason, emotion, and trust.
Reason: You appeal to the person using facts, logic, and statistics. Logic is difficult to argue with, especially when you’re looking at research. Many people aren’t easily persuaded unless they see hard facts. That’s why having solid statistics can help others decide in your favor.
Emotion: People use emotions to persuade others. Emotional persuasion is used in communities when you appeal to a person’s ideals or fears. You’re there to warn the person or group of people or something. You want to protect them, and you’re telling them about what could happen if they don’t act.
Trust: A big part of persuasion has to do with getting a person to trust you. When you gain their confidence and trust, you can appeal to their ability to make decisions. You want them to believe you because you’ve been there. You have experience in the matter you’re talking about, and you’re on their side.
If you want to work on your ability to persuade others, you can talk about it in online therapy. Maybe your career is in an area where you need to gain confidence in yourself to become good at persuasion. Perhaps you need to work on persuasion because there’s a family matter you need to assist with. Learning persuasive tactics will help you in your everyday life. There are many different reasons to see an online counselor other than learning persuasiveness. If you’re interested in seeking help, search the network of counselors here at BetterHelp and find one who suits your needs.