Persuasion Techniques Study Guide (page 3)

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Updated on Sep 19, 2011

Implementing Persuasion Techniques

The art of persuasion isn't all about cleverly tricking people into changing their actions or way of thinking. It can also be used in positive ways to get what you want in life. For example, at a job interview, it's your mission to persuade someone to hire you. You won't be preying on fears or asking for pity, but you'll use your choice of words (spoken and written in your resume), your appearance, your behavior, and your body language to convince the person to offer you a job.

What else can you do to persuade people? Here's a list of some ways. Not all will work in every situation, so use your critical-thinking skills to evaluate each situation and choose accordingly.

  1. Grab people's attention. Act in a way that'll get someone to listen to you. That means being respectful, diplomatic (no yelling or belittling), modest but confident, and reasonable.
  2. Be sincere. It's critical not only to sound convincing, but to convince people that what you're saying is believable. Use evidence and examples to prove that your claims and appeals are true, and the right way to go.
  3. Be personal. Know who you're trying to persuade, and then use what you know about them in your appeal. Explain exactly what they'll get out of it if they see things your way. Answer the question "what's in it for me?" before they have a chance to ask it!
  4. Show concern. Is your audience worried or afraid about something? State their concern so they see that you share it, even if you really have a different view. "I can see you're worried about global warming, and it's a real concern to me, too."
  5. Ask for what you want. Be direct about the result you want. For example, "Now you can see why there's an urgent need to save the rainforest, and why we need you to donate to the cause today."

Persuasive Advertising

There are two kinds of advertising. Informative marketing simply seeks to familiarize consumers with a product or service by reminding them of an existing product/service or introducing a new one. Persuasive advertising aims to manipulate consumer spending habits and make them want to buy a product or service by appealing to their senses, emotions, or intellect. Some common persuasive techniques include:

  • Sensory appeal: a perfect looking product, an exciting background color, a catchy slogan or jingle
  • Sex appeal: pictures, voice, word choice, attractive models
  • Group appeal: can be a snob (makes consumer believe purchase will place him/her in ranks of the elite), an Average Joe (reverse snob appeal—you will be like everyone else, won't stand out), "in" group (you will be more popular or cooler if you buy), or a bandwagon (you want what everyone else has)
  • Authority: uses the endorsements of celebrities or other powerful people; you will be like them if you use the product or service
  • Scientific or statistical: uses figures, experiments, impressive-sounding ingredients, and other proof that product is superior
  • Flattery: compliments your intelligence, looks, or other characteristic to make you to want to buy the product or service
  • Unfinished claim: says product or service is better, but doesn't tell you what it is better than

You need to know that an ad is trying to persuade you before you can resist it. It's not usually too hard because advertisers tend to use the same kinds of claims and appeals repeatedly.

You can use an evaluation form, like the one shown, to check out ads. Once you understand what you're looking for, you'll be able to evaluate ads you see and hear without needing a form. Instead of being duped by persuasion, you'll see the words and images for what they are: attempts to manipulate you.

Persuasive Advertising Evaluation


Appeal(s) 1. how accomplished
  2. how accomplished
Claim(s) 1. how accomplished
  2. how accomplished

What is effective about the appeal(s)?

What is effective about the claim(s)?

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