Everywhere, all the time, someone's trying to persuade you. Big business wants you to buy their goods, media wants you to believe how they view society, and education wants you to learn what they want you to know. The best persuaders can convince you to believe there's a problem when there clearly is not one. Even the anti-authority supporters want to convince you that they’re on your side, by pointing out the problems of other institutions, and are just trying to get you to do something that you don't want to. Even I’m trying to convince you of this truth right now, but why? Why do we allow ourselves to be influenced by others? Instead of just looking into this from a psychologically stand point and looking at the societal aspects of persuasion, we are going to look at some pros and cons of being influenced by others.
When many people think of persuasion, they think of big business, and fanatical leaders, so when has persuasion ever been good? Well, for starters, many of the greatest and highly praised leaders in our history were very good at persuasion, but their logic, at least at the time, was undeniable. The founding fathers of many nations helped many modern democracies switch from their old authoritarian routes. If someone is a credible source, than it's very likely we're going to listen to them. If the persuader is morally good, than the persuasion will also be good. There's no real such thing as good or bad persuasion, it's dependent on the persuader and how it's used. Persuasions especially handy for those that need help making decisions. If you're not sure what new phone to buy, there are plenty of reviews to help you make that decision. Other pros include changing a previous false opinion on a subject, or introducing a new one entirely. Persuasion isn't without fault though, as it can lead even the smarter of society to follow false ideas, or heavily exaggerated truths. Peer pressure is a good, everyday example of this, depending on political stance, various forms of propaganda as well, as it promotes negative aspects of society positively. The Nazi Regimes flashy, simplistic propaganda help aided in their growth in Germany in the 30’s.
So what exactly makes a good persuader? Good persuaders know their audience, even if not specifically, in a general sense. They know what their audience wants to hear, and they capitalize on it. A good example of this can be pretty much any persuader. Clickbait titles and thumbnails are used all the time to attract a certain audience almost immediately to specific videos and articles. They usually try to connect with their audience at a personal or deeper level than most, often acting, pretending, or some even legitimately having similar concerns, and experience to the audience. Good persuaders are usually very pushy, but can come across with a very calm stance. They are very sure of their ideas. They are very knowledgeable of what they are talking about, but if they should make a mistake (and are corrected), they easily recover and are able to twist it to their advantage. Good persuaders are clear, and concise, and they acknowledge other points of view, whether they share the same view or not, this is important to do because it humanizes you. Even if you don't defend them, or talk about them, you should at least acknowledge that they exist so it doesn't look like your withholding information. Good persuaders don't dilly, dally around, and if they take a while to get to the main point, they should continuously try to be engaging, and not just coming up with excuses to elongate their argument. Lastly, you should avoid repeating yourself when you persuade. Continually referencing the same argument starts to make you look lazy. If you want to talk about the same thing countless times over, be sure to be actively introducing new information, or focusing on different aspects of the topic more than previously.
So why exactly do we get persuaded? As brought up before, peer pressure, as well as, pressure in general, plays a huge role in persuasion. The more people that follow a cause, the more likely we'll be persuaded to believe it. The more consist the speaker is, the more likely we'll want to stick around. When the speaker constantly revives a topic for discussion, it makes the argument weaker. Think about it: Would you buy a new car if only two out of ten people recommended it? How about if only one in four doctors said your new medication was safe?
Thanks for reading everyone! Hopefully you enjoyed, and once again, leave a like or comment below. Once again, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!
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