Persuasion can be defined as the process by which a message induces a change in people’s internal mental systems or to their external behavior. The inner systems within an individual include elements such as beliefs, values, attitude or goals. Therefore, persuasion takes place when an individual influences another individual to change his beliefs, attitudes, values, goals, or behavior in a significant way. In the paragraphs that follow, are the discussions for various elements of persuasion and how they influence change in people.
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There are different elements of persuasion that have been explored by psychologists. The four main factors that significantly influence how people are persuaded to change their actions are; the communicator, the message, style of communicating the message, and the audience.
Firstly, the communicator of a particular message determines to a higher degree whether one can buy one’s idea. Effective persuaders have tactics and skills that help to convey a message effectively. For this to be true, a persuader should be credible and posses a high degree of attractiveness.
The credibility of a communicator is the measure of his or her trustworthiness and expertise. A persuasive message given by a credible person tends to stay longer on people’s minds, unlike cases where the messages are given by a person who is not reliable.
The persuader is transformed into a perceived expert by saying things which the audience agrees with thereby appearing as a smart person. Also, the first introduction to the audience as a knowledgeable person in a particular topic of discussion increases the chances of winning their hearts.
Overall, being fluent on the matter of discussion wins the audience confidence in you making it much easier for one to persuade an audience. Persuaders should also use a style of speech that is believable to win people’s hearts. Therefore, it is true that the attractiveness of a person directly influences the results of persuasion since an audience prefers a communicator with appealing qualities.
Secondly, the message content is another factor that will determine whether one will have a significant influence on a particular audience. Some of the issues that may be included in a persuader’s message may consist of views such as; reason versus emotion, one-sided versus two-sided appeals, and message primacy versus recency.
Reason versus emotion as a tactic tries to reflect on the best approach a persuader would prefer to use in persuading an audience. For instance, reason can be associated with the induction of good feelings within an audience as a way of ensuring the message is effectively persuasive.
When messages are associated with good feelings, it is easier for the persuader to win the trust of the audience. Furthermore, messages that have the effect of arousing fear in an audience are more effective in ensuring that the audience is convinced not to behave in a particular manner. A perfect example of this is advertisement on cigarette smoking where a message is attached claiming that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and so on.
Where there are two-sided appeals, it is easier and more disarming when a persuader recognizes the arguments on the opposing side. On the other hand, the primacy effect holds that the first information to be presented is usually the most influential compared to later presentations. On the contrary, the recency effect claims that the opposite is exact although the latter is less common.
The channel or medium of communication is another element that influences persuasion. For persuasion to occur, there should be communication that appeals to the target audience. This communication is conveyed to the audience in a particular channel or medium such as written documents, signs, magazines, face-to-face appeals, and television or radio advertisements.
For persuasion to be effectively attained, the persuader should make a wise decision on the most appealing medium to use for message delivery. Psychologically, it is believed that written words have a strong influence on persuasion as compared to other media.
When a message is forwarded verbally, it is fundamental that the speaker makes it understandable, convincing, and memorable to ensure it is persuasive and attractive to the audience. According to studies conducted in earlier times, it is demonstrated that persuasion is achieved majorly due to people contact and to a lesser degree on the media.
Lastly, the type of audience will determine how well they can be persuaded depending on their values, norms, and behavior. The factors that determine the reaction of the audience may be influenced by their age and what they are thinking after receiving the intended message.
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Generally, older people may be harder to persuade because their attitudes are usually defined through adulthood and one may need additional skills to change their minds on what they believe is right. On the contrary, younger people and teens may be prone to persuasion since their attitudes have not stabilized, but are still changeable. Depending on what is sparked on the minds of the audience, after receiving the message, a persuader may be able to influence the audience to various degrees.