Persuasion Theory

Persuasion is something that happens every second. Even that statement is a form of persuasion to those who read it. On a daily basis, I’m subjected to persuasion from advertisements on billboards and television to even school textbooks. A simple argument in my large family involves persuasion. My understanding of persuasion as a whole is that it is a form of communication that serves to convince other people of either buying something or believing something. Persuasion can range from an ad that says “Must buy!” to peer pressure. Like our textbook highlights, persuasion can be considered a type of art. Everyone is susceptible to persuasion at times but no one falls for it every time. Each person has their own beliefs and, sometimes, even the most convincing persuasion cannot sway someone to change their mind. But, other times, the most moving persuasion can change somebody’s mind. And a “moving” persuasion does not necessarily mean persistent and excessive. It could simply mean having all the facts to back it up, or maybe being someone or some company that a person trusts.

The fact is, since persuasion is everywhere and everyone is susceptible to it, it plays an enormous role in the functioning of our society. With this large role comes a responsibility that plays into its relationship with ethics. For one, persuasion shouldn’t be a lie. An example of this is false advertising to receive more sales. Lying to sell a product and earn more profit is immoral. Not only that, but many times people are simply not interested in changing their beliefs. Even more so, some people may go as far as insulting others’ opinions in order to convince someone else of their own beliefs.

As a form of communication, persuasion can be beneficial and detrimental. When used ethically it can be beneficial for both the persuader and the persuaded, but when used unethically it can become a trap that forces another person into something that he or she would not normally want. In the end, it’s best to be aware of the persuasion and to focus on the benefits because it can be something really valuable. Not only does it allow someone to voice their own opinions, but it connects people together and spreads many valuable ideas or beliefs.

One Reply to “Persuasion Theory”

  1. I wonder… when communicating with someone who absolutely cannot be persuaded, and persuasion leaves the room as an option, what do we have left? And what, to your mind, constitutes “ethical” persuasion?

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