Persuasion | Constructs of Persuasion | Factors of Persuasion | Resisting of Persuasion | IAS TARGET IAS Target


Persuasion is an umbrella term for influence. Persuasion can strive to influence a person's beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors. Persuasion can also be expounded as using one's personal or positional resources to change people's behaviors or attitudes. Finally, systematic persuasion is the exercise through which attitudes or beliefs are leveraged by appeals to logic and reason.
In business, persuasion is an action aimed at changing a person's (or a group's) attitude or behavior toward some event, idea, object, or another person (s), by using written, spoken words, or visual tools to convey information, feelings, or reasoning, or a combination thereof. Persuasion is also an often-used tool in pursuing personal gains, such as election campaigning, giving a sales pitch, or trial advocacy. Heuristic persuasion, on the contrary, is the exercise through which attitudes or beliefs are leveraged by appeals to habit or emotion.

Constructs of Persuasion

three things that are important in Persuasion

  • the Source of Persuasion
  • the Message
  • the Audience

One important factor in persuasion is the nature of the source of a message. We will discuss three source factors:

  • Expertise
  • Trustworthiness
  • Attractiveness.
In general, we are naturally more likely to accept the statements of an expert than a non-expert.

Resisting of Persuasion

9 ways that the mind resists persuasion

  • Inoculation
    Medical inoculations or vaccination work by giving you a little of the disease so that your body can get acclimated to it and ward off a full attack in the future. Psychological inoculations against persuasion work in the same manner. When an individual person has already been prepared with counter-arguments, they find it easier to fend off persuasion attempts.
    • When persuading:
      Circumvent the ‘usual’ arguments in your persuasion effort. In lieu, use a new angle they haven’t thought earlier.
    • When resisting persuasion:
      Uncovering yourself to different types of debates and counter-debates you will likely face. When you know what’s coming, it’s easier to defend yourself psychologically.
  • Forewarned is forearmed
    When we can see the persuasion effort coming, it’s much easier to marshal our defenses. Flagrant advertising, party political broadcasts, and the rest: our defenses are up, so it’s strong to get through.
    • When persuading:
      Don’t signal your effort in advance. Try to deviate attention from the persuasion attempt by hiding it within an apparently innocuous message. Emphasize how you are ‘just talking’ or ‘only discussing’ something.
    • When resisting persuasion:
      Try to spot persuasion attempts that are wrapped up in social pressure or as entertainment. For example: “A little won’t hurt. Come on, we’re all doing it!” or: “Find out more about [insert politician here]’s secret love child! Tonight on [insert TV network here]”.
  • Reactance
    People don’t like being told what to do or having their freedom restricted. It can even lead to a ‘boomerang effect’ where telling people not to do something makes them want to do it more.
    • When persuading:
    • Avoid restricting people’s freedom; instead, make them feel they have options and room for maneuver, and this can work to your advantage
    • When resisting persuasion:
      Think about whether the persuasion attempt is restricting your freedom. If it is, then should you go along with it? Alternatively, is the person emphasizing how free you are in order to persuade you?
  • Reality check
    After being persuaded, people often exercise a sort of reality check. Have I agreed to something I didn’t mean to? Would I have agreed if I knew then what I know now? If not, then cancel the whole thing!
    • When persuading:
    • Don’t give people the time for a reality check. Under time pressure, people find it difficult to think.
    • When resisting persuasion:
    • Take a time-out afterward to think about whether you would still agree to it. Watch out for time pressure or limited deals—these are designed to short-cut rational processes and make us jump right in.
    • Counter-arguing and bolstering
      It is the most natural defense of all: thinking about why they are wrong (counter-arguing) and you are right (bolstering).
      • When persuading:
        Strongly held faith is difficult to attack. Try being sneaky and bypassing them. Reduce your point to make it less threatening or make the relationship appear more cooperative (“Hey, I’m just trying to work out the veracity as much as you, buddy.”)
      • When resisting persuasion:
        Think about who else will go along with you. This strengthens your position by using social confirmation. Be wary of camouflaged attempts to persuade.
    • Resistance breeds more resistance
      When people successfully defend oneself against an effort at persuasion, their original position gets stronger. Say I’m trying to talk you into dying your hair blue, and you think you’ll look ridiculous. Unless I put forward a better case than, “Because it’ll be funny,” you’ll be even more against it afterward.
      • When persuading:
        Make your first effort to persuade a strong one, don’t go in half-hearted, or you could just increase resistance in the long run.
      • When resisting persuasion:
        If you know the persuasion attempt is coming and you have counter-arguments ready, then your resistance will only make you stronger.
    • Attack authority
      Persuasion effort often uses the argument from authority, kind of like: “I am your father, so I sense best.” But like any other child, we want to rebel, so we attack authority.
      • When persuading:
      • Make sure your credentials are rock-solid. If they are not, find someone whose authority is unquestioned. People naturally defer to those who have (or appear to have) authority.
      • When resisting persuasion:
        Attack the source of the message. Use negative emotions like anger or irritation and attribute them to the so-called authority figure. Be extremely suspicious of anyone who relies purely on authority to influence.
    • Being sharp and alert
      Resistance is easiest when we feel sharp, vigilant, and alert. That’s when you are better able to raise counter-arguments, sustain your position, spot persuasion attempts coming, and so on.
      • When persuading:
        When people are tired, their defenses are down. If they are alert now, can they be worn down or their resistance blunted by a frontal attack? And, can you reduce their motivation to resist?
      • When resisting persuasion:
        Beware tiredness. Never go shopping when you’re really hungry, buy a car when you’re desperate, or talk to a salesman when you’re half-distracted. Recognize times when you’re likely to be weak and closet yourself until the energy levels are replenished.
    • Not listening
      Sometimes the effortless ways of withstanding persuasion are the simplest. You walk away, turn off the TeleVision or block out the drone of other people’s perspective by humming the theme to The A-Team.
      • When persuading:
        do you have their full attentiveness? If not, then it is hard to be effective. Once they are focused on you, start with the most interesting part of the argument to draw them in.