Darius Hughes

You think you're in control of your life, but God actually has total Reign. So relax, life will be taken care of since we aren't in control.

Chapter 2 Notes – Becoming a Persuasive Writer


Persuasion was formalized as a concept more than 2,00 years ago by the Greeks.

Recent Scholar, Richard Perloff, author of The Dynamics of Persuasion, says, ” Persuasion is an activity or process in which a communicator attempts to induce a change in belief, attitude, or behavior of another person or group of persons through the transmission of a message in context in which the persuadee has some degree of free choice.”

Public relations writers spend the majority of their work crafting information that will persuade and motivate people.

  1. The Basics of Communication
  • To communicate is to make known – to project ideas into the minds of others which requires four elements: a sender, a message, a channel, and a receiver. 

    2.     Theories of Communication

  • Media Uses and Gratification – the basic premise is that the communication process is interactive.  the communicator wants to inform and, ultimately, motivate people to act on the information.  Recipients want to be entertained, informed or alerted to opportunities that can fulfill their needs.
  • Cognitive Dissonance – People will not believe a message contrary to their predispositions unless the communicator can introduce information the causes them to question their beliefs.  Dissonance can be created in three ways: (1) the writer needs to make the public aware tat circumstances have changed.  (2) The writer needs to provide information about new developments.  (3) The writer should use a quote from a respected person that the public trusts.
  • Framing – Historically, used to describe how journalist and editors select certain facts, themes, treatments, and even words to “frame” a story to generate maximum interest and understanding among readers and viewers.  This also applies to public relations because according to more than one study, about half of the content found in the media today is supplied by public relations sources.
  • Diffusion and Adoption – developed in the 1930s and expanded on by Prof. Rogers of Standford University of acquiring new ideas (5 steps) :  (1) Awareness – the person discovers the idea or product.  (2) Interest – the person tried to get more information.  (3) Trial – the person tries the idea on others or sample the product.  (4) Evaluation – the person decides whether the idea worked for his or her own self-interest.  (5) Adoption – the person incorporated the idea into his or her opinion or begins to use the product.
  • Hierarchy of Needs – Abraham H. Maslow, listed basic human needs on a scale from basic survival to more complex needs:  Physiological, safety, social, ego, and self-actualization.

   3.     Factors of Persuasive Writing –

  • Audience Analysis; Source of Credibility; Appeal to Interest; Clarity of the Message; Timing and Context; Symbols, Slogans and Acronyms; Semantics; Suggestions for Action; and Content and Structure.

   4.     Persuasive Speaking – Successful speakers use several techniques

  • Yes-yes: Start with points with which the audience agrees to develop a patter  of “yes” answers.
  • Offer structured choice: Give choices that force the audience to choose between A and B.
  • Seek partial commitment: Get a commitment for some action on the part of the receiver.
  • Ask for more, settle for less: Submit a complete public relations programs to management, but be prepared to compromise by dropping certain parts of the program.

   5.     Persuasion and Propaganda – No discussion of persuasion would be complete without mentioning propaganda and the techniques associated with it.  “Propaganda is the deliberate and systematic attempt to shape perceptions manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.” – Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell.

   6.    The Ethics of Persuasion

  • Persuasion is not a nasty concept.  It does not have to be manipulative, propagandist, or full of half-truths.  A large ,erasure of public trust comes from telling the truth and distributing accurate information.  thus, it can be seen that public relations writers are, by definition, advocates in the marketplace of public opinion.  It is their professional and personal responsibility, however, to be persuasive, using techniques that are forthright, truthful, and socially acceptable.


You can purchase this book through: www.textbooks.com and  www.amazon.com.


January 31, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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