Marly Gallardo // http://www.marlygallardo.com/

What is Persuasion?

We all have our own values, beliefs, ideas about others, the world and ourselves that we strongly believe in. Some of us are great at making our ideas reach a specific target audience, while others struggle in conveying them. We often try to persuade others with our ideas and influence their decision-making to be in our favour. People usually use words, facial expressions, body movements, sounds, images, social status, authorities and many other tools through any possible means to convey their messages

That is what psychologists call, “The Art of Persuasion”.

Psychology and Persuasion

Psychologists are interested in understanding the reasons people adapt a certain behaviour, buy a certain product or change their lifestyle to look like a celebrity, for instance. One of the widely used theories is the “Elaboration Likelihood Model”, in which you need to understand your target audiences, whether it be at work, with friends or family members.

It involves two main routes, as proposed by Richard E. Petty and John Cacioppo, that, mainly, depend on your target audiences’ degree of motivation, listening to you:

  • Central route: When you try to give as much information as you can about your idea to convince your audiences cognitively. You are targeting their thoughts based on logical evidence.
  • Peripheral route: In this route, you look for cues – verbal or non-verbal – to attract your audiences. You can use attractiveness, tone of voice or authoritative figures and celebrities. Your audiences will relate to the model you are using and the way your idea has positively or negatively affect them.

It is the same way you teach a child a new behaviour: by reinforcing it, offering something they desire every time they repeat that exact favourable behaviour. In other terms, the child becomes conditioned to this behaviour, as it brings about positive consequences.

In addition, in order to effectively select and talk to your target audience; you perhaps ought to to know their needs.

Let’s dive a little deeper here.

According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, people are more likely to be convinced by an idea when they perceive their self-esteem to be enhanced by it.

Techniques of Persuasion

There are 6 techniques we can use daily to persuade others with our opinions:

1) Reciprocity:

We tend to give back to people when we receive nice gestures, gifts or positive reinforcement or privilege from them. When we receive more, we double the amount of things we give.

2) Scarcity:

The FOMO. Yes – indeed. We all know it.


People are convinced more when they see their role models and authoritative figures persuaded by the same idea you are trying to convince them with. Using a credible and reliable sources to support your idea is a strong way to make others see the positive consequences of adapting it.

4) Consistency:

Being consistent with what you delivering to your audience. Staying committed to serve your them: genuinely and authentically.

5) Liking:

Get people to buy into your message / product / idea, here are 3 main features to consider:

There must be common factor between the idea and their benefit, either it being an emotional, physical or  a behavioural reward. Only then will they be willing to work simultaneously with you to reach your goals, reaping the rewards of the end goal, altogether.

6)Marketing & Social Interactions

As we sometimes struggle to deliver message, ideas and get our points across to people; we could make use of the given techniques above through our daily interactions, socializing with people and at work. Aside from the persuasion techniques, we need to enhance our communication skills; verbally (through structured conversation and story telling) and non-verbally (through facial expressions and gestures).


It is not easy to persuade people with your ideas, so try not to be defensive about it. In the end, the more strongly you believe about something, the more likely that everything we mentioned above will read to you as second nature. However, one important hint is to accept others who criticize your ideas and avoiding to try to proving them you wrong. Always remember, no matter what, accepting others conflicting opinions is a part of growth, strength and maturity.

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