Persuasion Techniques

Be a persuader, not a manipulator.

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This is a list of per­sua­sion techniques.

In this blog post, you will get a few short and action­able insights into the mech­an­ics of per­suad­ing (not manip­u­lat­ing) someone.

Here we go:

Persuasion Techniques

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Persuasion Techniques

Persuasion tech­niques can be applied in vari­ous con­texts, includ­ing pub­lic rela­tions, mar­ket­ing, sales, polit­ics, and inter­per­son­al com­mu­nic­a­tion, to per­suade oth­ers effectively.

Here are examples of per­sua­sion techniques:

  • Norm of reci­pro­city: Capitalising on the social norm that indi­vidu­als feel oblig­ated to repay favours or kind­ness, lead­ing them to be more recept­ive to persuasion.
  • Artificial scarcity: Creating a sense of urgency or lim­ited avail­ab­il­ity to make some­thing more desir­able. 1Silfwer, J. (2019, July 26). The Power of Artificial Scarcity. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​a​r​t​i​f​i​c​i​a​l​-​s​c​a​r​c​i​ty/
  • Authority: Leveraging the influ­ence of respec­ted or author­it­at­ive fig­ures to endorse or sup­port a par­tic­u­lar mes­sage, product, or course of action.
  • Consistency (or Commitment): Encouraging small com­mit­ments that lead to lar­ger ones by emphas­iz­ing past actions or state­ments. See also the foot-in-the-door tech­nique and the sunk cost fallacy.
  • Social proof: Demonstrating that oth­ers sim­il­ar to the tar­get audi­ence have adop­ted the desired beha­viour or belief.
  • Liking: Building rap­port and trust by find­ing com­mon ground or high­light­ing sim­il­ar­it­ies between one­self and the audience.
  • Attractiveness (the halo effect): Physically attract­ive indi­vidu­als tend to be rated more favour­ably regard­ing per­son­al­ity traits. 2Silfwer, J. (2023, December 17). The Halo Effect: Why Attractiveness Matters in PR. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​h​a​l​o​-​e​f​f​e​ct/
  • Framing: Presenting inform­a­tion in a way that influ­ences per­cep­tion or decision-mak­ing. 3Silfwer, J. (2023, December 3). Framing in PR: How To Bypass Confirmation Bias. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​f​r​a​m​i​n​g​-​i​n​-​pr/
  • Priming: Proactively intro­du­cing subtle cues or stim­uli to influ­ence sub­sequent beha­viour or atti­tudes. 4Silfwer, J. (2023, December 3). Priming in PR: The Subtle Art of Pre-Suasion. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​p​r​i​m​i​n​g​-​i​n​-​pr/
  • Anchoring: Introducing an ini­tial ref­er­ence point (anchor) to influ­ence sub­sequent judg­ments or decisions.
  • Emotional appeal: Evoking emo­tions such as hap­pi­ness, fear, or sad­ness to sway opin­ions or actions.
  • Contrast prin­ciple: Highlighting dif­fer­ences to make options seem more favour­able or unfa­vour­able in comparison.
  • Verbal per­sua­sion: Using lan­guage and rhet­or­ic to con­vince oth­ers of a par­tic­u­lar view­point or course of action.
  • Association: Connecting a product, idea, or per­son with pos­it­ive or desir­able attributes.
  • Strategic storytelling: Communicating per­suas­ive mes­sages through nar­rat­ives that engage and res­on­ate with the audi­ence. 5Silfwer, J. (2013, February 7). 10 Storytelling Elements (Found in Almost All Great Stories). Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​s​t​o​r​y​t​e​l​l​i​n​g​-​e​l​e​m​e​n​ts/
  • Flattery: Complimenting or prais­ing indi­vidu­als for win­ning their favour or coöperation.
  • Fear appeal: Warning of neg­at­ive con­sequences to motiv­ate action or compliance.
  • Foot-in-the-door tech­nique: Starting with a small request or com­mit­ment before mak­ing a lar­ger one.
  • Door-in-the-face tech­nique: Making a large request that is likely to be refused, fol­lowed by a more minor, more reas­on­able request.
  • Bandwagon effect: The per­cep­tion that a par­tic­u­lar action or belief is favoured or widely accep­ted. 6Silfwer, J. (2023, December 4). The Bandwagon Effect: Momentum Is Everything | PR Theory. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​b​a​n​d​w​a​g​o​n​-​e​f​f​e​ct/
  • Reverse psy­cho­logy: Encouraging someone to do the oppos­ite of what is sug­ges­ted, know­ing they may rebel against the suggestion.
  • Inoculation the­ory: Preemptively address­ing coun­ter­ar­gu­ments or objec­tions to strengthen res­ist­ance to per­sua­sion attempts.
  • Battle of wits: Using wit or com­edy to dis­arm res­ist­ance and make a mes­sage more memorable.
  • Repetition: Reinforcing a mes­sage or idea through repeated exposure.
  • Self-per­cep­tion the­ory: Influencing beha­viour by lead­ing indi­vidu­als to believe that their actions are con­sist­ent with their self-image.
  • Mirroring: Subtly imit­at­ing the beha­viour, lan­guage, or man­ner­isms of the per­son you’re try­ing to per­suade to cre­ate a sense of rap­port and connection.
  • Pacing and lead­ing: Matching the pace of com­mu­nic­a­tion with the tar­get audi­ence before gradu­ally guid­ing them towards the desired outcome.
  • Authority jar­gon: Using tech­nic­al lan­guage or ter­min­o­logy asso­ci­ated with expert­ise to enhance cred­ib­il­ity and influence.
  • Contrast prin­ciple: Presenting options in a sequence that high­lights their dif­fer­ences, mak­ing the pre­ferred option appear more favourable.
  • Urgency: Creating a sense of imme­di­ate neces­sity or time pres­sure to prompt swift action or decision-making.
  • Salience: Emphasizing spe­cif­ic aspects or fea­tures of a mes­sage or product to make it stand out and cap­ture atten­tion.
  • Identity appeal: Aligning a mes­sage or product with the tar­get audi­ence’s val­ues, beliefs, or iden­tity to foster a sense of belong­ing or affiliation.
  • Exclusivity: Positioning a product, offer, or oppor­tun­ity as lim­ited or exclus­ive to a select group enhances its per­ceived value and desirability.
  • Embedded com­mands: Subtly embed­ding dir­ect­ives or com­mands with­in sen­tences to influ­ence beha­viour without overtly stat­ing them.
  • In-group/out-group bias: Exploiting the tend­ency of indi­vidu­als to favour mem­bers of their group (in-group) over those out­side the group (out-group) to garner sup­port or compliance.
  • Linguistic flu­ency: Presenting inform­a­tion clearly, con­cisely, and flu­ently to enhance per­suas­ive­ness and credibility.
  • Emotional con­ta­gion: Eliciting spe­cif­ic emo­tions in indi­vidu­als and lever­aging their con­ta­gious nature to influ­ence atti­tudes, opin­ions, or behaviours.
  • Foot-in-the-mouth tech­nique: Intentionally mak­ing a small error or con­ces­sion in an argu­ment or nego­ti­ation to build trust and rap­port with the oth­er party.
  • Endowment effect: Emphasizing own­er­ship or pos­ses­sion of a product or idea to increase its per­ceived value and desirability.
  • Mystery: Generating curi­os­ity or intrigue by with­hold­ing inform­a­tion or details, prompt­ing indi­vidu­als to seek fur­ther engage­ment or information.

Learn more: Persuasion Techniques

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The Golden Rule of Persuasion

The golden rule of persuasion.
The golden rule of persuasion.
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The Golden Rule of Persuasion

The golden rule for being per­suas­ive is straightforward:

  • The golden rule of per­sua­sion is to lay the ground­work; nev­er sug­gest any­thing to any­one who isn’t ready to com­ply — yet.

You have to put in the work, period.

Learn more: The Golden Rule of Persuasion

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Persuasion Ethics

To Spin Or Not To Spin - Inception - Spinning Top
To spin or not to spin. That’s the question.
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Persuasion Ethics

Persuasion is about get­ting someone to com­ply because they want to. A manip­u­lat­or always has his best self-interest in mind, where­as a per­suader must see the world through the eyes of others. 

PR means telling the truth and work­ing eth­ic­ally – even when all the media want is head­lines and all the pub­lic wants is scape­goats. Public rela­tions fails when there is no integ­rity.”
— Viv Segal

Please note: Persuasion is not about coax­ing any­one into com­pli­ance because that’s manip­u­la­tion or coer­cion, not persuasion.

Be a per­suader. Not a manipulator.

Learn more: Persuasion Definition, Meaning, and Ethics

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Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

PR Resource: Persuasion

Free Persuasion PR Course - Doctor Spin - Public Relations Blog
Free per­sua­sion PR course.
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Doctor Spin’s PR School: Free Persuasion PR Course

Use this free Persuasion PR Course to elev­ate your pub­lic rela­tions game with power­ful insights. Drive impact and influ­ence like nev­er before.

Learn more: All Free PR Courses

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ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Silfwer, J. (2019, July 26). The Power of Artificial Scarcity. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​a​r​t​i​f​i​c​i​a​l​-​s​c​a​r​c​i​ty/
2 Silfwer, J. (2023, December 17). The Halo Effect: Why Attractiveness Matters in PR. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​h​a​l​o​-​e​f​f​e​ct/
3 Silfwer, J. (2023, December 3). Framing in PR: How To Bypass Confirmation Bias. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​f​r​a​m​i​n​g​-​i​n​-​pr/
4 Silfwer, J. (2023, December 3). Priming in PR: The Subtle Art of Pre-Suasion. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​p​r​i​m​i​n​g​-​i​n​-​pr/
5 Silfwer, J. (2013, February 7). 10 Storytelling Elements (Found in Almost All Great Stories). Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​s​t​o​r​y​t​e​l​l​i​n​g​-​e​l​e​m​e​n​ts/
6 Silfwer, J. (2023, December 4). The Bandwagon Effect: Momentum Is Everything | PR Theory. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​b​a​n​d​w​a​g​o​n​-​e​f​f​e​ct/
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

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