Key Factors in Persuasion

A common goal for PR practitioners is to change the opinions and behavior of individuals. There are several factors in persuasive communication that are very effective in doing so.

One of these is the appeal to self-interest and need. This is the part where you would seek to reflect what the audience is interested in or communicate what they will get in return. Practitioners should also not ignore psychological needs and rewards. Giving recognition to people is highly important. Giving honor can go a long way for long-term beneficial relationships. In other words, making an audience feel appreciated can maintain attitude or behavior change for the long-haul. (For more ideas on this read up on Maslow’s hierarchy.)

Another is audience participation. This means that it is the PR practitioner’s goal is to get the public to perform actions that will lead them closer to changing their views or opinions as desired by a company or organization. If you can get someone to take a little step, they will be more likely to take the step when something bigger is requested. This means that it is important to tell the audience how they can take action.

Source Credibility is also a key factor in persuasion communication. The audience will be looking for who is delivering the information. They will be asking, “Does the source have expertise, sincerity, and charisma?”

Reinforcement is key because when you know what your audience already believes, then you can affirm that and work from that. Finding that mutual ground opens the audience up to listen. This may not always be possible and that is why it is always necessary for PR practitioners to do the research on their audience. However, when it is possible behavior can be significantly changed.