Want to influence the people in your social circle in a friendly way? Want to create a lasting impact on your business clients and audience? Learning the most popular persuasion theories can help you greatly.
Persuasion is a skill that takes a lot of practice to master. Understanding the psychology behind how people are persuaded can help us deliver information more effectively and be more influential in our personal and professional lives. “The hacks for conversion and persuasion begin with psychology… To understand persuasion and social media influence, to get at the heart of conversion and likes, it helps to understand how your audience thinks and feels,” writes Kevan Lee, VP of Marketing at Buffer.
Persuasion vs manipulation
Before you can gain mastery over the art of persuasion, it is crucial that you realize the difference between manipulation and persuasion. And the primary difference between the two is truth and honesty. Persuasion involves a lot of honesty while manipulation is riddled with lies. “In the use of persuasion, the other person knows that we are trying to convince them of something, because we have shared it with them. Instead, in manipulation you tend to hide or disguise this fact,” explain an article in Exploring Your Mind.
Persuasion is an art and skill that provides you the ability to influence other individuals in a friendly, honest and mutually-beneficial way. When you understand the difference between being persuasive and being manipulative, developing the right persuasion skills can prove to be highly beneficial for your career and life. Moreover, it can also empower you to help others as well.
But how can you persuade someone better? This is why we need to understand a few basic psychological theories that have been established and proven by science. So if you want to improve your persuasion skills, today we are going to talk about 10 popular persuasion theories that will help you to persuade and influence your audience.
Top 10 Persuasion theories you must know
Here we are going to take a brief look at 10 most popular persuasion theories which can make you more influential and your audience more receptive. Take a look.
1. Amplification Hypothesis
According to this theory by Clarkson, Tbormala and Rucker, your chances of persuading others will improve if you can project the attitude as your listener. Kevan Lee writes “When you express with certainty a particular attitude, that attitude hardens. The opposite is true as well: Expressing uncertainty softens the attitude.”
The amplification hypothesis proposes that when the attitude for delivering an argument is determined, then it can get rather resistant to persuasion. When you are more emotional while presenting to someone who prefers a cognitive approach, you will have no impact on them. The same logic is applied to the reverse.
2. Ultimate Terms
One of the simplest yet most effective persuasion theories is the use of ultimate terms. Words can be highly powerful and certain words have more impact than others. “The choice of words we use when delivering arguments can have a profound influence on others,” adds Psych2go. This theory proposes that there are 3 types of persuasive words that we can use to influence others. These include:
- God terms: These power words demand obedience or carry blessing. This includes terms like value and progress.
- Devil terms: These refer to negative words that evokes feelings of disgust and hatred, like dangerous, narcissist, toxic or even rapist.
- Charismatic terms: These are words that are intangible in nature and are usually less noticeable. For instance, contribution and freedom.
3. Sleeper Effect
This theory refers to the strategy of using messages with subtle persuasion and increasing them in frequency over time. Least persuasive messages most of the time come from sources that aren’t much credible. However, when the message is separated from its source, it can become persuasive.
Kevan adds “Persuasive messages tend to decrease in persuasiveness over time, except messages from low-credibility sources. Messages that start out with low persuasion gain persuasion as our minds slowly disassociate the source from the material.”