It’s all about connection

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My students constantly hear: people don’t make decisions based on logic. They make decisions based on emotion; they justify decisions based on logic.

That means that you must have both, of course. I do not mean to devalue logical appeals in persuasive speeches. But if you want people to act, you must appeal on an emotional level as well. Continue reading “It’s all about connection”

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Who is your actual audience?

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I don’t have figures to back this up, but experience suggests that a lot of arguments aim not so much to convince the other person as to justify your position to yourself.

I had the great experience of speaking to the Foothills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship this morning about the power of storytelling. I’ve known that power for years in terms of affecting other people, and this morning’s talk focused on the power of the stories we tell ourselves. As part of that talk, we turned to the Book of Job, especially as translated by Stephen Mitchell. Continue reading “Who is your actual audience?”

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You can lessen the grip of media-induced fear

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I have heard many cry out in the last few days, “Media! Leave Newtown alone! You’re despicable!” The humane part of me agrees with this cry. But you have to understand something. That media frenzy that everyone decries? It’s all our fault. Continue reading “You can lessen the grip of media-induced fear”

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Thinking in terms of benefits

Speech and PR students, listen up: “Website Copy with Benefits: James’ Take” gets at a critical component of persuasion concretely. Unsurprisingly, it gets at audience analysis, in the sense of “understanding your audience, look at it from their point of view.” Go, go, read it all. Please, before your next persuasive speech or copywriting exercise.

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