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Chapter 3: Persuading Your Audience

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ENG-2050 Chapter 3

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Chapter 3: Persuading Your Audience

  1. 1. Chapter 3 Persuading Your Audience Technical Communication, 13th Edition John M. Lannon Laura J. Gurak Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Learning Objectives  Appreciate the role of persuasion in technical communication  Identify a specific persuasive goal for your document  Anticipate how audiences may react to your argument  Respect any limitations such as company rules or legal constraints  Support your argument using evidence and reason Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Learning Objectives (continued)  Understand that cultural differences may influence audience reactions  Prepare a convincing argument Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Persuasion Persuasion means trying to influence someone’s actions, opinions, or decisions. In the workplace, we rely on persuasion daily. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Implicit and Explicit Persuasion Almost all workplace documents have an implicit or explicit persuasive goal: Implicit persuasion assures readers that the information provided is accurate, the facts are correct, and the writer is fluent, competent, and knowledgeable. Explicit persuasion seeks to win readers over to a particular point of view about an issue that is in some way controversial. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. Identify Your Specific Persuasive Goal Before you undertake writing a persuasive document, first consider what you want it to accomplish, and realize that goals may overlap. Do you want to:  Influence people’s opinions?  Enlist people’s support?  Submit a proposal?  Change people’s behavior? Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Try to Predict Audience Reaction and Expect Resistance  Also consider how your audience might react to your argument. Reaction depends on how controversial the argument is or if it conveys bad news. The audience will accept or resist.  Audiences will accept an argument for any of three reasons: compliance (acceptance under pressure), identification (acceptance for personal reasons), or internalization (acceptance because the argument makes good sense). Aim for internalization. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Try to Predict Audience Reaction and Expect Resistance (continued) This graphic illustrates the three types of audience acceptance: Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Know How to Connect with the Audience Three ways of connecting with an audience are the power connection, the relationship connection, and the rational connection. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Allow for Give and Take Make a balanced argument, with both sides of the issue considered evenly and fairly: explain the reasoning and evidence behind your stance invite people to find weak spots in your case, and to improve on it invite people to challenge your ideas Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Ask for a Specific Response but Don’t Ask for too Much  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want when making an argument. Let people know what you want them to do or think.  However, remember that any request that exceeds its audience’s “latitude of acceptance” is doomed. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Recognize All Constraints Constraints are limits or restrictions imposed by the situation when you make an argument: Organizational constraints: Constraints based on company rules. Legal constraints: Constraints based on the law. Ethical constraints: Constraints based on honesty and fair play. Time constraints: Constraints based on the right timing. Social and psychological constraints: Constraints based on audience. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Support Your Claims Convincingly The most persuasive argument will be the one that presents the strongest case—from the audience’s perspective. You must: Offer convincing evidence: The evidence must have quality, use credible sources, and be reasonable. Types of evidence are factual statements, statistics, examples, and expert testimony. Appeal to common goals and values: Consider what the audience also wants to accomplish and how they feel. Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. Consider the Cultural Context Reaction to persuasive appeals can be influenced by a culture’s customs and values. Be aware of the following considerations: Recognize that cultures differ Understand the importance of face saving in all cultures Learn all you can about various business cultures Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. Review Questions 1. What is the definition of persuasion? 2. What is the difference between implicit persuasion and explicit persuasion? 3. What is identifying your persuasive goal important and what are three types of persuasive goals? 4. Why is it important to predict your audience’s reaction? 5. What are the three types of audience acceptance and how do they work? Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Review Questions (continued) 6. What are the three types of audience connection and how do they work? 7. Why is it important to allow for give and take? 8. What are the five types of constraints on an argument and what do they each mean? 9. In what two ways can you support your claims convincingly? 10. What three things can you do to ensure you consider the cultural context in an argument? Copyright © 2014, 2011, 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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