Persuasion is not coercion. Persuasion

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Persuasion is not coercion. Persuasion is the art of steering others to your point of view.
Effective persuasion first hooks the audience. Grab their attention right away, and never let go.
Effective persuasion uses rhetorical strategies, which appeal to three different parts of us: an appeal to our reasonable or logical side; an appeal to our emotional side; and an appeal to our desire to trust the speaker / writer. Rhetorical strategies also include rhetorical devices.
Effective persuasion leaves the audience with a clincher. Leave them thinking “Yeah!”

The Hook


Use a strong, appropriate quotation from a person who appeals to the audience

Statistic or Fact

Use an appropriate fact that “wows” the audience

Strong or Exaggerated Statement

Get your audience thinking right off the bat using no-holds barred phrasing or even exaggerated phrasing

Provocative Question

Ask a question whose answer is your point of view


Tell a short story that applies

Metaphor / Analogy

Start a metaphor or analogy in the first sentence, and revisit it throughout

Unusual Detail

Use a little-known, appropriate detail

Ingratiate Yourself

Thank the audience for listening, let them know you appreciate them


State your position very clearly. The audience should have absolutely no question about what you are trying to persuade them to do.

Logos: Appeal to Reason

Sound Reasoning

Use facts that are well-known and easily proven true

Card Stacking

Use only the facts that support your argument and leave out those that contradict it

Questionable Cause

Make one thing appear to cause another, but just because two events happen simultaneously does not mean causality


Present an argument with only two contrasting sides that ignores other possibilities

Slippery Slope

Push a real cause-effect relationship to extremes (“We better stop X because if Y has happened, then Z is sure to follow!”

Pathos: Appeal to Emotion

Appeal to Needs and Desires

Tell the audience what they want to hear to get them on your side

Appeal to Love

Make the audience think that if they love someone (like their children), they will do what you want

Appeal to Ego

Flatter the audience, pump them up and make them feel important

Snob Appeal

Make the audience feel as if they are part of an elite group

Appeal to Tradition

Make audience feel that what you want is good because it’s an old idea, it’s always been done

Fear Appeal

Make the audience think that if they don’t do what you want, something horrible will happen (war, crime, poor health, embarrassment, social isolation, etc.)

Appeal to Anger

Make the audience angry at the same thing you’re angry about (“You can’t let X happen!”)

Guilt Appeal (Appeal to loyalty or duty)

Make the audience feel as if they don’t do what you want, they will be letting someone down (their family, their country, etc.)

Ethos: Appeal to Ethics

Glory by Association

Associate yourself or your POV with someone the audience likes

Guilt by Association

Associate the opposite POV with someone the audience dislikes

Testimonial / Endorsement

Use quotations by a favorable person (authority, celebrity, etc.) speaking positively about your subject

Plain Folks

Make the audience feel as if you and they are all in this problem together


Make the audience think that everyone else agrees with you, so they should too

Poisoning the Well

Speak unfavorably about the opposite POV before anyone else (like a debate opponent) has a chance to support it

Poor Me

Make an appeal for sympathy for yourself or your cause

You Too

If someone attacks you on a specific point of your argument, counter-attack with “You are in no position to talk!”

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