A message is the content of a piece of communication. Some
messages are more persuasive than others:
- Messages that provide both arguments and counterarguments for
a position are more persuasive than one-sided messages.
- Messages that arouse fear are likely to be persuasive if
people think that rejecting the message will bring about a highly
undesirable consequence and that accepting the message will prevent
a highly undesirable consequence.
The target of a persuasive message is called a receiver. Certain
factors influence the persuasiveness of a message for receivers:
- If receivers are forewarned about a message, they are less
likely to be persuaded by it.
- Receivers are more likely to be persuaded by messages that are
compatible with their own existing attitudes.
- Receivers are less likely to be persuaded by messages that try
to alter a strongly held attitude.
The channel is the medium used to send the message. Newspapers,
television, the Internet, radio, movies, direct mail, word of mouth,
magazines, and billboard advertisements are just a few of the different
media through which people might encounter a persuasive message. The
medium can influence the persuasiveness of the message.
Example: An article in a newspaper about the dangers of
a popular herbal supplement may be more persuasive than
a website devoted to the same topic.
Means of Persuasion
Some effective means of persuading people include:
- Repetition of the message
- Endorsement of the message by an admired or attractive individual
- Association of the message with a pleasant feeling