Sermon Illustrations > Persuasion, cf. communication > Assumptions


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People are more likely to change their opinions if you state your beliefs than if you let the audience draw their own conclusions. Pleasant forms of distraction can increase the effectiveness of a persuasive appeal. Information, by itself, almost never produces permanent changes. In time, the effects of oratory and persuasive communication wear off. People are more likely to change when the message is repeated more than once, and when the desired conclusion is presented at the beginning or at the end of the presentation, instead of in the middle. A persuasive appeal is more effective when people are required to be active (for example, by discussing an issue or by having to exert oneself to get information) than when they are merely passive listeners. Attempts to change people by arousing guilt and fear rarely bring lasting internal change. People are most likely to be persuaded when they perceive that the communicator is in some way similar to themselves. A communicator's effectiveness is increased if he or she expresses some views that are also held by the audience. An audience is more likely to be persuaded if they perceive that the communicator has high credibility. If you assume that the audience might be hostile, it is most effective to present facts first (building a case), give more than one side of the argument, and present your position at the end. Communication is most effective when information comes through different channels (for example, through pictures, brochures, media "spots," and rational arguments), from different people who present the same message, and repeatedly over a period of time.