Do You Have Ability or Power To Persuade?

January 29th, 2009

The art of persuasion can be used to get humans into bed or to get them to buy material goods. What I am interested in is using the art of persuasion to sell ideas. You might use it to sell an idea like a new computer architecture, the end of hunger, a sustainable ecology or that gay and straight humans should have strict equality. You might use it to persuade humans to give up some bad habit like smoking tobacco, abusing alcohol, an obsolete violent religion or cruelty to animals and children.

These hints may be useful to altruistic humans or future artificial intelligences. Knowledge of these techniques may also be useful in defending yourself from persuasion by people who are considering only their personal benefit. Here are the techniques I have learned. I have not yet thought out which ones are ethical.

Techniques:

# Reward humans with attention when they seem to be moving in the right direction.

# In debate, concede as many points as you possibly can. Your opponents will then perceive you as emminently reasonable and stop fighting you so hard.

# f you want to get humans angry at some injustice, don’t model anger. They will think you already have it covered and do nothing. Just calmly tell them the facts and let them create their own anger.

# Look on every response to what you say, no matter how vitriolic, as a gift from the universe to continue the debate. The worst thing that can happen is humans will ignore you totally. Treat every attack as a cry for more information.

# Express your own doubts about anything you say. The more middle-of-the-road you are in any controversy the more weight you have as a wise unbiased judge.

# There is no end to what can be accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit.

#Use colourful language. Play on all the senses.

It is possible to improve your skill as a persuader. Check out persuasion book. Some important note: learn how to communicate your passion for your position and how to judge your audience’s emotional state. Next, listen carefully to the other party’s concerns and try to find some common ground. Increase your persuasive ability by using vivid language and compelling evidence to reinforce your position.

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