Persuasion Or Advocacy?

Persuasion Or Advocacy? Which Is Better?

Whether we wish to use persuasive tactics or wish to employ advocacy tactics, we will have to do a lot of homework and make thorough preparations if our action has to achieve success. Otherwise we will cut a sorry figure.

Note : To read about Advocacy, please click here : Advocacy

What factors will come into play for adopting Persuasion as a tactic?

Let us assume that a company employee feels that he should take the initiative to:

  • Spread awareness about global warming in his office and
  • Persuade the policy makers there to abandon all practices followed by the company, which in his opinion contribute to global warming.
  • He makes up his mind to talk to a few of his colleagues first and convince them before carrying on from there to the other staff members, slowly convincing the entire company to follow “Green Policies”.

    But once he starts thinking about what should be his approach to tackle the situation, he becomes a little unsure.

    His thoughts may proceed as follows:


    “I have been reading about the issues raised by all the parties to the topic and have become an authority. Still I feel nervous about the outcome of my proposed efforts.

    The topic – Global Warming - seems to be real for me but how am I going to convince the others with all the conflicting views given by so many scientists, NASA, international agencies like the United Nations and others making it difficult for anyone to come to a common understanding?”

    Does it sound a little strange that a person who thinks of himself as an expert in a subject feels so unsure when he has to get started?

    Not at all.

    His caution and lack of complete confidence is quite justified since the method of persuasion is not easy.

    Even with the best preparations it can backfire and put him to considerable embarrassment

    Or worse - Ridicule.

    The basic components for persuasion tactics are :

  • The Persuader or the Communicator
  • The Message
  • The Format in which he wishes to communicate the message
  • The Target or the audience to whom he wishes to pass on the message.
    1. He is the Persuader or the Communicator.
    2. If he is perceived to be highly knowledgeable, then his chances of getting the attention of his target audience become better.

      But the problem here is that he is considered to be a knowledgeable person in engineering, accounting or legal matters as the case may be pertaining to his company’s products and services, but the others may not know anything about his knowledge regarding global warming and related topics.

      So he will have to make extra efforts to establish his credentials on this topic.

    3. The message he wishes to convey are very clear from his point of view:
    4. "Global warming is real and is alarming.

      Unless & until we take all the necessary actions to combat this problem, we shall face disaster in the future”.

    5. The format in which he wishes to persuade others depends on a multitude of parameters.
    6. The target or the audience are coworkers, superiors and sub ordinates of the company.

    That being the case, he may be quite confused since so many questions may torment him as follows:

  • Where do I start?

  • Whom should I meet?

  • ("Should I meet my closest associate in my own department first, so that I can proceed with the subject a little more easily?

    Since I know him very well, he will be sympathetic to my point of view as compared to some other persons in my department, who may not bother to listen to what I am trying to say”).

  • If they have to accept what I am going to say, what preparations I should make?

  • Having made all the preparations and collected all the necessary data on the topic:

  • What should I say?

  • ("Should I start with the general definition of global warming, the various parameters involved in that, with all the pros and cons involved, the kinds of doubts being expressed by both the sides and so on?")

  • How should I present what I have to say?

  • ("Should I present all the charts, temperature tables for the various years under review, satellite images and so on?")

  • What will be their reaction to what I have to say to them?

  • Will they accept it or reject it?

  • Will they praise me and cooperate with me?

  • (“Bill, we are really impressed with your knowledge on the subject and the sincerity with which you are pursuing the matter. Let us assure you that you have all our co-operation”) or

  • Will they ridicule me for this?

  • (“Hey, why don’t you invite Al Gore to make the presentation on your behalf? After all he has all the details ready-made for you?” followed by coworkers slapping each other’s backs and guffawing loudly) or

  • Will they get angry and tell me to mind my own business?

  • The above is just a sample list of a few questions that may arise in the minds of those who wish to use persuasion as their tactic to convince the others to follow a particular course of action.

    Well, he can end his confusion and achieve success by becoming a

    Green Consultant

    For a complete understanding on the methods of persuasion, please click here : (opens a new window)

    Community Tool Box

    Refer to Chapter 6 Section 2: Using Principles of Persuasion

    Source: We are very grateful to the Community Tool Box for excellent information on Human Psychology.

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