Persuasion part 2

What did you think of part 1 – click here ?

Did it persuade you?

Persuade you to do what exactly?

The problem with words like persuasion is their vagueness.

How about this for a book title:

“The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion”

It’s a book by Richard Vatz

Vatz is an American academic, lecturer and writer who is a professor of Rhetoric and Communication at Towson University.

He looks a bit like Einstein:

One of the things he is interested in is mental illness.

In most countries, mental illness is seen as a disease, which means it’s treatable by psychiatrists. That is, people who distribute drugs.

Vatz argues that mental illness is not a disease. Whereas something like brain disease is (diseases are mostly treatable by drugs).

But Vatz’ argument is hard to prove since most of the world believes that drugs can cure pretty much anything (making it very much in the interests of drug companies to seek out new diseases and provide drugs to cure them).

Up until recently, being gay was also treated as a disease (and many poor victims underwent all sorts of terrors in an attempt to ‘cure’ them).

Vatz is not a medical man. His mission is not to convert people away from drugs. His mission is to persuade people about things he believes in.

To that end, Vatz has spent decades looking at the evidence of how beliefs happen, and came to the conclusion that the world of persuasion (or the science of changing beliefs) is run on two principles:

1. Agenda

2. Spin

Now, it doesn’t matter what you believe about Vatz. What matters is how I’ve presented him to you.

I’ve used 4 rhetorical tools to paint him in a certain way.

I don’t know all your beliefs, but I do know one thing about you (and I am no Einstein):

You almost certainly believe, as I do, that there is something in persuasion that matters.

And from that, it follows, there is almost certainly some pattern that could, if used carefully, be woven into a web so strong, it would be hard to break free from.

The good news is it happens to be true.

But it’s not my job to convince you of that – I can only present the evidence and trust that you come to the same conclusion.

For that is how persuasion works.

It’s all down to the evidence, the agenda, and the spin.

We’ll get into the first part of how that is done next: