Monday, October 19, 2009

Foot-in-Mouth Persuasion

By Demetric Fane

Propaganda and persuasion have been said to be used as far back as
Adam and Eve. According to Jowett (1999), "propaganda in its most
neutral form means to disseminate or promote particular ideas."
Persuasion is used to sway the decision of individuals one way or the
other. One type of persuasion is "foot-in-mouth." This method is
also referred to as the "How Are You Today" method because it makes
people at ease before persuading them to do something.

With "foot-in-mouth" persuasion people put themselves in a trap by
responding to the simple question of "How are you today" or something
else that makes them at ease. The simple response leads to agreeing to
commit to something. According to Gass (2003), when charitable
organizations ask a person what they are feeling and acknowledge their
response they are more likely to get donations than just asking for
the donation.

Even though this technique is sly, it is very effective. It catches
a person on a more personal level. It is simple trickery. Even if a
person says that they are having a bad day, they can still get caught
in the trap of this persuasion.

Most people that are confronted with this persuasion don't expect
hard sell. They feel the persuader is showing concern or just being
nice. The best way to handle this persuasion is to think before you

D, B. M. (1994). A Relational Obligations Approach to the Foot-in-the
Mouth Effect. Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
Gass, R. K. (2003). Persuasion, Social Influence and Compliance .
Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Jowett, G. S. (1999). Propaganda and Persuasion. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

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