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Audience-Use

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Audience-Use

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Ask a person to do something that you want done when there are other people there, rather than asking them when they are alone.

This will be more effective where the person does not want to appear unhelpful to those other people. It is risky if those other people seem likely to speak up on behalf of the target person (for example if they are friends of the target person and especially if they have little respect for you and are not beholden to you).

Example

A child asks his mother if he can go to play with a friend when the friend and the friend's mother are present.

In a business meeting, a manager asks a peer to take action on a particular item. The other person feels unable to refuse.

A man asks a woman out on a date when there are other people there. The woman feels unable to say no without feeling unkind.

Discussion

We are strongly influenced by others as we seek belonging and esteem that gives us entry and position within social groups. This principle, of caring what others think about us, even applies when we make a mistake and are embarrassed in front of strangers we will never meet again. A particular social rule, that we should help others, can lead us to agreeing to many social requests.

Normative social influence is the very powerful force on people to act in similar ways to other people (conforming with social norms). In Solomon Asch's famous line-length experiments, subjects claimed that two very different lines were the same length after everybody else in a group (who were in fact stooges) made the same claim.

Audience-Use is the sixth of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Normative Social Influence

 

Kellermann, K. & Cole, T. (1994). Classifying compliance gaining messages: Taxonomic disorder and strategic confusion. Communication Theory, 1, 3-60

 

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