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    NARRATOR: Mike Siegel is a communications consultant; a media giant; a pop culture icon, you can find him on Wikipedia; a big mouth lawyer; a liberal turned conservative; an advocate of business; a bit of a health nut; and a good momma's boy from Brooklyn. What most people don't know is that Mike Siegel has a PhD in communications, volunteers for several charity groups, and has dedicated much of his life to higher education both as student and teacher. Now, enjoy this presentation from Dr. Siegel.

    DR. SIEGEL: Well folks, we have been covering a whole range of communication issues during this series of broadcasts, and I hope that you've enjoyed them, and I hope that you're learning something from them. One of the things that is vitally important to do is to make sure you relisten and relisten and relisten, because none of this is going to make any sense unless you internalize what we are talking about and especially when we talk about persuasive communication and the power of persuasive communication. It is essential that you understand how you go about creating a persuasive message, both verbally and nonverbally. Of course, we are going to get to nonverbal communication in another program, but let's talk about persuasion, because in effect, persuasion is the creation of a message, whether it is a speech or two people sitting down and having a conversation or a small group of five or six people trying to make a decision for a company about what direction to take on a particular issue. In effect, persuasion is influencing the attitudes or beliefs or values or behavior of the people you are involved with in that communication process.

    Now what is an attitude? Very simply, it is a complex mental state, and it involves a whole range of thought process about how you feel toward things in the world. It involves your beliefs and your feelings and your values and your dispositions towards certain points of view. How about your belief system, if you want to affect somebody's belief system? Well a belief is a cognitive content. In other words, the thought process that you hold as true, what you believe to be true, what you hold as the truth as you see it, and then the value that someone holds. Well this is an ideal. This is a very large, broad ideal accepted by an individual or a group and so you are going to be wanting to affect one or more of those attitudes, values, or beliefs and then also very possibly people's behavior. You want to affect people's behavior. For example, if you are doing a speech, trying to get people to donate money to a particular charity, you are going to want to appeal to them in terms of their values. Maybe it is a charity for children who are neglected or abused and you want to work with an organization that helps these children, and maybe you want people to donate money to that organization because you know they do great work for the children. You've got to get to somebody's values about wanting to protect children, their attitudes about making sure that our future generations have the basis for going forward and being successful in this society, and some of these kids do not get that break because they come from dysfunctional homes. If an organization is helping them, you want to make that point by really appealing to the attitudes people have about those children. Same thing with beliefs. The bottom line, though, in that case is you want them to donate money. That is the behavior. Well let's talk about that with Scott Thayer, who is a premier individual when it comes to the communications. He has had great experience and background in this field. And Scott, does that make sense to you about trying to appeal to people really in their mental state, the values, beliefs, the attitudes, in order to then get them to carry out the behavior you want?

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    SCOTT THAYER: Absolutely, Mike, and it is great to be with you again. I think it is extremely crucial that we understand number one, our message that we want to bring across, and then number two, to understand the mentality and mindset of the listener. The best way to do that is to get to know their values, get to know their beliefs, get to know their attitudes so you can influence their behavior.

    DR. SIEGEL: Well, then, let's take that point. Let's say you are going to be talking to a group of people about donating money to an organization that helps abused or neglected children, and they work with these children on a regular basis. If you were talking to a group of people in their 20s, primarily unmarried young people, young professionals, if you will, who do not have children themselves, Scott, would you approach them in the same way as you would a group of grandparents who are coming in to sit down and hear you about this issue and you want to get them to donate. Would the presentation to those 2 groups be similar, or would their be differences?

    SCOTT THAYER: Simple answer is no, they would be extremely different. I think to the grandparent, you can relate to their emotional side because they have grandkids, and in their mindset, they can picture their grandkids going without who are hungry, maybe who are abused, whereas if you are speaking to a single individual with no kids and you want to appeal to them, you want to, you know, you would go after their greater sense of community and the greater since of their desire to be part of something bigger than what they actually are.

    DR SIEGEL: Now that is a very important point, and I think it is pretty obvious in people listening and understand that when you come in, it is not a predesigned presentation, folks, that you want to make be persuasive. It has to be couched in terms of the attitudes, values, and beliefs of your audience. Obviously, if you have a group of young people in their 20s just starting out in their careers, they are going to look at this very differently in terms of donating to a charity that helps abused children than would a group of grandparents. That is an extreme example, but it is to make the point that every group has subtle differences. Even in a one-on-one conversation, there are subtle differences, and each message has to be presented in terms of those values or beliefs or attitudes of that particular person or of that group. But let's go to the elements of persuasive communication, Scott, and deal with these one at a time. Historically and traditionally, these three have withstood the test of time. First one being source credibility. Give me your thought about what source credibility, see if you can, from that phrase, what do you think that means?

    SCOTT THAYER: I would take that, Mike, as meaning the source being the presenter, being the speaker, the one who is trying to persuade. The credibility factor would come in; does the audience really believe that this presenter really knows his stuff, believes his stuff, but not only that, lives out his stuff that he is presenting. So source credibility, I would take that as meaning does the guy who is trying to persuade me really believe and live out what he wants me to do.

  • About the Author

    Mike Siegel is a communications consultant, a media giant, a pop culture icon (you can find him on Wikipedia ™), a big mouth lawyer, a liberal-turned-conservative, an advocate of business, a bit of a healthnut and a good momma's boy from Brooklyn. What most people don't know is that Mike Siegel has a PhD in Communications, volunteers for several charity groups and has dedicated much of his life to higher education both as student and teacher.

    Mike has made numerous appearances on a variety of television talk programs including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, Politically Incorrect, Geraldo, Fox News Sunday and more. He is revered and respected but most of all he is a great lover of learning and strategic communication. We invite you to learn more about how Mike's broad professional experience and communications expertise.

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Power of Persuasive Communication

Have you wondered why you have lacked success in getting others to think or act as you would like? You can eliminate that question and be effective as a persuasive communicator. Learn from this program to apply the necessary techniques.

Mike Siegel is one of the nation’s foremost experts in media and communication. He is an author, attorney and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, with a PhD in Rhetoric and Communications. Few others are as uniquely qualified for understanding the nature of human communication, the political system and business positioning.

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