The Science of Persuasion

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We’re used to thinking that the art of persuasion is an important tool for salespeople and politicians.  We’re also used to thinking of persuasion as just that: an art that some people just have a talent for.  Well, I’d like to introduce two ideas.  The first is that it is becoming increasingly apparent that teachers, the profession of teaching, is more in need of masters of persuasion than ever before.  Whether it’s getting your students to do their homework, to raising funds for the yearly field trip, to increasing parental involvement, to working with your school board, there isn’t a single teacher that couldn’t benefit from better persuasive skills.  The second idea I’d like to introduce is that persuasion is no longer just an art.  Social psychologists like Robert Cialdini  have been studying the science of persuasion for years now.  What this means is that those of us without the gift of persuasion can now learn it.  Cialdini’s book, Influence: Science and Practice, is a fascinating look at the science of persuasion and six universal keys–six basic principles–that govern getting to “yes.”

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