Discussion: Persuasion in Everyday Life (GRADED)
For this GRADED discussion, think about a time in your life where you tried to persuade someone to do something. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be a situation that was a full-blown argument—it can be something as simple as convincing a friend to go to a specific restaurant for lunch—and it doesn’t have to be a situation where you “won” the other person over either.
Before you begin writing, please review the discussion rubric below to make sure you fulfill all of the required tasks.
When you’ve come up with the moment, write two fully developed paragraphs explaining it to your classmates. In the first paragraph, describe the moment of persuasion so that your instructor and peers can “see” it. In the second paragraph, explain why you felt like that moment of persuasion was either successful or unsuccessful. What strategies or techniques did you use to try to get the person to side with you?
Reading: Problem Identification
We encounter problems in every aspect of our lives. On a personal level, we are constantly working on such things as mending relationships with friends and family members, managing a hectic household, and addressing health concerns. In our professional lives, we also encounter problems on a daily basis, both on a small and a large scale. For example, if you are a teacher, you may spend one class period managing poor student behavior and then spend the next class period scrambling to figure out how to finish your lesson plan before the bell rings. There are also the larger-scale issues that you may deal with, particularly if you teach in a public school system, such as reconciling the tension between government-mandated initiatives and your own beliefs about what works well in the classroom.
In response to these types of industry-specific problems, researchers are continually investigating ways to fix these issues. The results of such research will impact the types and availability of careers in various fields, while also impacting people’s personal lives. For example, in the fast food industry, many companies are responding to society’s ever-growing interest in “eating clean” and “being green.” Takeout containers are made with recycled materials, and many fast food chains are ceasing to use artificial colors and ingredients in their food. Individuals in the food industry now feel the pressure to join the “clean and green” movement in order to attract and maintain customers. And as with all change, debate follows. There will always be dissenters from every viewpoint.
Introduction to Persuasion
In this course, you will practice the art of persuasion*. You will think about a problem in your field of study/profession that has at least two clear arguable sides and compose a persuasive argument* that clearly states your point of view on the issue. Your goal is to convince the audience to adopt your viewpoint. In order to do this, you will make a claim—an assertion with which your audience might disagree—and then support that assertion with evidence.
Argument in Everyday Life
The word “argument” has a negative connotation, or suggested meaning. When people hear the word argument, they often assume it is a hostile conversation about a topic. But argument can also simply mean a well-reasoned point being made about a topic, done so in a respectful, logical way. Arguments can occur between respectful parties who strongly disagree with one another’s argument, but it does not have to be hostile.
Let’s say you are sitting at Thanksgiving dinner, and you are a bit nervous because your uncle, who feels very differently about politics than you, will inevitably bring up the latest political hot topic. Knowing you have to be level-headed and reasoned in your conversation with him, in order to avoid any hostility, you choose an even tone, respectfully acknowledge what he is saying, but still hold your ground on your position toward the hot topic. Since it is different than his position, and you want to hold your own in this argument, you present him with reasons that are clear and logical. Although he may not agree with you, and you will likely not persuade him, he is more likely to at least listen to your point of view. Making sure you do not slip into insulting language, eye rolling, or walking away when he disagrees with you are all important to having an effective argument.
In all aspects of our lives, we present arguments to those around us: to car salespeople, to our children when they don’t want to do something we know is good for them, to our partners when they want to spend more money than we do, or to our grandparents when we try to get them to see the benefits of using video chats. Whether we are writing or talking to people who matter to us, argument is all about drawing people in and persuading them to at least see our point of view, if not to adopt it.
The examples in the video transcript show us how argument and persuasion can function successfully (or unsuccessfully) in everyday life. Although the examples provided are in the first person (since they are examples from everyday life), the premise in persuasive writing is the same:
· be respectful of potentially opposing positions
· use logic to ground your stance
· be clear, concise, and precise in the presentation of your argument, using indicator words such as “must,” “should,” “support,” “because,” or “oppose” to present your core argument
Most topics generate a variety of positions, not simply two positions that sit in direct opposition to each other. In fact, it is helpful to picture the potential positions on any given topic in a circular format rather than imagining two distinct points at opposite ends of a straight line. Few topics lend themselves to such an oversimplified black and white division. As most topics are complex and layered, some of the most potent arguments can be found in the grayer areas. The more complex issues give rise to multiple points of view along a continuum, something writers need to keep in mind.
Take, for example, the topic of sex education in public schools. One position on the topic is the “absolutely not” position held by some people due to their religious and/or moral ideologies. According to this position, sex education should never be taught in America’s public schools under any circumstances. Opposing the “absolutely not” position are a range of positions, not just one. Here are only four of the many possibilities:
· Yes, sex education should be taught in public schools, depending on what material is covered.
· Yes, if it concentrates on abstinence.
· No, if it concentrates on abstinence.
· No, if it begins in elementary school.
If you are writing on sex education in public schools, you will have to be familiar with all of the positions on both sides of the argument. Additionally, you will need to understand the reasons people hold these positions. Refuting any opposing position is impossible if you are unfamiliar with the issue as a whole.