Thursday, January 16, 2014

Using Values in Persuasion

Using Values in Persuasion
As persuaders, we need to think about what is important to our target audience. An individual’s values are what s/he believes to be important in life.

If properly understood, values can be used in at least two ways: 1) in developing commonality with the audience by showing you share certain values, thus making you more trustworthy, and 2) by using things the audience values as motivation for taking the desired action you seek of them in your speech.

Some values are ends in themselves, while some are means to attain those ends. To help understand this, it is useful to be familiar with the work of Milton Rokeach. His research focused on human values and in his 1973 book The Nature of Human Values, he identified two kinds of values, “Instrumental” and “Terminal”. Terminal values are goals people believe it is important to attain in their lifetime, while instrumental values are specific behaviors or characteristics that help us attain our terminal values.

The following are the values Rokeach identified as being valuable to people.

Terminal Values
Instrumental Values
  1. true friendship
  2. mature love
  3. self-respect  
  4. happiness
  5. inner harmony
  6. equality
  7.  freedom
  8. pleasure
  9. social recognition
  10. wisdom
  11. salvation
  12. family security
  13.  national security
  14. a sense of accomplishment
  15. a world of beauty
  16. a world at peace
  17.  a comfortable life
  18. an exciting life
     1.         cheerfulness
     2.        ambition
     3.       love
     4.       cleanliness
     5.       self-control
     6.       capability
     7.       courage
     8.       politeness
     9.       honesty
     10.   imagination
     11.   independence
     12.   intellect
     13.   broad-mindedness
     14.   logic
     15.   obedience
     16.   helpfulness
     17.   responsibility
     18.   forgiveness

Please note that order of importance varies from individual to individual. Thus you must think about your target audience and what you think they would deem more or less important and construct your message accordingly. Your goal is to explicitly state how the action you ask of them in your speech will help provide them with the things they value.

I hope you find this useful. 

That's all for today my friends. Be well, speak well, and as always, thanks for reading.

For more information about Dan Leyes Consulting work, see Semiosphere Consulting.