Read This (You Won't)

April 8, 2010
From applying to college to selling a house, everything in life involves persuasion. When you apply for a job, you send in your resume (which, hopefully, makes you look good) then have an interview with the person in charge of hiring. All of these efforts are your attempt to persuade them to hire you. Same goes for a selling a house. When I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, a realtor took my family to thousands of different houses all over town. They were all staged to perfection: clean furniture, carpets, and counters, fresh paint on the walls, radiating with the smell of either sweet homemade brownies or apples, and desperately yelled, “BUY ME!” The importance of persuasion had never crossed my mind until recently when I realized that people had spent hours, days, maybe even months, setting up houses just to persuade people to buy them. Persuasion is a key factor of learning because it forces students and adults alike to learn to express opinions in a meaningful way to people around the world and have them taken seriously. Everything that a person can imagine in life involves the practice of persuasion. This is very evident in jobs and arts, such as advertising and writing.


My sister, an advertising major and author and editor of the music portions of Artist Advocacy, is an expert in the art of persuasion. She constantly convinces people to buy this gum or that shirt, or those jeans because “they’ll look great on you.” Through saying things like this gum will attract the opposite sex, or that certain jeans will make your body look better, my sister learned to please the consumer in order to get them to buy. Maybe you notice the persuasion on commercials, with ads telling you to buy this pill because it will “MAKE YOU SKINNY IN 3 WEEKS! JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER!” Or, you may find yourself going to a certain car dealership because “if you didn’t go to Sutherlin, YOU PAYED TOO MUCH!” Persuasion. That’s all it is. For students or adults to have the opportunity to pursue careers in advertising, marketing, or public relations, they have to be able to know how to be able to put the art of persuasion in action. Advertising is one largest growing profession in the world, simply because more consumers are attracted to products with effective and powerful marketing.



Do you ever read tabloids? Why do you believe what they say? You have no proof that George Clooney cheated on his girlfriend. Journalism is, nowadays, all about convincing the reader to believe and support your point, be it true, believable, or completely and obscenely ridiculous. Through writing, people have the opportunity to have an impact on their school, community and maybe even country. With persuasion, the voice of anyone can be taken seriously. This is especially important regarding children in school. Students need to have the right to say what they think. For this right to be properly used instead of abused, however, students need to be taught how to voice their opinion in a mature way. I, for one, dislike the idea that the driving age in Florida has the possibility of lowered. When I was fourteen, I was so stressed out about thinking that I may not be able to get my permit until I was 18! For a project in my history class, we had to write an article about something we cared about. I, very convincingly, wrote a legitimate essay with proof and statistics about why the driving age should not be lowered. By doing this, I felt empowered and decided to send my essay to my congressman. Lucky for me, I have my permit at fifteen. I like to think that my essay may have persuaded my congressman to fight against ideas about raising the driving age. I go to a small school, but it’s difficult to get my voice heard and taken seriously.


Persuasion comes into key in many places outside of the classroom and consumerism as well. Say one student has the opportunity to talk another out of cheating. The other student may have been affected so much that he or she then convinces another student not to cheat. This could continue on to the point where cheating in school is no longer an issue. Also, a majority of presidential elections are based off of persuasion. President Obama is known for his charisma and strong rhetoric in his speeches. Many people believe that this is one of the things that powered him over Senator John McCain because Mr. President was able to capture and persuade his audiences. Persuasion is very important in jobs such as politics because of that exactly: all politics is, is convincing the enemy to join your side.


I think quite a few politicians could use a lesson: persuasion is a more mature way to express ideas and opinions when compared to fighting. Anger is a strong emotion, but when one is upset with something, arguing it immaturely isn’t going to get him or her anywhere. Persuasion is key element in removing anger on a subject and taking initiative to change things. Take the current debate on health care, for example. Congressmen have been slurring inappropriate terms at each other, been completely immature and not good role models to the people of America. Assume one congressman speaks about why the health care bill is wrong or right, or why it should be changed. Say he uses persuasive tactics, speaks maturely, uses facts and powerful rhetoric, and models his argument after great persuasive essays and speeches. The opinion he expresses is going to be taken seriously and his voice will be heard. Contrarily, a congressman steps up to the podium and speaks using no tactics whatsoever. In this case, his opinion is not going to be taken into thoughtful consideration because what he said was seemingly meaningless to the audience. Kids who learn persuasion will be more likely to succeed in getting their opinions heard. It’s important that kids know that what they think and believe is important.


Persuasion is not only a tactic, but a common theme in life. If somebody has a great idea but doesn’t share it, what’s the use? What is that worth? If we teach kids that what they think matters, they’ll feel more comfortable in situations where their voice deserves to be heard. This essay, hopefully, has used persuasion to make my opinion heard. In school, persuasion will help you prove your point. At a job, persuasion may get you a raise. It may make you buy a product or go to a certain restaurant. Persuasion is a key factor that should be taught in school through writing and speeches so that kids can learn to voice their opinions in a responsible manner





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