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Rational Arguments vs Emotional Information

Is persuasion about providing rational arguments or emotionally laden information?! What can we do when soft tactics don’t work?

Providing rational arguments

Soft influence tactics generally work better than hard influence tactics. It’s better therefore to influence other people by making what you would like them to do more appealing rather than pressuring them. Of course this is not surprising if you think about your most and least favourite colleague at work.

When your least favourite colleague tries to persuade you about something it’s likely that she gets louder and pressures you into seeing things his way. When your most favourite colleague tries to persuade I’m guessing she explains, she listens and then she explains some more.

Soft tactics generally rely on providing rational arguments or emotionally laden information to get someone to see that your way of doing or saying things make sense.
So, soft tactics are preferable most of the times, but what can we do to make them work even better?

Soft tactics don’t always work

As you probably experienced, soft tactics don’t always work. As the father of two I find myself stuck sometimes after 30-40 minutes of failed rational emotional appeal and, yes, I occasionally utter those words that I never thought would cross my lips: because I said so!

Which is the quintessential hard tactic, isn’t it? Now, I don’t do that often but I think it’s useful to admit it: the same thing happens in politics when arguments sometimes fall short and then nothing happens. It works when an appeal to emotion does little to engage people in a new important initiative or project.

  • Failure of soft tactics occurs for any number of reasons related to the persuasion model used. It can be that the tactic is not used effectively, as I suggested in the last article when I mentioned the importance of listening and learning about the target.
  • Failure also can be a result of the target, in my case it home young ladies who as influence targets possess what we call the stubborn, opinionatedness, is simply hard to convince sometimes.
  • Failure can also occur as a result of other combinations of agent characteristics. It turns out that there are two important characteristics of agents that work in concert with tactics. These are the agents power base and the agents political skill.