Law 428 - Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Influence
Ph.D. Harvard University
Whether our goal is to convince one person in a face-to-face encounter, influence a group, sway an entire organization, or win over the public, persuasion lies at the heart of our personal and professional lives, and is the key to effective leadership. This course extracts from our knowledge of human behavior proven principles and techniques of persuasion that apply to public speaking, written communications, small group meetings, and one-on-one interactions. Students will hone their practical persuasion skills through case studies, lectures, video
examples, exercises, and role-plays.
Course objectives: The course is designed to help student become:
- Better persuaders – better at recognizing and weighing opportunities for influence, and better at employing effective strategies for building support;
- More effective at persuading superiors, peers, or subordinates within an organization, as well as people outside an organization;
- More effective at using a wide variety of communication channels: written memos and reports, face-to-face conversation, speeches before groups, messages through the media, non-verbal expressions, and communications using statistics;
- Better at determining – prospectively in the trenches – when a persuasive message is ethically acceptable and when it is ethically unacceptable;
- Better able to answer the critical question of whether we can realistically hope to become better persuaders. Simply put, is persuasiveness (and leadership ability generally) mostly an innate, natural born talent?