NOTES:Adler, Ronald B. and Rodman, George Understanding Human Communication Ninth Edition Notes on Adler, Ronald Understanding Human Communication

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Should Understand:

1. The working definition and characteristics of communication.

2. The types of communication covered in the text.

3. The needs satisfied by communication.

4. The characteristics of linear and transactional communication models.

5. The characteristics of competent communication.

6. Common misconceptions about communication

Human Communication What and Why

  • Occurs between humans
  • It is a process
  • It is symbolic

There are several different types of communication discussed in this chapter:

  • Intrapersonal
  • Dyadic/Interpersonal
  • Small Group
  • Public
  • Mass

Communication helps satisfy a number of needs in our lives:

  • Physical needs
  • Identity needs
  • Social needs
  • Practical needs

Models of communication help us understand what is involved in this process.

  • The linear model is familiar, but overly simplistic
  • The transactional model better describes how people communicate.

Communication competence is a measure of a person's effectiveness. This chapter explores competence by

  • Defining the nature of competence and how it is acquired.
  • Outlining the characteristics of competent communicators.

Clarifying certain misconceptions about communication helps us understand how the process works effectively. We will consider the following clarifications of common misconceptions:

  • Communication doesn't always require complete understanding.
  • Communication isn't always a good thing.
  • No single person or event causes another's reaction.
  • Communication won't solve all problems.
  • Meanings rest in people, not words.
  • Communication isn't as simple as it often seems.
  • More communication isn't always better.

2.Perception, the Self and Communication

The self concept is such a powerful force on the personality thay it not only determines how we communicate in the present, but also can actually influence our behavior and that of others in the future. Like · · Share

John Owen A self fulfilling prophesy occurs when a person's expectations of an outcome makes the outcome more likely to occur than would otherwise have been true.

John Owen Self fulfilling prophecies operate for anxious public speakers: communicators who feel anxious about facing an audience often create self-fulfilling prophecies about doing poorly that causr them to perform less effectively.

John Owen In one study, communicators who believed they were incompetent proved less likely than others to pursue rewarding relationships and more likely to sabotage their existing relationships than people who were less critical of themselves.

John Owen On the other hand students who perceived themselves as capable achieved more academically.

John Owen Some children may do better in school, not because they are any more intelligent than their classmates but because that a teacher, a significant other or other close relationship believes that they can achieve.

John Owen The self fulfilling prophecy operates in families as well. If parents tell their children long enough that they can't do anything right, the children's self concepts will soon incorporate this idea, and they will fail at many or most of the tasks they attempt. On the other hand, if children are told they are capable or lovable or kind persons there is a much greater chance that they will behave accordingly.

John Owen Its important ti recognise the tremendous influence that self fulfilling prophecies play in our lives. To a grwat extent we are what we believe we are. In this sense we and those around us create our self concepts and thus ourselves.

John Owen In most cases the presenting self we seek to create is a socially approved image. Social norms often create a gap between the perceived and presenting selves.

John Owen Each of us can be regarded as a sort of playwright, who creates roles that we want others to believe, as well as the performer that acts out those roles.

John Owen Facework involved two tasks: managing our own identity and communicating in ways that reinforce the identities that others are trying to present.

John Owen The ability to construct multiple identities is one element of communication competence. For example the style of speaking or even the language itself can reflect a choice about how to construct one's identity.

John Owen As we perform like actors trying to create a front, ouraudience is made up of other actors who are trying to create their own characters. Identity related communications is a kind of process theater in which we collaborate with other actors to improvise scenes in which our characters mesh.

John Owen Communicators engage in facial mimicry in face to face settings only when their expressions can be seen by the other person. Studied like these suggest that most of our behavior is semiotic in nature - in othet words identity management.

John Owen Reactions like these are often instantaneous and outside our conscious awareness.

John Owen In the same way many of our choices about how to act in the array of daily interactions aren't deliberate strategic decisions. Rather they rely on scripts that we have developed ovet time.

John Owen When you find youtself in familiar situations you probably slip into these roles quite often.

John Owen At an unconscious level of awareness we monitor others' reactions and swing into action when our face is threatened - especially by significant relations.

John Owen Some people are much more aware of their impression management behavior than others. These high self monitors have the ability to pay attention to their own behavior and others reactions. By contrast low self monitord express what they are thinking and feeling without much attention to the impression that their behavior creates.

John Owen People who pay attention to themselves are generally good actors who can create the impression that they want. This allows them to handle social situations smoothly. They are also good people readers who can adjust their behavior to get the desired reaction from others.

John Owen High self monitors ability to act means that it is difficult to tell how they are really feeling. In fact because high self monitors change roles often they may have a hard time knowing themselves how they really feel.

John Owen People who score low on the self monitoring scale live life quite differently from their more self conscious counterparts. They have a simpler more focused idea of who they are and who they want to be. Low self monitors are likely to have a narrower re...See More

John Owen The need for a range of behaviors demonstrates again the notion of communicative competence - flexibility is the key to successful relationships.

John Owen Identity management is usually collaborative: communication goes most smoothly when we communicate in ways that support others' faces, and they support ours.

Alison Moyna Greene Thank you for sharing your stream of consciousness and knowledge.

John Owen 22 hours ago via mobile · Edited A consistent personality can be more of a liability than an asset - unless that personality is "flexìble."

John Owen 23 hours ago via mobile The self is essentially a social product arising out of our experiences with other people. We learn the most significant and fundamental facts about ourselves from "reflected appraisals," inferences about ourselves nade as a consequence of the ways we perceive others behaving towards.


Language has several important characteristics:

  • It is symbolic
  • Meanings reside in the minds of people, not in words themselves.
  • It is governed by several types of rules, and understanding those rules help us understand one another.

Beyond simply expressing ideas, language can be very powerful.

  • It can shape our attitudes toward things and toward one another.
  • It can reflect the way we feel about things and people.

Some kinds of language can create problems by unnecessarily

  • Disrupting relationships
  • Confusing others
  • Avoiding important information

Gender plays an important role in the way language operates.

  • The content of male and female speech varies somewhat.
  • Men and women often have different reasons for communicating.
  • Male and female conversational style varies in some interesting ways.
  • Gender isn't always the most important factor in shaping language use.

Cultural factors can shape the way we see and understand language.

  • Different cultures have different notions of what language styles are and aren't appropriate.
  • The language we speak can shape the way we view the world.


Most people need to think about listening in a new way.

  • There's a difference between hearing and listening.
  • Listening isn't a natural ability, and it takes effort and practice to do well.
  • Its probable that people will hear the same message in different ways.

Two approaches can help you become a better listener.

  • Minimize faulty listening behaviors.
  • Understand some of the reasons you listen poorly.

Most people use one of four personal listening styles.

  • Content-oriented
  • People-oriented
  • Action-oriented
  • Time oriented.

There are three ways to listen and respond:

  • For information
  • To critically evaluate a speaker's ideas.
  • To help others with their problems.

5.Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication has several important characteristics:

  • Unlike verbal communication, it is always present when people encounter one another and in many situations where they aren't physically present.
  • It has great value in conveying information about others, and much of that information isn't something others intentionally want to reveal.
  • It is especially useful in suggesting how others feel about you and the relationship, although nonverbal messages are much more ambiguous than verbal communication.

While much nonverbal communication is universal, some factors do shape the way we express ourselves and understand others.

  • Culture shapes many nonverbal practices.
  • Gender plays a role in the way we communicate.

Nonverbal communication serves many functions, when compared to verbal messages.

  • It can repeat, complement and accent spoken words.
  • Sometimes it can substitute for speech.
  • It can regulate spoken conversation.
  • It can contradict spoken words, or even deceive others.

There are many types of nonverbal communication including

  • Posture and gesture
  • Face and eyes
  • Voice
  • Touch
  • Physical appearance and attractiveness
  • Distance and territory
  • Time
  • Physical Environment


Understanding Interpersonal Communication

Linguistic theorists C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards illustrate that meanings are social constructs in their well known "triangle of meaning." This model shows that there is only an indirect relationship between a word and the thing that it claims to represent.

John Owen Problems arise when people mistakenly assume that others use words in the same way that we do. Its possible to have an argument about feminism without ever realizing that you and the other person are using the word to refer to entirely different things.

John Owen Words don't mean; people do --- and often in widely different ways.

John Owen Successful communication occurs when we negotiate the meaning of a statement. As one French proverb puts it: the spoken word belongs half to the one who speaks it and half to the one who hears.

John Owen Although most of us arent able to describe the syntactic rulrs that govern our language, its easy to recognize their existence by noting how odd a statement that violates them appears.

John Owen The power of language to shape ideas has been recognized throughout history. The first chapters of the bible report that Adam's dominion over animals was demonstrated by his being given power to give them names. Our speech shapes others values, attitudes and beliefs in a variety of ways.

John Owen Names are more than just a simple means of identification; they shape the way others think of us, the way we view ourselves, and the way we act.

John Owen Scholarly speaking is a good example of how speech style influences perception. We refer to what has been called the Dr. Fox hypothesis. An apparently legitimate speaker who utters an unintelligible message will be judged competent by an audience in the speaker's atea of apparent expertise.

John Owen Despite his warm reception by his learned audience, Fox was a complete fraud. He was a professional actor whom researchers had coached to deliver a lecture of double talk - a patchwork of information from a Scientific Amerivan article mixed with jokes, non sequiturs, contradictory statements and meaningless references to unrelated topics. When wrapped in a linguistic package of high level professional jargon, however, the meaningless gobbledygook was judged as important information. In other words, Fox's audience reaction was based more on the credibility that arose from using impressive sounding language than from the ideas expressed.

The same principle seems to hold for academic writing. A group of thirty-two management professors rated material according to its complexity rather than its content. When a message about consumer behavior was loaded with unnecessary words and long, complex sentences, the professors rated it highly. When the same message was translated into more readable English, with shorter words and clearer sentences, the professors judged the same research as less competent.


Decades of research have demonstrated that the power of speech to influence status is a fact. Several factors combine to create positive or negative impressions: accent, choice of words, speech rate, and even the apparent age of the speaker. In most cases, speakers of standard dialect are rated higher than nonstandard speakers in a variety of ways: They are viewed as more competent and more self-confident, and the content of their messages is rated more favorably. The unwillingness or inability of a communicator to use the standard dialect fluently can have serious consequences.

Language Reflects Attitudes

Feelings of control, attraction, commitment, responsibility -- all these and more are reflected in the way we use language.


Communication researchers have identified a number of language patterns that add to, or detract from, a speaker's ability to influence others, as well as reflecting how a speaker feels about his or her degree of control over a situation.

Many everyday statements will contain a mixture of powerful speech and powerless speech. Best features of powerful speech and powerless speech: a combination of self-assurance and goodwill.

Sociolinguist Deborah Tannen describes how politeness can be a face saving way of delivering an order:

I hear myself giving instructions to my assistants without actually issuing orders: "Maybe it would be a good idea to...;" "It would be great if you could..." all the while knowing that I expect them to do what I've asked right away... this rarely creates problems, though, because the people who work for me know that there is only one reason I mention tasks - because I want them done. I like giving instructions in this way; it appeals to my sense of what it means to be a good person ... taking other's feelings into account.

High status speakers often realize that politeness is an effective way to get their needs met while protecting the face of the less powerful person. The importance of achieving both content goals and relational goals helps explain why a mixture of powerful speech and polite speech is usually most effective. Of course, if the other person misinterprets politeness for weakness, it may be necessary to shift to a more powerful speaking style.

Powerful speech that gets the desired results in mainstream North America and European culture doesn't succeed everywhere with everyone. In japan, saving face for others is an important goal, so communicators there tend to speak in ambiguous terms and use hedge words and qualifiers. Korean culture represents yet another group of people who prefer "indirect" to "direct" speech.


An impressive body of research has demonstrated that communicators who want to show affiliation with one another adapt their speech in a variety of ways, including their choice of vocabulary, rate of talking, number and placement of pauses, and level of politeness. On an individual level close friends and lovers often develop special terms that serve as a way of signifying their relationship. Using the same vocabulary sets these people apart from others, reminding themselves and the rest of the world of their relationship. The same process works among members of larger groups, ranging from street gangs to military personnel. Communication researchers call this linguistic accommodation convergence.

When two or more people feel equally positive about one another, their linguistic convergence will be mutual But when communicators want or need the approval of others they often adapt their speech to suit the others' style, trying to say the "right thing" or speak in a way that will help them fit in. Employees who seek advancement tend to speak more like their superiors: supervisors adopt the speech style of managers, and managers converge toward their bosses.

Divergent speech operates in some settings. A physician or attorney, for example, who wants to establish credibility with his or her client might speak formally and use professional jargon to create a sense of distance. The implicit message here is "I'm different (and more knowledgeable) than you."

The Language of Misunderstandings

Equivocal words have more than one correct dictionary definition. Some equivocal misunderstandings are simple, at least after they are exposed. A nurse once told her patient that he "wouldn't be needing" the materials he requested from home. He interpreted the statement to mean he was near death when the nurse meant he would be going home soon.

Some relative words are so common that we mistakenly assume that they have a clear meaning. In one study, graduate students were asked to assign numerical values to terms such as doubtful, toss-up, likely, probable, good chance and unlikely. There was a tremendous variation in the meaning of most of those terms. For example the responses for possible ranged from 0 to 99. Good chance meant between 35 and 90 percent, whereas unlikely fell between 0 and 40 percent.

Using relative words without explaining them can lead to communication problems. Have you ever responded to someone's question about the weather by saying it was warm, only to find out what was warm to you was cold to another.

Improving Interpersonal Relationships


The Nature of Groups

Solving Problems in Groups

Information overload occurs when the rate or complexity of material is too great to manage. Having an abundanace of information might seem like a blessing, but anyone who has tried to do conscientious library research has become aware of the paralysis that can result from being overwhelmed by an avalanche of books, magazines and newspaper articles, films and research studies. When too much information exists, it is hard to sort out the essential from the unessential information.

Group expert J. Dan Rothwell offers several tips for coping with information overload. First, specialize whenever possible. Try to parcel out areas of responsibility to each member instead of expecting each member to explore every angle of the topic. Second, be selective: Take a quick look at each piece of information to see if it has real value for your task. If it doesn't, move on to examine more promising material. Third, limit your search. Information specialists have discovered that there is often a curvilinear relationship between the amount of informatin a group possesses and the quality of its decisions. After a certain point, gathering mroe material can slow you down without contributing to the quality of your group's decisions.

Unequal Participation

The value of involving group members in making decisions - especially decisions that affect them - is great. When people participate, their loyalty to the group increases. (Your own experience will probably show that most group drop outs were quiet and withdrawn.) Broad-based participation has a second advantage: it increases the amount of resources focused on the problem. As a result, the quality of the group's decisions goes up. Finally, participation increases members' loyalty to the decisions that they played a part in making.

The key to effective participation is balance. Domination by a few vocal members can reduce a group's ability to solve a problem effectively. Research shows that the proposal receiving the largest number of favorable comments is usually the one chosen even if it isn't the best one. Furthermore, ideas of high-status members (who aren't always talkers) are given more consideration than those of low status members. The moral of the story? Don't assume that quantity of speech or the status of the speaker automatically defines the quality of an idea: Instead seek out and seriously consider the ideas of quieter members.

Not all participation is helpful of course. It's better to remain quiet than to act out dysfunctional roles - cynic, aggressor, dominator, and so on. Likewise the comments of a member who is uninformed can waste time. Finally, downright ignorant or mistaken input can distract a group.

First, keep the group small. I groups with three or four members, participation is roughly equal; but after size increases to between five and eight, there is a dramatic gap between the contributions of members. Even in a large group you can increase the contributions of uiet members by soliciting their opinions. This approach may seem obvious, but in their enthusiasm to speak out, more verbal communicators can overlook the people who don't speak up. When normally reticent members do offer information, reinforce their contributions. It isnt necessary to go overboard by gushing about a quiet person's brilliant remark, but a word of thanks and an acknowledgement of the value of an idea increase the odds that the contributor will speak up again in the future. A third strategy is to assign specific tasks to normally quiet members. The need to report on these tasks guarantees that they will speak up.

Most groups can expect to move through several stages as they solve a problem. The first of these stages is orientation, during which the members sound each other out. The conflict stage is characterized by partisanship and open debate over the merits of contending ideas. In the emergence stage, the group begins to move towards choosing a single solution In the reinforcement stage, members endorse the group's decision.

Groups who pay attention only to the task dimension of their interaction risk strains in their relationship among members

Many naive observers of groups confuse the concepts of leader and leadership. We defined leadership as the ability to influence the behavior of other members through the use of one or more types of power - legitimate, coercive, reward, expert, information, or referent. We saw that many nominal leaders share their power with other members. Leadership has been examined from many perspectives - trait analysis, leadership style, and situational variables.


A surprising number of people will give speeches that will change their lives. Some of these will be job-related speeches, like the presentation that gets a new company funded or wins a promotion. Some will be personal, such as the toast at a friend's wedding or a eulogy for a lost friend. And some will have the potential to change the world.

The ability to speak well in public can benefit both personal and professional life. Successful public speaking can be a liberating, transforming experience that can boost self confidence and help make a difference in the world. However, most people view the prospect of standing before an audience with the same enthusiasm as a trip to the dentist or the tax auditor. In fact giving a speech seems to be one of the most anxiety producing things we can do: The Book of Lists claims that Americans fear public speaking more than they do insects, heights, accidents et al.

Despite the discomfort that speech giving causes, sooner or later most people will need to talk to an audience of some kind: while giving a class report, as part of a job, or as part of a community action group. And even in less "speech-like" situations, you will often need the same skills that are important in speech giving: the ability to talk with confidence, to organize ideas in a clear way, and to make those ideas interesting and persuasive.

Attaining a mastery of public speaking is at least partially a matter of practice. But practice doesn't always make perfect: without a careful analysis of what you are doing, practice has a tendency to make old public speaking habits permanent rather than perfect.

Choosing and Developing a Topic

Your topic should be familiar enough for your audience to understand yet, be innovative enough to hold its attention.

Look for a Topic Early

The best speakers choose a topic as soon as possible then stick with it. Adequate practice time is essential to effective speech makign, but the reasons for choosing a topic early run even deeper than that. Ideas seem to come automatically to speakers who have a topic in mind; things they read or observe or talk about that might have otherwise been meaningless suddenly relate to their topic, providing material or inspiration. The earlier you decide on a topic, the more you can take advantage of these happy coincidences.

Choose a Topic That Interests You</h3> Your topic must be interesting to your audience, and the best way to accomplish that is to find a topic that is interesting to you. Your interest in a topic will also improve your ability to create the speech, and it will increase your confidence when it comes time to present it.

Defining Purpose

No one gives a speech - or expresses any kind of message - without having a reason to do so. This is easy to see in those messages that ask for something. Even in subtler messages, the speaker always has a purpose: to evoke a response from the listener.

Sometimes purposes are misunderstood or confused by the speaker. This causes wasted time both in the preparation and the presentation of the speech. It is essential, therefore, that the speaker keep in mind a clear purpose.

The first step in understanding the purpose is to formulate a clear and precise statement of that purpose. This requires an understanding of both general purpose and specific purpose.

<h4>General Purpose

When we say you have to influence your audience, we mean you have to change the audience in some may. If you think about all the possible ways you could change an audience, you'll realize that they all boil down to three options, which happen to be the three basic general purposes for speaking.

  • 1. To entertain. To relax your audience by providing it with a pleasant listening experience.
  • 2. To inform. To enlighten you audience by teaching ti something.
  • 3. To persuade. To move your audience toward a new attitude or behavior.

A brief scrutiny of these purposes will reveal that no speech could ever have only one purpose. These purposes are interrelated because a speech designed for one purpose will almost always accomplish a little of the other purposes: even a speech designed purely to entertain might change audience attitudes or teach the audience something new. In fact, these purposes are cumulative in the sense that, to inform an audience, you have to make your remarks entertaining enough to hold its interest - at least enough to convince it that you topic is worth learning about. And you certainly have to inform your audience (about you arguments) in order to persuade it.

Any speech is primarily designed for one of these purposes. A clear understanding of your general purpose gets you on the right track for choosing and developing a topic. Understanding your specific purpose will keep you on track.

Specific Purpose

Whereas your general purpose is only a one word label, your specific purpose is expresses in the form of a purpose statement - a complete sentence that describes exactly what you want your speech to accomplish. The purpose statement usually isn't used word for word in the actual speech; its purpose is to keep you focused as you plan your speech.

There are three criteria for a good purpose statement.

A Purpose Statement Should Be Receiver Oriented

Having a receiver orientation means that you purpose is focused on how your speech will affect your audience members. For example, if you were giving an informative talk on how to sue someone in someone in small claims court, this would be an inadequate purpose statement:

My purpose is to tell my audience about small claims court

As that statement is worked, your purpose is "to tell" an audience something, which suggests that the speech could be successful even if no one listens. Your purpose statement should refer to the response you want from your audience: It should tell what the audience members will know or be able to do after listening to your speech. Thus, the preceding purpose statement could be improved in this way:

After listening to my speech, my audience will know more about claims court procedures.

This purpose statement could be improved more through the judicious application of a second criterion:

A Purpose Statement Should Be Specific

To be effective, a purpose statement should be worded specifically, with enough details so that you would be able to measure or test your audience, after your speech, to see if you had achieved your purpose. In the example given earlier, simply "knowing about small claims court" is too vague, you need something more specific, such as:

After listening to my speech, my audience will know how to win a case in small claims court.

This is an improvement, but it can be made still better by applying a third criterion:

A Purpose Statement Should Be Realistic

You must be able to accomplish your purpose as stated. Some speakers insist on formulating purpose statements such as "My purpose is to convince my audience to make federal budget deficits illegal." Unfortunately, unless your audience happens to be a joint session of Congress, it won't have any power to change U.S. fiscal policy. But any audience can write its congressional representatives or sign a petition. Similarly, an audience will not "learn how to play championship tennis" or "understand the danger of business regulation" in one setting. You must aim for an audience response that is possible to accomplish.

A better purpose statement for this speech might sound something like this:

After listening to my speech, my audience will be able to list the five steps for preparing a small claims case.

This purpose statement is receiver oriented, specific and realistic. It also suggests an organizational pattern for the speech ("the five steps") which can be a bonus in a carefully worded purpose statement.

The Thesis Statement

The thesis statement tells you the one idea that you want your audience to remember after it has forgotten everything else you had to say.

The progression from topic to purpose to thesis is a focusing process.

Organization and Support

There are several tools that are designed to make the important job of structuring your speech easier and more effective. These include

  • Working outlines
  • Formal outlines
  • Speaking notes

Following a few simple principles will enable you to build an effective outline. These principles deal with

  • Standard symbols
  • Standard format
  • The rule of division
  • The rule of parallel wording

Other principles of speech organization will be examined in depth in this chapter. These include.

  • Organizing your points in a logical manner
  • Using transitions

Beginning and ending your speech effectively will be especially important. With that in mind we will examine rules for effective

  • Introductions
  • Conclusions

The effective use of supporting materials is one of the most important aspects of speech preparation. We will explore

  • Functions of supporting material
  • Types of supporting material
  • Style of support, including narration and citation

Visual aids are a unique type of supporting material. In this chapter we will examine:

  • Types of visual aids
  • Media for the presentation of visual aids.
  • Rules for using visual aids.

Stucturing the Speech

A working outline is a construction tool used to map out your speech. The working outline will probably follow the basic speech structure, but only in rough format. You will probably create several drafts as you refine ideas. As your ideas solidify, your outline will change accordingly, becoming more polished as you go along.

A formal outline uses a consistent format and set of symbols to identify the structure of ideas. A formal outline serves several purposes. In simplified form, it can be used as a visual aid. It can serve as a record of a speech that was delivered; many organizations send outlines to members who miss meetings at which presentations were given. Finally in speech classes instructors often use speech outlines to analyze student speeches. When it is used for that purpose, it is usually a full sentence outline and includes the purpose, the thesis and topic and or title.

Presenting Your Message

Informative Speaking

Persuasive Speaking

  • Persuasive Speaking is not coercive.
  • Persuasion is usually incremental
  • Persuasion is interactive.
  • Persuasion can be ethical

Persuasion can be categorized according to the following types

  • By type of proposition
  • By desired outcome
  • By directness of approach

Preparing an effective persuasive speech can be made easier by following a few simple rules:

  • Set a clear persuasive purpose
  • Structure the message carefully
  • Use solid evidence
  • Avoid fallacies

Adapting to your audience is an important part of persuasive strategy. To do so, you should:

  • Establish common ground.
  • Organize according to the expected response
  • Neutralize potential hostility.

Speaker credibility is an essential component of persuasiveness. Characteristics of credibility include:

  • Competence
  • Character
  • Charisma

Persuasion is the process of motivating someone, through communication, to change a particular belief, attitude or behavior.

Attitudes do not normally change instantly or dramatically. Persuasion is a process. When it is successful, it generally succeeds over time, in increments, and usually small increments at that. The realistic speaker, therefore, establishes goals and expectations that reflect this characteristic of persuasion.

Communication scientists explain this characteristic of persuasion through social judgment theory. This theory tells us that when members of an audience hear a persuasive appeal, they compare it to opinions that they already hold. This preexisting opinion is called an anchor, but around this anchor are what are called lattitudes of acceptance, lattitudes of rejection, and lattitudes of noncommitment.

People who care very strongly about a particular point of view will have a very narrow lattitude of noncommmitment. Research suggests that audience members will simply not respond to appeals that fall within their lattitude of rejection. This mans that pesuasion in the real world takes place in a series of small movements. One persuasive speech may be but a singly step in an an overall persuasive campaign.

Public speakers who heed the principl of social judgment theory tend to seek realistic, if modest, goals in their speeches.

Persuasion is not something you do to audiences but something you do with them. This mutual activity is best seen in an argument between two people, in which openness to opposing arguments is essential to resolution.

Proposition of fact: issues in which there are two or more sides with conflicting evidence, where listeners are required to choose the truth for themselves.



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