Power of Persuasion Essay

Submitted By franturner
Words: 1040
Pages: 5

Ladies, we all know it begins with ‘I’m just going for a quick drink with Steve.’ While ‘Steve’ is as easily exchanged with Simon, Pedro or SpongeBob, as your new Topshop sweater as it makes you look ‘podgy’! So you just let him get on and reply ‘okay dear.’ God knows how but before they know it, they’ve stumbled home at 3am and now have two hurdles to face. Numero uno, get the 4cm key through the 2mm width gap; the world most impossible task for drunkards. Numero dos, simply not wake anybody up. However common sober knowledge dictates they have absolutely NO chance of completing these tasks successfully, efficiently or effectively. Bless them, they think they have the smooth of 007, when really they’re as quiet as an elephant in a prayer group. Slumped on the sofa, they naively turn on the TV, while we all know this means one thing...Teleshopping...

The next morning, you awaken, not feeling as fresh as you’d like to after the rude disruptions to your beauty sleep. Surprise surprise,mouth open, there he is snoring like a pig, with a credit card still poised ready. He;s having the cringe-worthy flashbacks of the ‘night before’ but you still try and get some sense out of him. Suddenly you receive the confirmation email to see that ‘within the next 3-5 working days’ you will be the proud owner of an ‘Abs King Pro’ workout machine, and a 12 pack of Sudoku toilet roll. Good for you.

You know it’s isn’t entirely your partner's fault, so he can take comfort in that (although you could have fun here). It’s the sleaze on TV with squeaky white teeth and slicked hair, talented in using fancy words and his expansive vocabulary to persuade you into buying things by enticing your senses (he could probably even sell ice to an eskimo).Sometimes these features of persuasive language can be so subtle that most of the time, you can’t even notice they’re there however this is a talent amplified by a pint or two at your man’s end. This stretches far from just Teleshopping, we’re continuously subjected to the tricks of the media, convincing us that we need good X, product Y and service Z.

Now ladies, you’re not someone who falls for every trick in the book, we know that the creator of the adverts want something from us (usually money). We try and avoid it but we aren’t immune and we often find ourselves being the one holding the persuasive power. An example you’ll be familiar with; you’re in the kitchen, doing ALL the housework and your partner is in the lounge having another few beers whilst watching the Chelsea match, you suggest ‘it’d be great if you could quickly run the rubbish out, please’. The modal auxiliary ‘could’ softens the hidden imperative as he knows you’ve never actually directly asked him. Yet in hiding the order you’ve managed to manipulate him and once again he’s outside in the freezing cold, shivering, putting the rubbish in the bins. Like the rest of society, you’ve simply learnt to use language to influence and control. Because you added ‘please’ it creates the impression he’s doing you a huge favour, he’s a hero and it actually allows him to save face.

Except, being a male, he doesn’t do it when asked. You know fighting will be ineffective so instead you remain tactful and strategic and use the rhetorical question ‘have you taken the rubbish out yet?’ Your use of the second person subtly acts as a pre-emptive for the fact that it is still his job and that you’ve never actually done it since you moved in together. Successfully, your language means you hold the power in this conversation. A famous linguist called Normal Fairclough states that there is ALWAYS a power imbalance in social interactions and situations; it’s just a case of whether the language they use gives them that supposed power (power in discourse), or whether the power is…