Custom «Persuasive Memo» Essay Paper Sample

Persuasive Memo


Persuasion is an art that several people assume that you are either born with or not. Memos are one of the main ways people communicate in organizations. They can be described as a form of persuasion. Persuasion is an important marketing strategy as it is used by markers to convince people to purchase a particular product. Watching a person who has expertise in persuasion is a pure joy as one listens to their ideas, identify with them, get wrapped up in their stories and even sometimes convince one of others viewpoints. But persuasion is not the black art rather it is derived from it. It consists of a health dose of preparation, story telling, compromise and lots of practice. Everyone who interacts with other people to have something accomplished should aim at displaying some level of persuasiveness (Guadagno & Cialdini, 2002).

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Example of persuasive memo


To: All staff

CC: Darcy

From: Head of department

Date: December 12, 2010

Re: New Memo Format

It has come to my attention that you don't seem to be able to communicate important changes, needs and progress reports throughout the firm as efficiently as we should. I suggest developing one reliable memo format, recognizable by all staff as the formal means of communicating the firm's directives.

While I understand this looks like a simple solution, I suppose it will cut down on unnecessary e-mail, improve general communication and enable the staff to save essential information for later referral. Please discuss among yourselves to establish the suitable points of memo writing and provide the conclusions by 12 noon. I will then send out a notice to the whole staff concerning the new memo format.

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This memo has been written through the application of both Conger's model in persuasiveness and Cialdini's weapons that influence persuasiveness. The two are discussed below. The memo has avoided any unethical persuasion methods such as lying.

Conger's model and its application in persuasiveness

Conger's model points out that effective persuasiveness entails four major steps. The first step is:

Establish credibility

This is very significant because when people allow themselves to be persuaded by others, they are committing both their time and resources to them. In this case therefore, they need to feel like they can trust the persuader. There are two methods of creating credibility. The methods are through expertise and through relationships. One should utilize the expertise acquired in particular field to convince the listener that the information given is worth trying out. One should also create positive relationships with others so that the persuasion can be effective. If one is weak in one method, for instance in relationships, one of the things they should do is to involve like-minded colleagues who have already established strong relationships (Conger, 1998).

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Frame your goals on a common ground

This is the second step where many people fail. As a persuasive person always point out in very precise and tangible terms what benefits the perspective held will bring to the audience. A person should adjust his position or perspective to match that of the listeners in situations where the two vary. This is where an experienced persuader would really shine. Eventually persuasion is also about reconciliation a little and moving one's position closer to the one you are trying to persuade. This may entail reconsideration and readjustment of the objectives intended (Conger, 1998).

Vividly reinforce your position

The persuader's intention is best put forward through the use of stories. This is because experiences, facts, numbers and charts are hard to comprehend and remember as compared to stories. It has been found that even the most trivial or small story has a significant longevity compared to facts. Persuaders should thus reinforce their opinions through the use of stories to enhance their points (Conger, 1998).

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Connect emotionally

Persuaders should be able to connect emotionally so as to produce and effective persuasion. This is because ideas presented to the listeners are basically concerned with connecting emotionally to them. This implies that the tone and the emotional content of the presentation have to adhere to that of the listeners and their capacity to receive the messages presented. The force and strength of the messages should emerge from the judgment of the listener's state of mind and has to be gauged wisely (Conger, 1998).

Cialdini Six "Weapons of Influence"

Cialdini described six "weapons of influence". The six weapons are:


Individuals tend to pay back a favor and this is the idea behind the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. A good example of this is where Ethiopia offered thousands of dollars in compassionate aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake regardless of the famine and civil war that Ethiopia was experiencing at that time. Ethiopia was paying back for the diplomatic support Mexico offered when Italy attacked Ethiopia in 1935 (Guadagno & Cialdini, 2002).

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Commitment and Consistency

If individuals commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, chances are that they will honor that commitment because of creation of that idea as being harmonious with their self image. Even if the initial incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue honoring the deal. For example in car sales, abruptly hiking the price at the last moment works because the purchaser has already decided to buy (Guadagno et al, 2002).

Social Proof

Individuals will do things that they have seen others doing. For instance, in one research, one or more partners would look up into the sky; onlookers would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this research terminated, as so several were looking up that they stopped traffic (Guadagno & Cialdini, 2002).

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Individuals will tend to obey those in power even if they are asked to execute objectionable acts. Cialdini noted events such as the Milgram researches in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.


Individuals are easily persuaded by other persons that they like. Cialdini notes the marketing of Tupperware in what may be referred to as viral marketing. Individuals were more likely to purchase if they liked the seller.


Apparent scarcity will create demand. For instance, indicating that offers last for a "limited time only" encourages sales.

Lying as unethical persuasion method

Persuaders should not lie to the listeners in order to achieve their objectives. This is termed as violation of ethical codes of conduct. Lying entails asserting that claims are true with the objective o leading the audience to believe the claim. Lying is however different from deceiving. For instance some advertisements are deceptive in that they provide deliberate selected information of the product which may lead reasonable individuals to make conclusions about the product. These advertisements are deceptive but are not lying because they do not assert the untrue conclusions. One should not persuade others by asserting falsified claims. If a listener alters his belief through the persuader's lies he might end up doing things that are disastrous to him or others. Persuaders are thus urged to avoid lies in their persuasion efforts (Sagarin, et al, 2002).

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In any persuasive situation, listeners want to find out how they will benefit from doing as the persuader suggests. Persuaders should thus adopt the four step Conger's model of persuasion to convince the listeners that what they suggest will really benefit them. The four steps are establishing credibility through expertise, matching of goals, reinforcing positions through stories and connecting emotionally (Sagarin, et al, 2002). Cialdini Six "Weapons of Influence" should also be adopted by persuaders to establish an effective persuasion. Unethical persuasion methods such as lying should be avoided since this might be disastrous to the listener at the end.

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