Posted by: loveleigh | April 1, 2009

Ch.9: Public Opinion and Persuasion

There are a few different definitions of ‘public opinion,’ one is “Public opinion is the sum of individual opinions on an issue affecting those individuals.” Another definition states: “Public opinion is a collection of views held by persons interested in the subject.”

‘Opinion Leaders’  are people who are knowledgeable and articulate about specific issues. Sociologists have defined two types of leaders:

  1. Formal Opinion Leaders. These are elected officials, presidents of companies, or heads of membership groups.
  2. Informal Opinion Leaders. have considerable influence on their peer groups by being highly informed, articulate, and credible on certain issues.

Richard Perloff, author of The Dyanmics of Persuasion, defines persuasion as “an activity or process in which a communicator attempts to induce a change in the belief, attitude, or behavior of another person through the transmission of a message in a context in which the persuadee has some degree of free choice.”

Many factors are involved in persuasive communication:

  • Audience analysis
  • Source credibility
  • Appeal to self-interest
  • Clarity of message
  • Timing and context
  • Audience participation
  • Suggestions for action
  • Content and structure of messages
  • Persuasive speaking

But we have to remember that PR people are advocates of clients and employers and PR practitioners must conduct their activities in an ethical manner.

All this information has been provided by Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics (9th edition) by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron


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