The Basics of Persuasion:

Photo representing persuasion with the use of an alarm clock.

Thank You for Arguing: Summary of Chapters 1, 2, and 4

Chapters 1, 2, and 4 of Heinrichs’ “Thank You for Arguing” discuss a number of tactics and theory discussing ways in which one can convince others.The chapters illustrated just how frequent persuasion and arguments are in our lives. It also defined persuasion outside the typical parameters of person v. person argument, including inanimate objects like an alarm clock as persuasive. The difference between arguing (winning over an audience/persuading) and fighting (winning: typically short-lived) was another important take-away as was Heinrichs’ basics to beginning a successful argument. To do so, one must have a goal in mind, change their audience’s emotion(s), opinion(s), and convince them to act all with appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos. 

Personal Thoughts and Application of Chapters 1, 2, and 4

As I read the first few chapters, I found myself analyzing my own interactions with my family. I wanted silence to focus on homework but I didn’t want to work in another room, so I offered to retrieve my mom’s earbuds for her when she was watching a video out loud. In previous situations, I may have gotten annoyed and would not have offered any solutions to the situation. Essentially, I would have fought and then would have likely had to switch rooms to work. Instead, I spoke in the future tense (“I can get your earbuds for you”) and appealed to logos (earbuds would make us both happy: I get silence, she gets her video). The chapters and my own exercise also helped me realize that I often do not know my ultimate goal when I fight like I do when I argue. I was able to think through what was most important to me. Having silence was more important than avoiding getting up for a moment. My situation and Heinrichs’ snowy-day shorts anecdote both exemplify that many successful arguments are largely based around concession and compromise. I won my argument. Upon my offer, my mom decided to turn off the video altogether, and I didn’t have to get up to grab her earbuds. 

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