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Applying Communication Theory and Imagery to Enhance Persuasive Presentations
Published by: themagicmuseum (16) on Sat, Aug 9, 2014  |  Word Count: 636  |  Comments ( 0)  l  Rating
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The last several decades have seen the development of communication theory to both explain and bolster the impact of attitude change in persuasive discourse. Understanding and applying selected communication theory can help individuals become consummate advocates. The addition of reinforcing imagery in combination with strategically chosen communication theory presents a powerful means to affect attitude change. Here follow examples of how several students employed communication theory with compelling imagery to enhance the persuasive appeal of their messages.

In a speech urging listeners to recognize the simple beauty of urban design, which he demonstrated with his own photograph of a freeway overpass, a student used three communication concepts to support his case. He opened his speech stating, “Most of you probably consider the urban infrastructure as more eyesore than art.” (Inoculation theory, anticipating and deflecting possible audience objections). Later he included, “Mies van der Rhoe, the renowned Bauhaus architect, admired the beauty of simple, functional lines. Mies would have loved the light, sleek line of this overpass. This spare, airy design fulfills the van der Rohe principle, “less is more.” (Expert testimony). He capped his introduction with a statement of purpose to boost his own credentials to address this subject. “I am an urban planning major and have spent five years photographing bridges, roads, and viaducts. From my studies and fieldwork, I hope to build your appreciation of the pure beauty of common urban structures.” (Source credibility, recognition of a speaker’s expertise and reliability).

Applying the communication principle of self-disclosure, the purposeful revelation of personal history, to a more intimate topic, a student presented a speech entitled, “Suddenly, I Realized My Grandmother Was an Artist.” Once thinking of her grandmother as possessing “an unsophisticated, old-country outlook,” this student recounted how an art history class led her to reexamine this “patronizing view.”

When spreading a quilt that her grandmother had sewn decades earlier, she immediately thought of a Paul Klee painting she had seen the day before in her art history class. The quilt pattern resembled the meticulous color coordination of Klee’s Coming into Bloom, 1934. Both quilt and painting displayed patches of color aligned in irregular, but rhythmic rows. She described how her grandmother had not simply stitched together random sections of discarded nightgowns and sheets. She, like Klee, had planned a scheme of graduated colors, understanding that the tone of one patch “influenced the value of an adjacent patch.” She described how her grandmother had centered a circular, luminous patch within a cluster of staggered, pale-green patches, giving the effect of a nighttime forest bathed in moonlight. Broadening the speech beyond the personal, she urged the audience to consider folk craft as art and to search basements and attics for such treasures (thus concluding her persuasive speech with a listener directed action step).

Theories of communication possess a rich history of empirical research. The juxtaposition of arguments with reinforcing imagery is a potent device in the communication toolkit. The thoughtful combination of theory with impactful imagery provides speakers with a dynamic means to change attitudes.

About The Author:

The Magic Museum, The Isaacson Series in Youth Literature - An enchanting children's book that tells the story of a 12-year old skateboarder (Jack) and a ballerina (Jacqueline) who whispers to him from an Edgar Degas painting in a fine arts museum. A wonderful way for parents to introduce fine art and engage children (ages 8 to 12 years old) in the art of visual storytelling and imagination.
For More Information on The Magic Museum Book, visit - http://www.isaacsonseries.com
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