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Persuasion is the act of changing one’s beliefs, attitude, or behaviors through convincing them with an argument or information (Yoo, 2013). The verbal communication may be successful in persuading and manipulating one’s behavior, and this may result in fellowships for a common cause. Through persuasion, one can gain powers or favors of others. This can be achieved through utilization of threats or promises to gain leverage in social situations. Threats occur when an individual or group offers others negative consequences if they do not comply with their demands. A promise, on the other hand, offers a positive reward to the people being coerced where they are going to benefit only if they comply for the benefit of the two groups. This paper seeks to analyze Adolf Hitler, Barack Obama, and Nelson Mandela. And their utilization of communication persuasion.
Adolf Hitler was a German dictator who ascended to power in the early 1930s after the then German president died. When he ascended to power, Hitler he masterminded dictatorships and killed millions of Germans whom most of them were Jewish. From a liberal point of view, it is expected that a heartless dictator like Hitler may not convince people to rally behind him. It is worth to note that the German people were certainly not heartless and cruel, but they still supported him. In this manner, Hitler was a propagandist and a persuader who was smart enough to convince people that he was doing good for them (O’Shaughnessy, 2017).
The persuasive strategies used by Hitler included the treatment of people as a group rather than as individuals. He took advantage of the mob psychology where people thought that they were being united by Hitler. Moreover, Hitler, during his speech used the either-or fallacy. By using these words, he created a false dilemma in the minds of the audience. He could convince them that something was unethical for his benefits. For instance, he once told the Germans that “Either the German people annihilate the Jews or the Jews will enslave them.” He was threatening the Germans that if they do not act against the Jewish, the Jewish will enslave them. In this manner, he controlled the people and supported him against the Jewish who were massively killed. Moreover, Hitler persuaded the Volk though his speech that the rest of the world undermined and viewed Germans as inferior to them. The message he passed angered the people. He made the people think that the Treaty of Versailles was meant to treat the Germans as sub-human.
The effect of his message to the people was that people were killed and Germans separated themselves from the rest of the world. Through his tyrannical and propagandist leadership, the Jewish were killed. Also, since Hitler treated the Germans as a group, anybody who did not comply with the decisions and actions of the group was punished severely. The effect of his message to the people on his leadership is that it made him more powerful.
When he won the 2008 presidential elections, the whole world was surprised that the United States people had elected a black American contrary to their norm. However, his ascension to power was due to his ability to persuade the people. In 2012, president Obama won the second term (Dastpak and Taghinezhad, 2015).
Dastpak and Taghinezhad (2015) argued that Obama showed humility during his campaign and even after winning after the 2012 elections, Obama delivered a great speech where he recognized his opponent and how they both fought to win the elections. He even asked his opponent to work with him.
By recognizing his opponent, Obama showed the electorate the need for humility and that the battle for the presidency was not all about him or Romney, but it was about a common future for American people. In this manner, he won the hearts of many people. He convinced American and the world at large that leadership is not about an individual goal.
He was a South African freedom fighter and later became the first president of South Africa. He fought for the freedom of the black Africans and suffered a lot at the hands of the White colonialists. He was imprisoned for 27 years in Robbin Highlands. When he was released, he delivered a speech that later saw him emerge as president (Lieberfeld, 2014).
He began his speech with words that captured the attention of his audience. He stressed for the power of Africans to rule themselves, and he identified himself as an African by speaking in vernacular. By mentioning power, friends, comrades, and the world, Mandela spoke in the language of his supporters. This was meant to energize the South African people.
The effect of Mandela’s speech was that the South African people were energized and motivated towards fighting against the oppressive apartheid regime. The people had lost hope when he was arrested, but he reignited them by persuading them and giving them hope of freedom again.
The three personalities used different means of persuasion. Hitler used threats and manipulative means to persuade and rule his people. Barack Obama, on the other hand, did not express his persuasion directly; he just spoke, and the audience were moved by his speech. Mandela, on the other hand, motivated his people through his speech by speaking negatively about the colonialists and the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
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