Chapter 9- Public Opinion and Persuasion

Reading from: Public Relations- Strategies and Tactics

What is Public Opinion?

  • Public opinion can be hard to measure. Only a small number of people will have opinions on any given issue.
  • Engaging the interest of a public will involve affecting its self interest.

Opinion Leaders as Catalysts

  • Primary Catalyst in the formation of public opinion is public discussion.
  • People who are knowledgeable and articulate on specific issues can be either formal opinion leaders or informal opinion leaders.

Persuasion: Pervasive in Our Lives

  • The concept of persuasion has been around at least since the time of the ancient Greeks.
  • This dominant view of public relations is of persuasive communications on behalf of clients.
  • Persuasion can be used to change or neutralize hostile opinions.

Factors in Persuasive Communication

  • Audience analysis, source credibility, appeal to self-interest, message clarity, timing and context, audience participation, suggestions for action, content and structure of messages, and persuasive speaking.


  • Political or ideological persuasion, with emphasis on deceit and duplicity.
  • Propaganda techniques can be the same as those used in advertising and other public relations messages.

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Filed under COMM 2322, Reading Notes

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