Authority and Credibility

… a core concept in Communication Skills and Atlas 109

Concept description

Gary Orren identifies authority/credibility as the most important in the ethos (characteristics of messenger) cluster of persuasion principles, and authority is one of Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion science.

Cialdini notes that people will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts and cites incidents such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre. Cialdini notes how this principle can be used in an ethical manner by finding ways to inform the audience in advance of the presenter’s credibility and expertise, including by having your credentials endorsed by another person.

Resources

Marie Danziger, Creating Your Speaker Persona: A Little Larger than Life, HKS Communications Program, at http://shorensteincenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HO_WEEKS_Speaker-Persona_10-12.pdf, accessed 23 January 2016.

Boundless.com, Establishing Credibility, at https://www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/organizing-and-outlining-the-speech-10/introduction-53/establishing-credibility-212-10648/, accessed 23 January 2016.

Voice & Speech, Professional Credibility, at http://voiceandspeech.com/articles/professional-credibility.html, accessed 23 January 2016.

Changing Minds, Speaker Credibility, at http://changingminds.org/techniques/speaking/articles/credibility.htm, accessed 23 January 2016.

John Fallon, Principle of Authority, one-minute YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3aT2i2U4j4, accessed 23 January 2016

Source

Gary Orren, PowerPoint presentation in 2005 to the Mortgage Bankers Association, Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Communication, accessed 17 January 2016 and “Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion.” Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin, Secrets from the Science of Persuasion, published on YouTube 26 November 2012, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFdCzN7RYbw, accessed 17 January 2016.

Normed topic and synthetic course with which the concept is primarily associated

This concept is primarily associated with the core normed topic Practices of Persuasion and is included in the synthetic course outline Atlas109 Leadership and Communication Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 12 February 2016.

Image: Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin, Secrets from the Science of Persuasion, published on YouTube 26 November 2012, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFdCzN7RYbw, accessed 17 January 2016.