… a core concept in Communication Skills and Atlas 109

salienceConcept description

Garry Oren identifies salience as one of the logos (logical argument) principles of persuasion.

People will engage, and perhaps be open to persuasion, when an issue has high salience, that is the issue is important and relevant to them. defines salience as follows.

Salience means importance. Your birthday will always be a date that jumps out at you with a lot of salience or importance. Salience comes from the Latin salire, meaning “to leap.” Something with salience leaps out at you because it is unique or special in some way. This could be an issue — like health care reform, or a day — like 9/11, or even something someone said — like the State of the Union address. If it jumps out at you as remarkable or special, it’s characterized by a quality of salience.” (At, accessed 21 January 2016.)

Orren suggests that a fundamental idea in this principle of persuasion is audience sovereignty. For a description of the evolution of audience engagement in the theatrical world, see the review of Richard Butsch’s book The Making of American Audiences at, accessed 21 January 2016.

The concept of salience plays a key role in the theory of agenda-setting, the psychological process whereby the importance of an issue to a person is affected by the nature and extent of media coverage (see Agenda Setting Theory at, accessed 21 January 2016.

Resources, Strategies for persuading different kinds of audiences, at, accessed 23 January 2016.


Gary Orren, PowerPoint presentation in 2005 to the Mortgage Bankers Association, Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Communication, accessed 17 January 2016.

Topic, subject and Atlas course

Persuading in Communication Skills and Atlas109 Leadership and Communication Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 3 December 2019.

Image: dathta, at, accessed 21 January 2016.