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Authority Appeal

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Authority Appeal

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Use the authority that you have to tell people what to do. If necessary, remind them of that authority.

Speak directly and clearly, describing exactly what you want, including when you want it to be done. Neither be arrogant nor uncertain. Act as if you have the right to ask or tell as you do. If they refuse or show uncertainty, re-iterate your authority over them. With continued refusal, show them the consequences of their continuing to refuse.

Example

It's my job to get this work done, and I want you to bring me a plan for your part by the end of the afternoon.

I'm your father and I'm telling you to go to bed now.

Sorry, sir. You are not allowed in there.  

Discussion

There are various ways people can hold power, and formal authority that is invested in them by others is a very common one for such as managers, parents, teachers and police officers. This seldom gives absolute authority and the border between what can be commanded, and what cannot, may be rather vague. In such situations, the confidence of the authority figure in issuing commands can be quite significant.

A part of the role of having formal authority is in 'wearing the hat' and acting the part. This includes acting in ways that may not be natural to you. This can require courage but is essential in order that you play your part. Not to do so is to disrespect and diminish the role, and could cause you problems in future.

Authority Appeal is the seventh of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Power, Authority principle

 

Kellermann, K. & Cole, T. (1994). Classifying compliance gaining messages: Taxonomic disorder and strategic confusion. Communication Theory, 1, 3-60

 

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