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Threat

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Threat

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get others to do as you want by making explicit threats to punish them if they do not comply with your command.

Tell then what you want them to do. You can include the threat with the first command or can keep it for use if they refuse or object.

Never make threats you are not able and willing to carry out. Never also make threats for your own pleasure. Use them when they are necessary.

Example

Soldier! Do you want to spend the next month scrubbing floors! I said get to that parade at double time!!

Time for bed. And if you're not in bed in 10 minutes, it will be half an hour earlier tomorrow.

 If you cannot be quiet I will have to keep the whole class in at break time.

Discussion

The basic transaction of a threat command is 'Do as I say or else i will cause you discomfort.' Threat is generally not a good idea as it can easily cause resentment and subtle rebellion. It also destroys relationships (or at least makes them unfriendly).

Times when you might use threats include:

  • After a failed attempt at reasoned persuasion.
  • When they will not understand a reasonable argument.
  • When you do not have time for discussion.
  • When you need to assert your authority and sustain your power.
  • When your position demands absolute obedience.

Threat is the 59th of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Relationships, Fear, Fight-or-Flight Reaction

 

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

 

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