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Berrien's Persuasion Tools Model


Techniques General persuasion > Articles on persuasion > Berrien's Persuasion Tools Model

Concern | Power | The Concern-Power Model | See also


Here is commentary on simple model of persuasion that was derived by Kenneth Berrien in the 1940s. It is based on the degree to which a person uses intuition and influencing.


Intuition is a subject that some find natural and about which others are rather cynical. The implication in persuasion is that using intuition is basing methods and decisions on 'gut feel', emotion and other unconsciously-driven methods.

At the other end of the scale, working with low intuition means using more thinking, reasoning and rational approaches. This method requires facts and cause-effect reasoning more than expressions of passion or concern.

Intuition can be a very useful ability, especially when it involves 'reading' other people, detecting how they are feeling and thinking. This may be through natural ability such as empathy, or using rational skills such as reading body language.


Along the influencing axis, a high level of influencing implies greater amount of skill in changing minds. When you use influence, you typically deliberately use methods described in this website.

Many people are not trained in influencing methods, yet may have a natural skill in this area. Others may dislike the idea of using deliberate methods, yet to change minds they will still have to act in influential ways.

The Persuasion Tools Model


The Persuasion Tools Model


Low Influencing

High Influencing


High Intuition
Low Intuition


 Compromise Logic




Before money was invented, barter was the main method of getting what you wanted (other than banging the other person on the head). Bargaining is an ancient and common method of persuasion, where negotiation and equitable exchange is used to hammer out a deal which both sides can accept.

Higher intuition is needed here to understand the other person's position. You do not need high influencing skills if the deal is a simple buy-sell exchange.


To use emotions well in persuasion means understanding your own emotions as well as those of other. It also means understanding how you can control these emotions. Overall, this suggests a high Emotional Intelligence is required here.

Persuasion methods in which emotion is deliberately used requires higher influencing skills. This may seem surprising, yet this is because people are so variable that you really need to understand much of psychology to do really well at this.


When working towards compromise, you are taking the simplest route that needs little intuition and little influence as you give away things that could be retained in order to get agreement.

Compromise as a method in the negotiator's toolbox can be skilful. Here, it is the whole method, so all you can do when others demand things is to give in, with the hope that they will accept your concessions (rather than you requiring them compromise as well).


Logical persuasion relies largely on fact and figures that are used in a rational argument, where clear cause-and-effect is shown and which leads directly to a single conclusion.

People who use logic are often mystified by persuasion using other methods as they find reason to be the only true way. Other people may well see logic as cold and inhuman, missing out the all-important human element.

Good argumentation and the use of logic requires significant skills, especially if it is to be used to persuade. It is impersonal, and so requires less intuition.

See also

Argument, Emotions


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