What does persuasive communication really mean? It reinforces existing beliefs. The purpose may be to spur people to action, build group cohesion, or develop commitment to a shared set of goals. This approach may begin by acknowledging areas of common ground and then introducing new information that helps the audience value this commonality even more. Sometimes a message is meant to convince an audience of the rightness of a certain choice or course of action. This often involves getting people to change their minds. The use of evidence and logical reasoning are effective techniques for accomplishing this type of persuasion. Persuasive communicators also work to increase the audience's awareness and willingness to consider their position. Effective persuasion requires a target that is open to persuasion, and often this depends on how a message is framed and delivered. The final key to creating a persuasive argument is helping the audience develop a tolerance for alternative perspectives. Find out more about what makes a message persuasive and how to use persuasive communication from this free online course!

About the course

What makes one message more convincing than another? In a noisy world, knowing the answer to this question is crucial. In this course, you will discover the processes strategic communication professionals use in fields such as public relations, marketing and advertising to develop persuasive communication. More importantly you will learn strategies for evaluating your own organization’s efforts at developing more persuasive messaging strategies.

During the course, you will cover the following topics:

  • What is strategic communication;
  • What are “persuasive campaigns” and “persuasive messages.”;
  • Tailoring messages to specific audiences;
  • Message factors that impact message persuasiveness;
  • How media choice impacts persuasiveness;
  • Assessing and evaluating message effectiveness.

The Brian Lamb School of Communication is one of the world’s leading communication programmes. The lead instructor, Dr Bart Collins, directs the Lamb School’s Master of Science programme in Communication, and the graduate certificate program in strategic communication management. He also teaches coursework in the principles of persuasion and social influence.

What you will learn

By the end of this course, you will be able to successfully:

  • Describe the key elements of a persuasive message;
  • Identify the audience characteristics that need to be taken into account in persuasive message design;
  • Evaluate message strategies that are most likely to be persuasive in a given situation;
  • Identify media that will maximise message effectiveness;
  • Develop strategies for measuring campaign and messaging success.


It is expected that learners in this course are working professionals who are interested in communication processes, underlying the management and development of persuasive messages to the stakeholders of their organizations.

About the instructor

Bart Collins is a faculty member in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University (US). He studies persuasion and directs the School's Online Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication.

Starting date: 24 July 2017

Duration: 3 weeks, 2 hours per week

Language: English

Instructor: Bart Collins

Institution: Purdue University