COMM 339 -- Persuasion

Dr. Lee McGaan  

  Office:  WH 308  (ph. 309-457-2155);  email
  Home:  418 North Sunny Lane (ph. 309-734-5431, cell 309-333-5447)

Fall 2016 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30 - 10am, 11am - Noon & 1 -2pm TTh:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2016

The Persuasive Message Strategy Presentation

Term Project - Part II

The second assignment in our Persuasive Campaign Term Project asks you to


A.  Prepare a message (or perhaps a set of closely-related messages/activities) that you might create for your campaign (as you described it in your Overview/Audience Paper) NOTE:  The term "MESSAGE," as used in this assignment and throughout the campaign plan, refers to some sort of tangible "text" that your campaign will deliver to some or all the members of your audience.  The message might be a letter, a newspaper article, a radio or TV commercial, a poster, an email message, a web page, a speech you or someone else might give at some specific event, a billboard, etc. etc.  Your "message" is NOT your main theme or your whole campaign concept.

B. Make a presentation to the class (i.e. a speech) describing the strategies that explain your design of your message. 


Read the "Note" below before beginning this assignment.

NOTE:  This is not an assignment in which you present a number of or all of your campaign messages. This is not an assignment in which you are to describe your whole campaign. The best presentation is one which  

a) shows us one (or at most two or three) specific message,

b) gives us a clear context for the message in terms of the campaign, the audience and the goals, AND 

c) spends about three quarters of its time discussing persuasion theory and research (using the names of theories and persuasion terms concerning research and tactics) and how theory and research influenced the design and strategy of the message

If you do decide to do more than one message, the messages must be closely related and all must have the same goal and the same specific audience.  The more messages you attempt to describe, the lower your grade is likely to be.  Students in the past who have chosen to talk about their whole campaign (which is the NEXT assignment NOT this one) have typically received grades that are one to three letter grades lower than those who follow directions.

1.   The "message" you create and will explain in your presentation for this assignment could be directed toward the general audience you described in your Overview/Audience Paper or it could be directed toward one of the specific audience segments you described.  In either case, the class and I should be able to see 

a.  how your audience analysis has influenced your message design, and

b.  how the message will advance one or another of the SPECIFIC purposes of your campaign. 


The message may be of any type, for any medium.  That is, a message could be an advertisement for newspaper, radio or TV, a persuasive speech for some particular setting and occasion (you determine that), a script for a phone solicitation, an outline of a personal conversation, a (direct mail? email?) letter, a poster/billboard, or any other type of message that fits a relevant campaign purpose.  [ Note: Be wary of using a poster or flier as your message as these items are so brief and common as to make poor vehicles to illustrate your savvy as a persuader, at least  in most cases I have seen.]

At the time of your presentation you should submit to me


1.   a “copy” of your message (or a very clear description of it, e.g. outline or script) that shows how the message would be presented to the receivers, and

2.   an outline of your presentation indicating how the message was designed and adapted to audience and purpose. 


Be sure you are very clear in stating the specific campaign purpose your message intends to accomplish for some or all of the members of the audience toward which it is directed.  Indicate the medium you will use and the context and timing in your campaign when this message will be delivered.


2.     Your presentation should reveal your message strategy to the class.  To do that you will need to briefly explain your campaign topic, audience and goals.  For the message your presentation explains, the class and I will need to know

  1. the audience or specific audience segment it is designed to affect,

  2. the specific campaign goal you hope this message will accomplish, and how features/dimensions of the audience influenced your construction of the message. 

  3. the timing in the campaign when the message will be delivered to the targeted audience and the medium used (e.g. flier, radio ad, etc.)

  4. the substance of the message itself, that is we will need to see the message or see an outline or a clear description of the message itself so we can follow your presentation's discussion of the theories and appeals you used to design it.

  5. the persuasion theories (from the  beginning weeks of the class), credibility research findings, and "appeals" (found on the web pages and in Age of Propaganda)

Treat the presentation as you would any good informative speech by a communication professional (e.g. use AMOBUL, conversational delivery, good eye contact, appropriate visual aids, etc.)  In-class presentations should be 6-8 minutes long (Stick to the time limit).


Your goal for the presentation is to convince us you are a quality communication professional who is pretty savvy in using persuasion theory and technique to design messages.


In developing your message for this assignment, use the "Critical Dimensions of the Audience" to adapt your message to the audience you have selected (either the general audience or a segment) and apply both techniques and insight from the persuasion theory material we have studied and the persuasive methods described in AGE OF PROPAGANDA ("Appeals") as you deem appropriate. 


Click on this link to view the evaluation criteria form.  |   Click on this link to view a check list of assignment expectations.


COMM Portfolio Requirement Guidance


This assignment is related to the following COMM Major Learning Outcome Goals:

I.  Skillful Message Construction and Execution - Oral Message -Other

II.  Thoughtful Application of Knowledge - Persuasion

If you intend to save this assignment for potential use in your COMM Professional Portfolio, you will need to save …

  • an electronic copy of your presentation outline

  • a copy of your accompanying PowerPoint presentation electronic file, if any

  • a copy of any messages you constructed (or descriptions of messages) for this assignment in electronic form if possible.

  • a copy of the evaluation form you receive.

Last updated 2/24/2015