Subject Information

ELC2012 Persuasive Communication

This subject aims to make you into a more persuasive communicator, to help you succeed in your university studies and at work.

The subject covers spoken and written persuasion: spoken in giving a speech and taking part in a debate, and written in writing workplace documents and a manifesto on a social issue.

The assessments are on giving a speech, manifesto writing and debating. All assessments are graded individually. The speech assessment is 5 minutes long, and takes place in the middle of the semester. Exact timing depends on public holidays, but is usually in Weeks 5 or 6. The manifesto assessment is an out-of-class writing assessment that is due in around Weeks 9 or 10. The debate assessment is at the end of the semester, and each debate is done in pairs of teams of 2 or 3 students. The debate topic is chosen by the students, although it should be on a current social topic. The duration depends on the team size, but ranges from about 20 to 40 minutes.

The subject teaches you persuasive skills which will help you in the following ways:

  1. It will help you be a competent professional: as a professional you will need to persuade clients, customers, patients and the public etc. to follow your advice. Just knowing what is correct is not enough, it is only the starting point for persuading people who have little or no knowledge of your field, and may be worried about the costs or risks that your advice involves. This subject will help you to understand and overcome these objections, for example by audience analysis and planning your persuasive speaking and writing.
  2. It will help you to be a critical thinker: for example when you are preparing for the debate, you will need to think about the content of your arguments, decide how good these arguments are, decide what is the best way to present your ideas, and plan how to overcome objections from the opposing debate team.
  3. It will help you to be an effective communicator: this subject is not only a language course, but also about communicating effectively, which means persuading others to do what you want.
  4. It will help you to be an innovative problem solver: the subject includes ways to solve problems through the science and art of persuasion.
  5. It will help you to be a lifelong learner: you will learn the principles of persuasion, and be able to use them in future, for example in new situations in your career.
  6. It will help you to be an ethical leader: you will learn to understand the ethical values of the people that you are trying to persuade, and how to adjust your message to appeal to these values.

As well as being useful, this subject is also interesting and fun! You get to talk a lot about interesting subjects, meet students from other courses, and make new friends.

So sign up for this subject, as places are limited, and it is very popular. The teaching team look forward to seeing you in class.

If you have any questions about ELC2012, please contact the Subject Leader, Andy Morrall. His email address is