The Power of Persuasion or What We Get with Black Friday

As a winning “persuasive speech” competitive speaker, I know very well the power of good persuasion. The very best persuasion is that where the intended audience has no idea they have been persuaded and changes its behavior accordingly. Such persuasion is the basis of a state speaking competition winner. Or perhaps a shopping trip.

Today is the Friday after Thanksgiving here in the United States  and my Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with stories focused on one word: shopping. The role of consumerism, the psychological element of “buying affirmations thru holiday gifts,” and the quest for the almighty bargain all play roles in the shopping frenzy of this time of the year. However, I doubt most folks now patting themselves on the back for having completed their holiday shopping realize just how they have been persuaded. Over the past forty-some years we have been persuaded that participating in Black Friday is precisely what the holidays should include.  (Especially since the holidays are a time supposedly about being with family; being more just, compassionate and kind; and reflecting on the blessings of our lives.)

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