Persuasion in "12 Angry Men"

1010 words 5 pages
In his article, “The Necessary Art of Persuasion”, Jay Conger stated that persuasion is NOT about selling or convincing; rather, it is a learning and negotiating process. Good persuaders use and listen to ongoing and active discussions (or debates) to learn about their audience and include different opinions into a shared conclusion. In the movie “12 Angry Men”, juror number 8 (Henry Fonda) was not sure if evidence presented against a young defendant in court left reasonable doubt for a guilty conviction. The other jurors believed the presented facts and the defendant’s background warrants a guilty conviction. The movie showed how juror number 8 persuasively got the other jurors to review each fact logically, which led to an unanimous …show more content…

He used juror number 9 (old man) insights about the old man’s motives, and juror number 6 (painter) and his own experience hearing train noises. The old man, seeking attention for the first time, assumed he heard voices. His motives and whether or not he really heard voices are questionable. He also used jurors’ number 4 (stock broker), 9 and 12 (ad man) comments about indentations on the 45 year old woman’s nose, indicating she wore eyeglasses. The woman’s eyesight is questionable and she is not a reliable witness. The other jurors’ testimonies gave a clearer and more convincing argument for reasonable doubt.

The fourth essential step is connecting emotionally to a belief and with the audience. Good persuaders walk along a fine line balancing a strong commitment to a point of view (i.e., belief) and not getting emotionally carried away. If balanced properly, an audience will see and believe the sincerity in a persuader’s message. Good persuaders also know the mood of their audience. Conger stated that effective persuaders “have a strong and accurate sense of their audience emotional state…and adjust the tone of their argument accordingly.” Persuaders gets a feel of their audience by listening to and gathering information from side conversations, or asking people with better insights about the audience’s mood. Good persuaders constantly analyze their audience’s behavior and use the proper


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