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Chapter 17. Communication Myth #8

COMMUNICATION MYTH #8: Give people the “facts” and they will always believe as you do, or act as you’d like them to act.


Consider a familiar example: How many times a week do you read, see, or hear an appeal for some worthy charity? For most of us, the answer is “many times”—considering how overexposed we are to magazine ads, television spots, radio messages, mass mailings, billboards, telephone solicitations, etc.! For better or worse, we usually don’t respond to most of the appeals for charitable donations. It isn’t because we are selfish or uncharitable. And it’s not because we don’t know the “facts” about the good works these charities do! It is because, for whatever reason, we don’t feel a strong enough impulse to act on our sympathies. Think about how many persuasive campaigns are based, at least in part, on the popular assumption that giving people “the facts” will cause them to behave or believe as we’d like. Some examples include:


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