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The Art of Persuasion Part 1

The Art of Persuasion

On the 9th of January, 2007 Joshua Bell, one of the greatest violinists in the world, played to a packed audience at Boston’s stately Symphony Hall of 1,000 people where most seats went for more than $100. He was used to full, sell-out shows. He was at the peak of his abilities and fame.

Three days later, Joshua Bell played to an audience of
nobody. He was ignored. Less than a handful of people paused for a moment, and one child stopped for a while, looking, as if he understood that something special was happening.

Joshua Bell was playing violin in a subway station.

What changed? The same music, on the same violin, played with the same passion and by the same man. Why did people listen and then not listen? What was missing?

Ted-Ed Original: ‘What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can teach us about persuasion’

If you have a great idea, how do you get people to listen to you? Why do some people’s words make an impact while others’ do not? How do we become ‘masters’ of words?

Students in Years 9 and 10 have been contemplating some of these questions over the past few weeks. Our students’ journey starts with ‘wordsmithery’ - an exploration of the skill of using words in various ways to achieve specific effects. If the aim of writing or speaking is to convey a meaning to someone – to communicate an idea – how can we help our reader or audience understand what we want him or her to understand? If we cannot, we risk our great idea remaining stuck with us.

 

Read more: The Art of Persuasion Part 1

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