I'm trying to find a phrase that means "the way he convinces people". It's similar to "rhetorical device".

Someone has a strategy for convincing people (for example, speaking in a friendly tone, trying to scare them, appealing to their sense of reason or humor, etc.). What is this called, formally? Can you think of a few words?

  • If positive, persuasion, else, manipulation.
    – NVZ
    Sep 4, 2016 at 5:31
  • Or perhaps, passive-aggressive behaviour. Or even guilt tripping
    – NVZ
    Sep 4, 2016 at 5:35
  • I remember seeing persuasion used in the sense of manipulation too. Sep 4, 2016 at 5:35
  • @alwayslearning persuasion is an umbrella term for all kinds of influence.
    – NVZ
    Sep 4, 2016 at 5:42
  • It could be persuasion style. poweressence.com/persuasive-techniques Sep 10, 2016 at 5:00

4 Answers 4


I think the phrase you're looking for is Rhetorical Modes. One of the most common Rhetorical modes is called Argumentation. You also have: Cause-Effect, Exemplification, Narration, Compare and Contrast, and many others. Rhetorical modes are used in writing and speaking.

  • 1
    This is the answer that got me there. I looked for persuasive techniques and persuasive devices, and I got a lot of good results. I don't know why I couldn't find the phrase from the root, but I think the examples in this answer refreshed my memory. Nov 10, 2016 at 1:37

How about powers of persuasion?

From Merriam-Webster:

persuasion: the act of causing people to do or believe something : the act or activity of persuading people

This seems analogous to your example of rhetorical device.

  • Richard: I can give you some back story. I was reading a journal article about secondary teaching building up to a presentation section in my lesson about persuasive devices. Apparently, teens with poor persuasive devices have a lot more trouble adapting, socially. And teens who don't socially adapt are at a much higher risk for a variety of different troubles (for example, under-employment, experimenting with drugs, and so-on). So, I thought I could bait the kids into getting interested in the discussion. And it was very successful in some of the classes. But I can't remember the term. Nov 7, 2016 at 2:49
  • @Wolfpack'08 Rhanks for the back story. Jujitsu? Nov 7, 2016 at 3:25

There's a word which comes close - persuasion.

Definitions from Cambridge Dictionary:

persuasion noun (CHANGING IDEAS)

​the action of persuading someone or of being persuaded:

It took a lot of persuasion to convince the committee of the advantages of the new plan.

She will help you - she just needs a little gentle persuasion.

The occasion will be a test of the senator's powers of persuasion (= his ability to persuade people).

persuade verb ​ to make someone do or believe something by giving them a good reason to do it or by talking to that person and making them believe it:

If she doesn't want to go, nothing you can say will persuade her.

[ + (that) ] It's no use trying to persuade him (that) you're innocent.

[ + to infinitive ] He is trying to persuade local and foreign businesses to invest in the project.

Note: It appears that this answer clashes with the one submitted by Richard Kayser apparently seconds before this one. I am letting it be, with this disclaimer.

  • I beat you by 12 seconds. :-) We seem to be tracking one another tonight. Sep 4, 2016 at 5:23
  • @RichardKayser, yes. I have added a clarifying note accordingly. :) Sep 4, 2016 at 5:23
  • That's totally unnecessary. If I could edit your answer, I would. I propose we do the following: you delete your note; we each delete our parts of this exchange. When I see your content disappear, I'll delete mine. I just wanted to say hi. Sep 4, 2016 at 5:27
  • If you want to leave the note, I'm fine with that, too. Sep 4, 2016 at 5:29
  • I have edited it further to clarify further that your's was submitted first, FWIW. I think we are just being transparent here. Sep 4, 2016 at 5:30

I have a child in middle school. In his English classes they call it

persuasive argument.

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