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My Concern For You


Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > My Concern For You

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



Persuade others to do as you say by framing your argument as being based in your concern about them.

Talk about how your suggestions will help them.

You can set up the concern frame earlier by being kind and helpful, so when you say you are concerned about them, they have recent evidence for this.


You know I care about you, and that I want you to succeed. So how about putting that game away and start studying for your exams.

I love you and would never hurt you. I just have to go away for a while to earn enough to keep us afloat. It'll be better when I get back, I promise.

This company is based on caring for its employees. We know that if we look after you, then you will work hard for us. And this weekend, we certainly do need your full focus.


When a person tries to persuade us, we often assume that they are doing so for selfish reasons and that they may abuse and betray us in their actions. This can miss the point where the person really does care about us. Care is a fundamental element of trust. If we believe they care about us, we trust them more. And when we trust them, we are more open to be persuaded.

We also tend to assume a zero-sum game, where one person's gain is automatically the other person's loss. When we see that we can both benefit, then this changes the nature of any negotiation.

Caring may also take the parent role, casting the other person into a child position where the parent 'knows best' and looks after the child. When people accept this position, they trust the parent more and are more obedient.

One of the dilemmas of parenting is getting teenagers to do things (like study hard) that will help them in the long term. A way that many parents approach this is to tell the child that they are pressuring them out of concern, and not because they are trying to control them for personal reasons.

My Concern For You is the 42nd of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Trust, Nurture

Kellermann, K. & Cole, T. (1994). Classifying compliance gaining messages: Taxonomic disorder and strategic confusion. Communication Theory, 1, 3-60


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