How to use language to change people’s mind?

Xzavier He

What was my dream when I was little?

When I was little, I wanted to be an animator that makes cool animation movies, just like the ones from Pixar (Toy Story, Monsters Inc., etc.).

What am I doing when I am not working on my PhD?

I am (still) a fan of all sorts of movies, including the animation ones of course. Watching movies gives me many opportunities to – although only for about 2 hours – experience a completely different world and live in other people’s lives.

What is my PhD about?

My PhD is about persuasive communication. We are communicating with other people every day, and almost one third of our business life is based on persuasion. But how to be more persuasive? How to enhance your message to change people’s mind? In my PhD project, I will look into the linguistic features within a message and see how (and when) these features would affect the perceived persuasiveness of the message. Just like adding pepper and salt, using a proper number and proportion of these features may greatly enhance the “taste” of the message and make it more attractive and persuasive.

Why is this important for practice?

The applied contribution comes from two sides. On the one hand, my project provides a guideline for real-life persuasive business purposes, such as advertising, publicity, product reviews, sales pitches, etc. On the other hand, it offers a list of tactics that help consumers, readers, voters, etc. to protect themselves against too much persuasive information. Overall, the results of my project can be applied to many contexts that rely on persuasive language, and basically any persuasive communication that takes place between individuals or groups of people.

How do I see my future?

I would like to spread the knowledge in an interesting yet illuminating way.

Want to know more about Xavier?

Check out his cv page.

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times