Video: The Science of Persuasion

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How can we be persuaded to buy a product or service? What makes us decide to give our money or support to a cause? In this animated video from Youtube, you will learn about the six universal principles of persuasion, as defined by social psychologist Dr Robert Cialdini in his book "Influence". Video time: 11 minutes 50 seconds. Activity time: 30 minutes to 1 hour.


1 Watch the video below and note 
 - the meaning of each of the six "shortcuts"
 - an example of each one

2 Now match each of these sentences with one of the six shortcuts. (NB. There are two sentences for each one.) Watch the video again to check if necessary.

__  Look for areas of similarity you share with others, and...compliments you can give
__  It doesn’t...matter if the person is likely to prosper from the introduction themselves
__  If your colleague does you a favour, you owe that colleague a favour
__  You ideally get those commitments in writing
__  Speak to Peter - he has over 20 years experience  selling properties
__  I hope they’re not the same towels
__  You need to point out what people stand to lose
__  It has an influence on how much tip you leave
__  Very few people would be willing to erect an unsightly wooden board on their front lawn
__  People want more of those things there are less of
__  You may have noticed that hotels often place a small card in bathrooms
__  Some groups were told: “Time is money: Get straight down to business”

3 Do you use any of  these techniques yourself? Do they work when somebody uses them on you?

The answers to Exercises 1 and 2 are at the bottom of this page.

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Pronunciation: how pauses change meaning

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This activity from the Pronunciation Studio website takes a humorous look at how different pauses (and punctuation) in a sentence can change the meaning completely. You will see ten sentences and then hear each one spoken in two different ways. You can then read an explanation of the different meanings. Activity time: 10 to 25 minutes.

Task: First look at these sentences. Can you see how each one could be punctuated in two different ways?

1   let's eat grandma
2   a woman without her man is nothing

3   oh no vodka
4   why don't you run over kate
5   don't eat that honey
6   call me gorgeous if you like
7   most of the time travellers have jet lag
8   we love cooking children and watching films 
9   how do you write clearly
10 what is this thing called love 

Now go to the activity and check your answers. Listen to the sentences spoken and repeat what you hear. Then come back to this page and try saying the sentences again without the audio and the punctuation to help you.

The activity page is here 

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Vocabulary: talking about movies

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Do you enjoy talking about films you've seen and what you thought of them? Here is an opportunity to learn some useful adjectives for describing movies. This activity is from the Englishpage site. Activity time: 20 to 35 minutes

1 Go to the activity page and study the vocabulary list.

2 Go to the bottom of the page and click on the first exercise ("Vocabulary in conversation"). Complete the missing words, and press "Check" at the bottom to see if your answers are correct. 

3 At the bottom of the page, click on the words "Continue to vocabulary follow-up" to go to the second exercise.

Go to the activity here.

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Grammar: This and that, these and those

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Do you know the difference between this and that?  Or between these and those? It's a simple grammatical point, but it's not always easy to choose the right word in conversation. In this activity from the My English Pages site you will read a summary of the main differences and then do two exercises. You will then complete an example dialogue to check your understanding. Activity time: 10 to 30 minutes.

1 Read the grammar explanation here.

2 Do the two exercises here and here. Click on "Check answers" at the end of each exercise to know your score.

3 Now complete this phone conversation, with this, that, these or those. The answers are below. 

A: Hi. _____ is Anna. Is _____ Brian?
B: Yes, it is. Hi Anna. Sorry, hold on a second. I'm in the kitchen. Ouch! _____ coffee cups are really hot!
A: Is _____ a good moment to call?
B: Yes, no problem. Sorry about that. I'm ready. Did you get _____ brochures I sent you?
A: Yes, I have them here on my desk.  _____ look very interesting. That's why I'm calling, in fact. When can we meet up to plan the trip?
B:  Are you free _____ week at all?
A: Well, I'm a little busy for _____ next few days. But how about next week? Are you there next Monday?
B: No, I'm away _____ day. But we can meet up for lunch on Tuesday, if you're free.
A: Yes, _____'s fine for me. I'll come to your office at about 12.30.
B:  Great. When you come, can you bring _____ progress reports I left in your office last week?
A:  _____ ones here in the yellow folder?
B: Yes, _____ are the ones.
A: And the HDMI cable in the meeting room - is _____ yours too?
B: Let me check. Er, no. _____ is mine here in my briefcase. _____ one must be somebody else's.

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Video: How not to be ignorant

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Hans Rosling, who died in 2017, was the founder of the Gapminder Foundation. This is a Swedish organisation that wants to improve our knowledge of the world in areas where we are the most ignorant, so that we can make more informed decisions in the future. His son Ola is the Director of the Foundation. In this talk from the TED website, Hans gives the audience a quiz to demonstrate the gaps in our knowledge. Ola then explains the reasons for this ignorance and suggests what we can do about it. NB there are subtitles available for this talk - just click on the bottom right of the video screen below.  Video time:  19 minutes  Activity time: 20 to 30 minutes (Task 1) , 30 minutes to 1 hour (Task 2)

Task 1:  (Video 0.00 - 8.40)

1 Choose what you think is the correct information to complete these sentences - (a), (b) or (c)

- In the 20th century, deaths from natural disasters - earthquakes, floods etc - 
  (a) more than doubled  (b) remained about the same (c) decreased to less than half

- Women in the world who are aged 30 today spent on average
  (a) 7  (b) 5  (c) 3 years in school

- In the last 20 years, the percentage of people living in poverty has
  (a) almost doubled  (b) remained about the same  (c) almost halved

- The proportion of the world's 1-year old children who are vaccinated against measles is
  (a) 20%  (b) 50%  (c) 80%

2  Now watch the first part of the video (until 8.40, when Ola arrives) and check your answers. What reasons does Hans suggest for our ignorance?

Task 2:  (Video 8.40 - end)

Now open this document  and watch the rest of the video. Can you answer the questions and explain the illustrations in your own words?

To check your answers, go to the transcript of the talk on this page.
(You can change the transcript to your own language if you prefer).

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Video: Cradle to cradle

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As the number of consumers in the world continues to grows we hear more and more about the need to preserve natural resources through recycling and reuse . This video provides a short introduction to the concept of "Cradle to cradle" (or C2C), which encourages us to take a new look at the way we design and manufacture products.  Video time: 5 mins 49 secs  Activity time: 20-30 minutes.


Task: Watch the video and answer the questions.

1  What is the current problem?
2  What is the current strategy to resolve this problem and what are its limitations?
3  What new strategy is needed?
4  What are the advantages for companies who adopt this strategy?

The answers are at the bottom of the page.

If you'd like to read more about C2C, also known as the "Circular Economy", go here.

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