Are You Leveraging The Power of Influence? – Part 2

The psychology of influence is not based on manipulation,  but on ethics, according to psychologist and author Robert Cialdini who has earned his title on the New York Times Business Best Seller List as well as in Fortune Magazine’s 75 Smartest Business Books.

In Part 1 of this blog, we looked at the six universal principles about the psychology of why people say “yes” from Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In Part 2, we will be examining the six “weapons of influence” – and how to use them to become a person of persuasion. As we stated in the first blog, these principles are not intended to manipulate or to use persuasion in any negative way, but to help you become more successful in all areas of your life.

Fred T. Ashley from Ashley Mediation Centre who is a Mediator, arbitrator and mortgage broker says “Most professional mediators consciously or unconsciously apply these principles in their efforts to bring the parties to say “yes” to settlement.”

Cialdini defines six “weapons of influence”:

1. Reciprocity – Returning a “favor”: 

A favor is favor – meaning something done out of goodwill, a kind act that is usually held in high regard. If you receive a favor from someone (receiver), it’s understood you don’t have to return anything (to thesender). BUT, you feel inclined to give value back to that person, according to Cialdini. He says: When we are helped by someone, or given value, we feel animpulse to return the favor. That impulse not only inspires us to give back inequal measure, but may in fact compel us to give back more value than wereceived in the first place.

2. Commitment and Consistency: A Two-Stage Influencer –honoring a previous agreement or statement

People tend to commit once they have already agreed or have connected to a small engagement or binding. If I can get you to commit to something small (e.g. wearing an awareness ribbon, signing a petition, seeing yourself as a certain “type” of person), then you will be more likely to commit to bigger actions (e.g. giving time or money) later on.

 3. Social Proof: Is there really strength in numbers? – Do what other people are doing

Social Proof, according to Wikipedia can be defined as informational social influence, a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.” This is why corporate social awareness is so important and why we see social media applications soaring to such great heights. The way Cialdini puts it is “We understand Social Proof as the tendency for people to take their behavioral cues from the group of people around them, especially in situations where the correct behavior might not be obvious or where we particularly identify with
the group of people we’re with.”

4. Authority –Top rank/position, commanding uniform and fancy cars

We can identify with the ability to be persuaded by authority. Cialdini distinguishes three basic reasons as to why we unconsciously identify authority on a person:

Titles (Titles added to a name to signify either respect and honor, an official position or a professional or academic qualification

Clothing (High-priced designer clothes, or uniforms, lab coats and other vocational vestments)

Trappings (Luxury items or special environments that comewith status)

5. Liking – Taking advice from those that you like or are attracted to.

The liking rule takes affect due to the following causes:

Physical Attractiveness – “Research has shown that we automatically assign to good-looking individuals such favorable traits as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence.”

Similarity – “We like people who are similar to us. This fact seems to hold true whether the similarity is in the area of opinions, personality traits, background, or life-style.”

Compliments – “…we tend, as a rule, to believe praise and to like those who provide it, oftentimes when it is clearly false.”

Contact and Cooperation – “…becoming familiar with something through repeated contact doesn’t necessarily cause greater liking. […we must be] working for the same goals…we must ‘pull together’ for mutual benefit.”

Conditioning and Association – “[Compliance professionals are] incessantly trying to connect themselves or their products with the things we like. Did you ever wonder what all those good-looking models are doing standing around in those automobile ads?”

6. Scarcity: The Rule of the Few– perceived scarcity generates demand

If we believe that an item is exclusive, or limited – we perceive a demand, as it will soon be unavailable. Scarcity creates demand.

Cialdini’s principles and weapons are scientific ways to positively persuade and influence, to elevate your understanding of your customers, partners, co-workers, peers and colleagues and to give you an advantage in your marketing efforts. What do you think of his science of persuasion?

Check out some of Cialdini’s Presentations and Keynotes here:–Cialdini/Presentations-and-Keynotes.aspx

READ his book! Find it on – Influence: The
Psychology of Persuasion (ISBN 0-688-12816-5) or the published textbook version
under the title Influence: Science and Practice (ISBN 0-321-01147-3).




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Copyright © Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp 2011. All rights reserved

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