Influence and Persuasion

Ever wonder why people do what they do?  Ever wonder what influences people to do what they do?  Ever wonder how you might better influence people to do what they do?  After all, what businesses, practices, or corporations don’t have an agenda that involves selling products or performing services?  When I was in private practice for almost 40 years, I sometimes referred to myself as a benevolent or altruistic influencer: aiming clients towards finding within themselves, what is healthiest for them.  Still doing it as an Executive Coach.  Influencer has taken on a different, although similar meaning in current social media parlance.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (1984) by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, is the seminal work on the subject.  Although, I recommend the 2007 revision.  In it, Cialdini points to 6 basic categories of yes-producing tactics which are “governed by a fundamental psychological principle that directs human behavior, and in so doing, gives the tactics their power.” (pg. xiii)  They are:

  1. Reciprocation: Human societies derive a truly significant competitive advantage from the reciprocity rule, and consequently they make sure their members are trained to comply with and believe in it.
  2. Commitment and Consistency: A high degree of consistency is normally associated with personal and intellectual strength.
  3. Social Proof: It states that one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.
  4. Liking: We most prefer to say yes to the requests of people we know and like.
  5. Authority: A multilayered and widely accepted system of authority confers an immense advantage upon a society.  We are trained from birth that obedience to authority is right and disobedience is wrong.
  6. Scarcity: Opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited.

Weekly Challenge:  Consider your team or organization in terms of one of these 6 strategies.  Are you maximizing the power of this one strategy?

Supporting Your Success!