Friday, December 18, 2009

6 Weapons of Influence

Cialdini's book on Influence offers some short-cuts to understand how others try to influence you and what you can do to defend against that. Here are the 6 weapons and the armor you need to defend against them:

Reciprocity - If someone does you a favor, you owe them and in order to not look like a moocher you need to return it or be willing to return it. Defense: Accept favors in good faith but if they turn out to be tricks, redefine them in your mind as a trick and no longer subject to the reciprocity rule.

Commitment and Consistency - People want to act in a manner consistent with their own beliefs and attitudes.  Decisions to commit to some course of action, even if wrong, can grow legs and justifications of their own because you feel the need to behave consistent with your commitment. Example, bait and switch. Defense: Listen to your gut when it says no. Listen to your hear too and ask, "Knowing what I know now, if I could go back in time, would I make the same commitment?"

Social Proof - monkey see, monkey do. When people are uncertain they look to the actions of others to guide them. Defense: Be sensitive to counterfeit evidence from similar others.  Don't just look to others to decide what to do.

Liking - people like those are are like them. People like attractive people.  People like people who flatter them even if they know it's flattery. Defense: be aware when undue liking is created.  When that happens separate your feelings about the requestor from the request.

Authority - we respond unthinkingly to even the appearance of authority in the form of titles, attire, prestigious employer name.  Defense: Are they truly an expert? Look away from the symbol to the evidence

Scarcity - of information through censorship, time-limited special offers. Defense: Remember what the thing you want is for.  Scarce cookies don't taste better.

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