Friday, November 16, 2012

6 Principles of Influence a la Cialdini

Robert Cialdini, Regent’s Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University,  wrote a fantastic book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion about 6 strategies used to influence people.  It’s a fantastic book because he outlines 6 principles of influence that you can use on offense, or, more importantly, recognize on defense.  One of the reasons Cialdini did this research was to figure out why he was vulnerable to influence.  What he found was that knowing the tools doesn’t make one 100% immune, but it sure does help to know what you’re looking for.

So what are you looking for?

  1. Reciprocity – if you do something good for me, I’m more likely to do something good for you.  Think anything given to you for free.
  2. Commitment and Consistency – if I make a commitment (to buy something) I’m more likely to honor it (even if conditions change) than if I didn’t make a commitment
  3. Social Proof – if I see other people do it, I’m more likely to do it
  4. Authority – if the person is an authority figure, I am more likely to do what they say
  5. Liking – if you like the person, you are more likely to buy from them
  6. Scarcity – if you think this is the last one, you’re more likely to want it. (Limited time, limited number, special price only for you)
So next time you’re sitting in a meeting, going shopping or becoming part of a new social group, keep an ear out for these things, take a pause when you recognize them, and then decide what you want to do.

What influence patterns have you seen? How did you decide what to do?                    

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