File: PDF, Harnessing the Science of Persuasion by Robert B. In an era of cross-functional teams and intercompany partnerships, masters of persuasion exert far greater influence than formal power structures. But is persuasion really magic?

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Liking Consensus Understanding these shortcuts and employing them in an ethical manner can significantly increase the chances that someone will be persuaded by your request. The first universal Principle of Influence is Reciprocity. Simply put, people are obliged to give back to others the form of a behavior, gift, or service that they have received first.

If a colleague does you a favor, then you owe that colleague a favor. And in the context of a social obligation people are more likely to say yes to those who they owe. One of the best demonstrations of the Principle of Reciprocity comes from a series of studies conducted in restaurants.

Probably about the same time that they bring your bill. A liqueur, perhaps, or a fortune cookie, or perhaps a simple mint. Most people will say no. But that mint can make a surprising difference. So the key to using the Principle of Reciprocity is to be the first to give and to ensure that what you give is personalized and unexpected.

The second universal Principle of Persuasion is Scarcity. Simply put, people want more of those things they can have less of. When British Airways announced in that they would no longer be operating the twice daily London—New York Concorde flight because it had become uneconomical to run, sales the very next day took off. Notice that nothing had changed about the Concorde itself.

It had simply become a scarce resource. And as a result, people wanted it more. So when it comes to effectively persuading others using the Scarcity Principle, the science is clear.

Our third Principle of Influence is the Principle of Authority. This is the idea that people follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.

Physiotherapists, for example, are able to persuade more of their patients to comply with recommended exercise programs if they display their medical diplomas on the walls of their consulting rooms. People are more likely to give change for a parking meter to a complete stranger if that requester wears a uniform rather than casual clothes. Of course this can present problems; you can hardly go around telling potential customers how brilliant you are, but you can certainly arrange for someone to do it for you.

Not bad for a small change in form from persuasion science that was both ethical and costless to implement. The next principle is Consistency. People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done. Consistency is activated by looking for, and asking for, small initial commitments that can be made. In one famous set of studies, researchers found rather unsurprisingly that very few people would be willing to erect an unsightly wooden board on their front lawn to support a Drive Safely campaign in their neighborhood.

However in a similar neighborhood close by, four times as many homeowners indicated that they would be willing to erect this unsightly billboard. Because ten days previously, they had agreed to place a small postcard in the front window of their homes that signaled their support for a Drive Safely campaign. So when seeking to influence using the consistency principle, the detective of influence looks for voluntary, active, and public commitments and ideally gets those commitments in writing.

The fifth principle is the Principle of Liking. People prefer to say yes to those that they like. But what causes one person to like another?

Persuasion science tells us that there are three important factors. We like people who are similar to us, we like people who pay us compliments, and we like people who cooperate with us towards mutual goals. Get straight down to business. Identify a similarity you share in common then begin negotiating. So to harness this powerful principle of liking, be sure to look for areas of similarity that you share with others and genuine compliments you can give before you get down to business.

The final principle is Consensus. Especially when they are uncertain, people will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own. You may have noticed that hotels often place a small card in bathrooms that attempt to persuade guests to reuse their towels and linens.

But could there be an even more effective way? Now imagine the next time you stay in a hotel you saw one of these signs. The science is telling us that rather than relying on our own ability to persuade others, we can point to what many others are already doing, especially many similar others.

So there we have it. Six scientifically validated Principles of Persuasion that provide for small practical, often costless changes that can lead to big differences in your ability to influence and persuade others in an entirely ethical way. They are the secrets from the science of persuasion. Connect With Us.


Principles of Persuasion

Robert Cialdini Salespeople, politicians, friends and family all have a stake in getting you to agree to their requests. Cialdini T Hello there. Since that time, numerous social scientists have inves- tigated the ways in which one individual can influence anoth- great importance to you personally. For the past 30 years, I have partic- you ever been tricked into saying yes? Ever ipated in that endeavor, concentrating primarily on the major felt trapped into buying something you did- factors that bring about a specific form of behavior change— compliance with a request. And have you ever ciprocation, consistency, social validation, liking, authority wished you understood why you acted in and scarcity.


Harnessing the Science of Persuasion

Many executives have assumed that this tool is beyond their grasp, available only to the charismatic and the eloquent. Over the past several decades, though, experimental psychologists have learned which methods reliably lead people to concede, comply, or change. Their research shows that persuasion is governed by several principles that can be taught and applied. The first principle is that people are more likely to follow someone who is similar to them than someone who is not. Wise managers, then, enlist peers to help make their cases.

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