Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials)

Key Points

  • Core concepts All things being equal, consumers will…
  1. Reciprocity - Give something of value to get something of value
  2. Consistency and Commitment - Will be consistent with a path or approach
  3. Likability - Are more likely to purchase from someone they know, trust and like. AND, more impotantly, someone who knows, likes and trusts THEM.
  4. Authority - Purchase from an authority
  5. Social proof - Purchase based on the recommendations of others
  6. Scarcity - Purchase if quantities are perceived to be scarce.
  • Important take aways

How to say NO.

Not only does Cialdini explain to readers the many ways that these, "weapons of influence" are used against us, he also explains how we can avoid falling prey to them, and even turn them against the complience proffessionals who use them.

Reciprocity-- The rule of reciprocity states that we must return favors in kind. Thus if a person attempts to employ the reciprocity rule  to extort a favor from you need not give the favor. They have attempted to trick you. A just echange does not involve decieving the other. In this case you are perfectly fine to decline the favor.

Consistency and Commitment--Trust your gut. The best way to keep from falling prey to this technique is to trust that sinking feeling that your stomach gives you when you know something is not right. This technique has been employed in a number of ways and verying degreess of consequence including even getting loyal soldiers to betray their country. Trusting your gut and realizing that you have been tricked into writing or saying something you don't honestly believe is very important.

Sometimes however the gut just won't cut it. In these cases there is another powerful protector installed in the body; emotions. Studies and research have demonstrated that just for the briefest of times we are able to feel completely true and honest emotions before cognition sets in. These feeling must be trusted. Think about the situation as a whole and react on that VERY first emotiont hat you feel.

Liking-- To prevent being taken by someone convincing you that you should like them is very difficult. Often times we like a person for reasons totally unconcious, or biologically preprogrammed, such as with looks. In these cases we must analyze how much we do like the person. Once we estimate how much we like the person you must compare that to just how long you have known the person, and how genuine is your relationship. If your liking is disproprtionate to either you may know you have been dooped.

Social proof-- Social proof is extremely powerful tool. It is also extremely useful for societies, and often a very good thing. It prevents us from having to constantly be overwhelmed by the little innconsequential matters. However this use of "autopilot" to guide our actions can be very dangerous in the hands of a skillfull complience professional. The good news is that often times the use of social proof is glaringly obvious. When we see ads with what Dave Barry has named, "consumers from mars" giving clearly fake testimonies TUNE OUT. If the testimonial is clearly being done by a paid actor or spokesperson with no authority in the area their testimonial is meaningless.

Authority-- The key to saying no to authority is never to be the rebel that we all think we are as kids, and always ALWAYS question authority. The three key things to question; is their authority genuine, is their authority relevent, and what do they stand to gain. If their authority is not genuine such as with a con man, then we have no reason to trust anything they say. If they have authority, such as an actor who plays a doctor on tv, is their authority relevent to THIS situation. Finally those who have something to gain from the exchange are never to be trusted based solely on their credentials. We are all business people at heart and they may be trying to make their dime off of their title.

Scarcity-- The key to not being taken in matters of scarcity is to check our emotions. A person must force themselves to not fall trap to basic insticants and fear of survival that comes with a resource disappearing. this primalistic view is programmed into our species and was key to our early survival, but in a society with so many substitutes and other options this panic is undue. In addition we must also remember that while the value and prestige that go along with a scarce object may go up its utility does not. In otherwords, the rarity of an artifact may make it more desirable to have, however simply being more rare will not make a brand of cookie taste better.


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