Influence

Summary of Influence: Science and Practise by Robert Cialdini material from an HBR article. Wikipedia also has a similar summary under Robert Cialdini.

Liking: People like those like them, who like them.

  • At Tupperware parties, guests’ fondness for their host influences purchase decisions twice as much as regard for the products.
  • To influence people, win friends, through: Similarity: Create early bonds with new peers, bosses, and direct reports by informally discovering common interests – you’ll establish goodwill and trustworthiness. Praise: Charm and disarm. Make positive remarks about others – you’ll generate more willing compliance.

Reciprocity: People repay in kind.

  • When the Disabled American Veterans enclosed free personalized address labels in donation-request envelopes, response rate doubled.
  • Give what you want to receive. Lend a staff member to a colleague who needs help; you’ll get his help later.

Social Proof: People follow the lead of similar others.

  • More New York City residents tried returning a lost wallet after learning that other New Yorkers had tried.
  • Use peer power to influence horizontally, not vertically; e.g., ask an esteemed “old timer” to support your new initiative if other veterans resist.

Consistency: People fulfil written, public, and voluntary commitments.

  • 92% of residents of an apartment complex who signed a petition supporting a new recreation center later donated money to the cause.
  • Make others’ commitments active, public, and voluntary. If you supervise an employee who should submit reports on time, get that understanding in writing (a memo); make the commitment public (note colleagues’ agreement with the memo); and link the commitment to the employee’s values (the impact of timely reports on team spirit).

Authority: People defer to experts who provide shortcuts to decisions requiring specialized information.

  • A single New York Times expert-opinion news story aired on TV generates a 4% shift in U.S. public opinion.
  • Don’t assume your expertise is self-evident. Instead, establish your expertise before doing business with new colleagues or partners; e.g., in conversations before an important meeting, describe how you solved a problem similar to the one on the agenda.

Scarcity: People value what’s scarce.

  • Wholesale beef buyers’ orders jumped 600% when they alone received information on a possible beef shortage.
  • Use exclusive information to persuade. Influence and rivet key players’ attention by saying, for example:“…Just got this information today. It won’t be distributed until next week.”
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