Persuasion is the act of influencing others to adopt an idea, attitude, or course of action. Persuasion is all around us. When we watch the news, read a book, or on a team at work. Persuasion is usually happening in both directions. Thinking about a politician, they have studied and know the science and art of persuasion to influence people to adopt their way of thinking or to get people to vote for them. How are you persuading others?
Robert Cialdini, professor emeritus at Arizona State University, published a book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, in 1984, and based on his observing real-life situations of persuasion, came up with 6 principles of persuasion. Use these strategies to help you be more persuasive.
Persuade others to your way of thinking:
- Authority: someone is more likely to go along with your suggestions if they see you as credible, knowledgeable, an expert. You are more likely to listen and do what a physician asks if they have their diplomas displayed. It gives them instant credibility.
- Likeability: people are more likely to say yes to someone they like. Look for areas of interest that you share with others and giving sincere compliments help people like you. Another way is a 2015 study on extroverts versus introverts showed that extroverts tend to be more likable than introverts because they unconsciously copy the body language of the people around them.
- Reciprocity: people feel more obliged to give back to others when they receive first. If a colleague invites you out to lunch, you feel more inclined to invite them out later. People feel more likely to say yes to those they owe.
- Consistency: people are more inclined to do things they have done in the past. Start out with a small ask before moving on to the big ask. This helps them feel like they are doing something they have already done and are more inclined to take on the bigger ask.
- Consensus: when people are unsure of how to proceed or what to do, they look to others’ behaviors and actions to help them determine their own. If most people think something is right, they think so too. Or the opposite, if others are not agreeing, they won’t either.
- Scarcity: people are more inclined to want something if it is only available to a small group. Think about how many advertisements try to hook you with “only available to the first 50 callers.” We are more inclined to purchase based on it not being available to everyone.
See where you can identify any of these principles in advertising, or someone that is trying to persuade you at the office or at home. I think you’ll see them more than you though you would. We use persuasion in all aspects of our life. Getting our children to stop doing something, or our pet to go outside, you name it. Engage these strategies to improve your persuasive powers.
Please reach out if you would like help mastering persuasion, happy to help!