The Science of Persuasion

Influencing others is essential in business. Whether in sales, design, management or anything else how we persuade others is key to our success.  So is persuading others an art or a science?

Life is a negotiation. We can rarely, if ever, succeed by ourselves. Therefore it’s very important to understand the science of persuasion. Only then can we practice it so it then becomes an art form.

I have always been struck by the work of Dr. Robert Cialdini. His views on the science of persuasion are well respected but not always that well known. He has studied what works and what does not work in influencing others. What’s more is that Cialdini’s work is ethical and low cost.  Take a look at this short video and see what work’s for you:

Here's a summary of what I took from the video:

PrincipleDescription Application 
Reciprocity:People repay in kindGive something (eg an idea or maybe just a welcome) so that you can receive
Liking: People like those who like themUncover real similarities and offer genuine praise
Social Proof (or referred to as Consensus in the video):People follow the lead of othersSay how others are sharing your views or using your services
Consistency:People align with their stated commitmentsGet others to make their commitments publicly
Authority:People defer to expert opinionMake sure other's know your expertise - don't assume they do
Scarcity :People want more of what they can have less ofHighlight your unique benefits and how they can miss out

Here's an idea to help  you turn these idea into an art. Next time you're watching TV then resist the temptation to skip through the advertisements. Instead treat them as an opportunity to spot which elements of the science of persuasion are being used by the advertisers on you. Keep a score of what works and what doesn't. Then begin to plan how you can use the science of persuasion on others. The science really does work.

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