6 Keys to Influence you weren’t taught at school

Only a lucky few have it; most of us do not. A handful of gifted ‘naturals’ simply know how to capture an audience, sway the undecided or covert the unconvertible. Watching these masters of persuasion do their thing is both impressive and frustrating at the same time!

What’s impressive is their ability to use charisma and genuine eloquence to convince others to think a certain way. It’s also how keen those around them are to follow their requests. I’m sure like me, you’re thinking of people with this natural talent right now?

The exciting thing I’m going to share with you is, you too can become an impressive influencer – and it’s not as hard as what you might first think.

You’re about to learn about 6 fundamental principles of influence that will have a profound impact on how you associate with others, and influence your team with confidence.

In the 80’s Psychologist Robert Cialdini developed the theory of influence, based on the principles of reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity.

1. Reciprocity

Give what you want to receive.

  • People repay in kind – and tend to return a favor, we feel uncomfortable if we ‘owe’ someone until we can return that favour.
  • Ever caught yourself smiling at a team mate just because they smiled at you first? You know how this principles works.
  • You can use reciprocity to your advantage with others by giving first and doing it in an unexpected way.

2. Commitment and Consistency

Make your commitments active, public and voluntary.

  • If people commit to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment – why? We all are drawn toward things that make us feel consistent and congruent in our behaviors and choices.
  • Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. Most people once they take a stand or go on record in favor of a position, prefer to stick to it

3. Social Proof

Use peer power whenever it’s available [ethically]

  • The most powerful principles is Social Proof or Consensus.
  • People follow the lead of similar others. We feel safe when part of a crowd of others people all thinking and believing the same thing – and safety is the most powerful driver in our lives.
  • For example, if one or more of you look up into the sky, others around you will then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing (try it!).
  • The recent Ice Bucket challenge going viral around the world is driven largely by social proof – an powerful example of peer power in action.
  • Advertisers use this every day to influence our buying habits, managers use it to make us feel our behaviors are unacceptable, social media like Facebook and others survive because of it.

4. Authority

People will general look to an expert – “what do they think?

  • Expose your expertise; don’t assume others see it the way you do!
  • People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform tasks they’d prefer not to perform. You will respond to a policeman or your school principal in a different manner to your husband or wife largely because of their authority.

5. Liking

People like those who like them.

  • Uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise
  • People are more easily persuaded by other’s they like. That’s why you’re more likely to buy from someone that’s happy, cheerful and talkative. Approaching your interactions with people with this in mind reinforces the need to develop genuine rapport and relationships with those around you.

6. Scarcity

People want more of what the can have less of.

  • Highlight unique benefits & exclusive information and build value & anticipation!
  • Perceived scarcity will generate demand. Managers can learn from retailers how to frame their offers not in terms of what people stand to gain, but in terms of what they will loose if they don’t act on the information.
  • For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales, or commitment from your team on an idea.

Putting it all together

There’s really nothing too obscure about the 6 principles, in fact all Cialdid did was codify our intuitive understanding of the ways people evaluate information and make their decisions. As a result, these principles are pretty easy to grasp.

The Practical Example…

When discussing the importance of experience with your staff or a new partner, I’d suggest managers use informal social conversations to establish their credentials. That same conversation allows the opportunity to gain information as well as providing it [people love to be heard].

While you’re showing them that you have the skills and experience your particular business problem demands, you can also learn about their background, like, dislikes – information that will help you identify genuine similarities and the opportunity to give sincere compliments. By letting your experience surface and also establishing rapport, you double your persuasive power.

Same conversation you will have had many times before, but combined with the power of persuasive design.


The Key to making them work for you is 2 fold:

A) You must be the student!

  • Make a deliberate [committed] decision to test each principle in your daily work.
  • Testing these will allow you to measure how you went.

B) You must be ethical

  • Not only is it ethically wrong to trick or trap others, it’s not good business practice, and people I’m glad to say can pick a phony!

Enjoy the benefits that come with being a person of influence, observe the way others change their approach to you, enjoy the increase in sales, conversion of customers, and the genuine value you can add to those you come into contact with every day!

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