The Principle of Consensus

The Principle of Consensus tells us, when people are unsure how to act in certain situations, they tend to look to others to see how they should respond. It makes me think about the old saying, “There’s safety in numbers.”

For example, when making a major purchase on something we don’t know lots about, we just feel better when we know there have been many other satisfied customers. After all, what are the chances all those people were all wrong?

If you’re the parent of a teenager, you know this principle is true because you’re constantly warning against “peer pressure” when it’s related to bad choices. During their teens, kids look to other kids for their cues on how to talk, dress and act.

Even though they may see themselves as different, to adults most teenagers look and act alike. The reality is, teens may be different than their parents but they’re just the same as their friends.

How can understanding the consensus principle help you? Two ways. First, just share with people whose behavior you’re trying to influence how lots of other people are already doing what you’re asking them to do.

The second way would be to share with them what people like them are doing. We are very motivated to want to move with the crowd because we’ve been taught there’s safety in numbers.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT® on FacebookBrian Ahearn, CMCT® on GoogleBrian Ahearn, CMCT® on LinkedinBrian Ahearn, CMCT® on TwitterBrian Ahearn, CMCT® on Youtube
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer at Influence People, LLC
Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence People, LLC. A dynamic keynote speaker, trainer, coach, and consultant, he specializes in applying the science of influence and persuasion in business and personal situations. He is one of only 20 individuals in the world who currently holds the Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® (CMCT®) designation. This specialization in the psychology of persuasion was earned directly from Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. – the most cited living social psychologist in the world when it comes to the science of ethical persuasion. Brian’s passion is helping people achieve greater professional success and enjoy more personal happiness. He does this by teaching people how to ethically move others to action through the science of persuasion.
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  1. […] had 4.5 stars, some with more than 100 reviews. I felt comfortable because people just like me (principle of consensus) thought highly of each model so I felt better and better about my potential Shark […]

  2. […] consensus – we look to others to see how we should behave in certain situations. The second principle was scarcity – we value things more when they’re rare or diminishing. […]

  3. […] – if there’s not. Don’t tell people how “everyone” is using your product – consensus – when they’re not. And finally, look for what Stephen Covey called “win-win” […]

  4. […] the business, training, breadth of experience) to make a potential customer feel more comfortable? Consensus – Humans are essentially pack animals. The vast majority of people feel better knowing what […]

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