In recent years there’s been a proliferation of books and blogs on the subject of influence and persuasion. Some are quite good but many are nothing more than a rehash of Dr. Robert Cialdini’s material.
economists. In this series we’re working through the word PEOPLE and we now come to the second “P” which stands for Persuade. This begs the question, what does it actually mean to persuade someone?
convince.” That’s okay, but I prefer Aristotle’s definition. Aristotle told the
world more than 2,000 years ago persuasion was “The art of getting someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.”
need to change their behavior and no persuasion is necessary. The same could be said of your child; if your child is doing his/her homework then you don’t need to persuade him or her to study.
relatively healthy 85-year-old person telling you they’ve smoked two packs of
cigarettes a day for more than 60 years and tries to convince you it wouldn’t harm you. Would you want to emulate their behavior just because they’ve lived a good long life? Of course you wouldn’t. Like most people you’d probably prefer to know what decades of studies have to say about healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices.
influence because it’s rooted in six decades of research by social psychologists and behavioral economists. We’re much better off following the advice of people who study this for a living vs. people who might have made it big more by chance than skill.
you’re in business you might say there are “best practices” in how to communicate if you want to get solid bottom line results.
- Stop making statements and start asking questions because it engages the principle of consistency. Once people give you their word they’ll do something, the odds of them following through go up significantly vs. telling them what to do.
- Make sure people know your credentials up front. The principle of authority clearly shows that people listen to those with knowledge and expertise, but they have to know what your expertise is before you start talking.
- Tell people what they stand to lose by not going along with your request because the principle of scarcity tells us people are more motivated by what they may lose as opposed to what they might gain.
- Take extra time to personalize whatever you do for someone else. Reciprocity is the principle that tells us people feel obligated to give back to those who first give to them so going an extra step is usually met with a better response.
These are just a few ways to incorporate scientifically proven principles to persuade into your everyday communication. Next week we’ll examine the “L” in PEOPLE to see how persuasion can have a Lasting impact on people.
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.