Influence – Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.



I thought a book to throw into the mix was the classic Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D; a topic about the psychology of persuasion.

So in a nutshell, this book is all about getting people to say yes without putting much thought into whatever is in front of us we’re being presented with. Those who know how to get people to say yes, stay and flourish, while those who don’t soon fall away. The top key points taken away and summarized are located below:

1. Auto-Pilot-Who’s Flying the Plane?

We have a natural tendency as humans to have automatic behavior patterns that allow us to seek out shortcuts amongst the various triggers and stimulants that we encounter throughout our lives. We have stereotypes and automatic tapes that allow for these shortcuts to make our life easier and have the ability to direct human action. These shortcuts, although serve as a benefit, get us to respond mindlessly in the face of compliance professionals aware of out limitations that are preying on our vulnerability. Their goal is exploit our weakness in the face of this, getting us to say yes and be apart of the unquestioning, unthinking mass.

2. Tag! You’re it!

Reciprocation- the old give and take works deeper in our culture then even imagined. From Legislative officials of political contributions, to religious societies, even to stay-at-home moms pursuing Amway, making us obligated to repay anyone who presents us with gifts and good fortune. Although the obligations to repay constitutes the essence of the reciprocity rule, it’s the obligation to receive and which reduces our ability to choose who we become indebted to, putting the power in the hands of other that creates reciprocation so powerful.

Learning this allowed me to realize the tremendous amounts of free value such as ebooks often given away by many websites, asking in exchange for an email which can be used to benefit them further in the future starting from such a small investment on their end.

3. Consistency is Key

Once a stand has been taken, we act in ways to be stubbornly consistent with our stand. We work against ourselves when our desire to be consistent traps us in compliance with the pressure to remain consistent. Once we have a belief in ourselves, our self-image is pressured from two-sides. On one side, we feel pressure to remain internally consistent with our belief and externally in ways to have other people see us in this way. Known as a foot-in-the-door, the idea is to start small and build to get compliance, leading to further compliance requests in the face of anyone looking to exploit our natural tendency to remain compliant.

4. Like Attracts Like

We’re more likely to follow in the footsteps of those who seem to be similar and things that are familiar to us. We tend to favor people of similar opinions, backgrounds, life-styles, personalities, even such traits that’s not even justified. We are susceptible to compliments, which increases our likeability for someone and takes use of reciprocity.

5. Scarcity

It’s not a secret we tend to go in the direction of things that don’t appear as available then those things that easier to obtain. Most sales people and sales tactics use this principle when the advertisement announcing a product being in short supply, hoping to have a rush of customers in their favor. In many instances the loss of availability suddenly becomes more attractive, the less available it is, the more of an increased desire we experience for it.

Something as simple as someone not returning our phone call, suddenly that event increased our desire for that person to return our call. Not being aware of such things can create us to become needy and weak, often an undesirable in unsuspecting circumstances.

There were ton of other references throughout the book that explains our vulnerability to such persuasion tactics if granted amongst untrusting suspects. It was certainly an eye-opening to see how simple it is to fall in unconscious thought patterns with presented with such natural hardwired tendencies we poses.

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