Influence – by Robert Cialdini

Influence - by Robert Cialdini
Influence – by Robert Cialdini

ISBN: 006124189X READ: July 2015

The best book I have ever read about social psychology. It is a book about why people say yes, filled with techniques to make your chances of getting what you want much greater. Learn to be a skilled persuader, or in my case especially, learn to defend against them. The principals in the book will help you shape your conversations so that you can lead a better life by influencing others.


Just found a great article on lessons from this book; definitely worth the read:

Weapons of Influence
– Reciprocation
– Commitment and Consistency
– Social Proof
– Liking
– Authority
– Scarcity

When we ask someone to do us a favour we will be more successful if we provide a reason.

“Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them.”

The contract principle is well established in the field of psycho-physics and applies to all sorts of perceptions besides weight. If we are talking to a beautiful woman at a cocktail party and then are joined by an unattractive, one the second woman will strike us as less attractive than she really is.

The rule of reciprocation says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. By the virtue of this rule, then, we are obligated to the future repayment of favours, gifts, invitations, and the like.

The beauty of the free sample, is that it is also a gift and, as such, can engage the reciprocity rule.

Another person can trigger a feeling of indebtedness by doing us an uninvited favour
There is a strong cultural pressure to reciprocate a gist, even an unwanted one, but there is no such pressure to purchase an unwanted commercial product.

Unfair exchanges: A small initial favour can produce a sense of obligation to agree to a substantially larger return favour.

There is a genuine distaste for individuals who fail to confirm to the dictates of the reciprocity rule.

Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with the commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision.
Following this thinking, we can go about our business happily excused from the toil of having to think too much – less decisions. Automatic consistency functions as a shield against thought.

The tactic of starting with a little request in order to gain eventual compliance with related larger requests has a name: the foot-in-the-door technique.

Public commitments tend to be lasting commitments.
Evidence is clear that the more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater is its ability to influence the attitudes of the person who made it.

For certain customers, a very good price is offered on a car, perhaps as much as 4 hundred dollars below competitors prices. The good deal however, is not genuine; the dealer never intends it to got through. Its only purpose is to cause a prospect to DECIDE to buy one of the dealerships cars.
An advantage is offered that induces a favourable purchase decisions; then, sometime after the decision has been make but before the bargain is sealed, the original purchase advantage is deftly removed.

Whenever my stomach tells me I would be a sucker to comply with a request merely because doing so would be consistent with some prior commitment I was tricked into, I relay that message to the requester.

Experiments have found that the use of canned merriment causes an audience to laugh longer and more often when humourous material is presented and to rate the material as funnier.

We view a behaviour as more correct in a given situation to the degree we see others performing it. (Salting tip jars)

“Since 95 perfect of the people are imitators and only 5 percent are initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.
The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will become correct.
When the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept the actions of others as correct.

Bystander effect: Based on research findings we have seen, my advise would be to isolate one individual from the crowd: Stare, speak and point directly at the person and no one else. Ask for help from only him/her.

Without question, when people are uncertain, they are more likely to use others’ actions to decide how themselves should act. We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behaviour for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.
We seem to assume that if a lot of people are doing the same thing, they must know something that we don’t.

Certainly, a flier whose plane is locked onto autopilot would be wise to glance occasionally at the instrument panel and out the window. In the same way, we need to look up and around periodically whenever we are locked onto the evidence of the crowd.

There seems to be a clock, whirr response to attractive people. Research has shown that we automatically assign to good locking individuals such favourable traits as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence.

We are more likely to help those that dress like us. I would advise special caution in the presence of requesters who claim to be “just like you.”

We are phenomenal suckers for flattery. We tend, as a rule, to believe praise and to like those who provide it, oftentimes when it is clearly false.

People do assume we have the same personality traits as our friends.

Notie that at the typical fund-raising dinner the speeches, the appeals for further contributions and heightened effort never come before the meal is served. He found that his subjects became fonder of the people and things they experienced while they were eating. Therefore, it is possible to attach this pleasant feeling, this positive attitude, to anything (political statements as an example) that is closely associated with good food.

To be liked, you should connect yourself to good news but not bad news.

We purposefully manipulate the visibility of our connection with winners and losers in order to make ourselves look good to anyone who could view these connections.

It is not when we have a strong feeling of recognized personal accomplishment that we will seek to bask in reflected glory. Instead, it will be when prestige (both public and private) is low that we will be intent upon using the successes of associated others to help restore image.

The time to react protectively is when we feel ourselves liking the practitioner more than we should under the circumstances. “In the 25 minutes that I have known this person, have I come to like him more than I have expected?”

There is a deep-seated sense of duty to authority within all of us.
Stanley Milgrams’s experiments: “It is the extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority that constitutes the chief finding of the study.
A physician ordered ear drops to be administered to the right ear of a patient suffering pain and infection there. But instead of writing out completely the location “right ear” on the prescription, he doctor abbreviated it so that the instructions read “place in R ear.” Upon receiving the prescription, the duty nurse promptly put the required number of ear drops into the person’s anus.

Experiments discovered that motorists would wait significantly longer before honking their horns at a new, luxury car stopped in front of a green light than at a older economy model.

The effect of authority is grossly underestimated. This property may account for much of its success as a compliance device. Not only does it work forcefully on us, but it also does so unexpectedly.
Ask yourself: “Is this authority truly an expert?” and “How truthful can we expect the expert to be here?”

The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making.
Increase is scarcity causes an increase in immediate value in ones eyes.

We know that the things that are difficult to possess are typically better than those that are easy to posses.
We rarely recognize that psychological reactance has caused us to want the item more; all we know is that we want it.

The drop from abundance to scarcity produced a decidedly more positive reaction to cookies than did constant scarcity.
Freedoms once granted will not be relinquished without a fight.

Research shows that parents who enforce discipline inconsistently produce generally rebellious children.

Not only do we want the same item more when it is scarce, we want it most when we are in competition for it.

Employ the factors of reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *