Wednesday, December 4

Harnessing the Science of Persuasion


Fascinating article on how to persuade people. 6 principles. Quite a lot of science behind this, but I would like to talk more about 2 things, the principle of liking and the principle of reciprocity. The principle of liking is the first and foremost, son. People will do what you tell them if you genuinely like them. And that cannot be faked. So tell people that you like them. I know it’s a British thing not to talk emotions and beat about the bush, but tell people straight off that you like them. And you want to do business together. Or whatever. It has to be genuine, mind you, and that’s what you need to cultivate, son. A deep abiding interest in other people. Know what they are doing, what they are up to, what is going on, what are their likes and dislikes. Understand their fears and emotions.

The second thing is reciprocity, son. I already told you that I was so happy to hear that you were helping out your friend. You haven’t seen the godfather film yet, you should son. It’s quite an interesting film. See how a man rose to become the godfather. You know what he did? He did favours for other people. That’s what I like to do, not because I want to be a godfather, but because its good. People know me as a person they can come for help. I very very rarely ask for a favour back. Almost never, but that’s the thing, son, you don’t need favours back. Help others, give help to them, make others successful. That’s the key thing in persuading people. Ensure that you are making them successful or removing a problem from their laps. And they will recognise that, son. People aren’t stupid. They are smart. But if you want them to do something that you want then you have to make sure that they are getting something out of it. So do favours for them, every time, all the time, son.

Rest, read this. It will help you throughout your life, son.




Harnessing the Science of Persuasion

by Robert B. Cialdini

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, and convert the opposition. Watching these masters of persuasion work their magic is at once impressive and frustrating. What’s impressive is not just the easy way they use charisma and eloquence to convince others to do as they ask. It’s also how eager those others are to do what’s requested of them, as if the persuasion itself were a favor they couldn’t wait to repay.

The frustrating part of the experience is that these born persuaders are often unable to account for their remarkable skill or pass it on to others. Their way with people is an art, and artists as a rule are far better at doing than at explaining. Most of them can’t offer much help to those of us who possess no more than the ordinary quotient of charisma and eloquence but who still have to wrestle with leadership’s fundamental challenge: getting things done through others. That challenge is painfully familiar to corporate executives, who every day have to figure out how to motivate and direct a highly individualistic work force. Playing the “Because I’m the boss” card is out. Even if it weren’t demeaning and demoralizing for all concerned, it would be out of place in a world where cross-functional teams, joint ventures, and intercompany partnerships have blurred the lines of authority. In such an environment, persuasion skills exert far greater influence over others’ behavior than formal power structures do.

Which brings us back to where we started. Persuasion skills may be more necessary than ever, but how can executives acquire them if the most talented practitioners can’t pass them along? By looking to science. For the past five decades, behavioral scientists have conducted experiments that shed considerable light on the way certain interactions lead people to concede, comply, or change. This research shows that persuasion works by appealing to a limited set of deeply rooted human drives and needs, and it does so in predictable ways. Persuasion, in other words, is governed by basic principles that can be taught, learned, and applied. By mastering these principles, executives can bring scientific rigor to the business of securing consensus, cutting deals, and winning concessions. In the pages that follow, I describe six fundamental principles of persuasion and suggest a few ways that executives can apply them in their own organizations.

The Principle of Liking:

People like those who like them.

The Application:

Uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise.

The retailing phenomenon known as the Tupperware party is a vivid illustration of this principle in action. The demonstration party for Tupperware products is hosted by an individual, almost always a woman, who invites to her home an array of friends, neighbors, and relatives. The guests’ affection for their hostess predisposes them to buy from her, a dynamic that was confirmed by a 1990 study of purchase decisions made at demonstration parties. The researchers, Jonathan Frenzen and Harry Davis, writing in theJournal of Consumer Research, found that the guests’ fondness for their hostess weighed twice as heavily in their purchase decisions as their regard for the products they bought. So when guests at a Tupperware party buy something, they aren’t just buying to please themselves. They’re buying to please their hostess as well.

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