Cialdini's 6 Principles of Persuasion




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Chloe Xu
Director, Australia

Cialdini's 6 Principles of Persuasion

🔥NEW Persuasion is an important skill. Many have assumed that this tool is beyond their grasp, available only to the charismatic and the eloquent. Research over the past decades, though, shows that persuasion is governed by six principles that can be taught and applied. These are the Principles of Persuasion of Cialdini:
  1. Principle #1 LIKING
    How to establish liking? Uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise.
    Controlled research has identified several factors that contribute to liking, but two stand out as especially compelling - similarity and praise.
    • Similarity literally draws people together. People are more likely to follow someone similar to them than someone who is not. Informal conversations during the workday create an ideal opportunity for managers to discover at least one common area of enjoyment. The important thing is to establish the bond early because it creates a presumption of goodwill and trustworthiness in every subsequent encounter.
    • Praise, the other generator of affection, both charms and disarms. Experimental data shows that positive remarks about another person's traits, attitude, or performance reliably generates liking in return. Managers can also use praise to repair a damaged or unproductive relationship.
  2. Principle #2 RECIPROCITY
    How to establish reciprocity? Give what you want to receive.
    Managers can elicit the desired behaviour from coworkers and employees by displaying it first. Reciprocity confers a genuine first-mover advantage on anyone who is trying to foster positive attitudes and productive personal relationships in the office. Whether it's a sense of trust, a spirit of cooperation, or a pleasant demeanour, leaders should model the behaviour they want to see from others.
  3. Principle #3 SOCIAL PROOF
    How to establish social proof? Use peer power whenever it's available.
    Persuasion can be effective when it comes from peers. The science supports what most sales professionals already know, testimonials from satisfied customers work best when the customer and the prospective share similar circumstances. Influence is often best exerted horizontally rather than vertically.
  4. Principle #4 CONSISTENCY
    How to establish consistency? Make people's commitments active, public, and voluntary.
    Research has showed that most people, once they take a stand or go on record in favour of a position, prefer to stick to it. There's strong empirical evidence to indicate that a choice made actively - one that's spoken out loud or written or otherwise made explicit - is considerably more likely to direct someone's future conduct than the same choice left unspoken. Research also suggests that written statements become even more powerful when they're made public, as most people wish to appear consistent to others.
  5. Principle #5 AUTHORITY
    How to establish authority? Expose your expertise; don't assume it's self-evident.
    A well-selected expert offers a valuable and efficient shortcut to wise decisions in our complex life. Some questions, be they legal, financial, medical, or technological, require so much specialised knowledge to answer, we have no choice but to rely on experts.
    Since there's good reason to defer to experts, leaders should take pains to establish their own expertise before attempting to exert influence. During the preliminary conversation before most meetings, there is always an opportunity to touch lightly on your relevant background and experience as a natural part of a sociable exchange. This initial disclosure of personal information gives you a chance to establish expertise early in the game, so that when the discussion turns to the business, what you say will be accorded the respect it deserves.
  6. Principle #6 SCARCITY
    How to establish scarcity? Highlight unique benefits and exclusive information.
    Study after study shows that items and opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available. Exclusive information is more persuasive than widely available data. Loss language also figures far more heavily in decision-making than gain language. However, no offer of exclusive information, no exhortation to act now or miss this opportunity forever should be made unless it is genuine.
The 6 fundamental principles are relatively easy for most people to grasp. Actually applying them is more difficult and requires talent and practicing. Leaders can apply them in combination to compound their impact.
To achieve a long-term effect, managers should also use theses principles with ethics, otherwise, the organisation can't function properly with ill trust and cooperation.
Source: Cialdini, R., 2001. Harnessing the Science of Persuasion. Harvard Business Review.
 

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