The book ‘Influence’ by Dr. Robert Cialdini is one of the most important books of the last 50 years. The work takes a number of principles and breaks down how each of them function and uses examples to explain them in more detail. The principles are:
1. Reciprocity – In many ways this can be understood as a contractual agreement where one party will give an initial act of generosity, then the other party will feel obliged to return the gesture in like kind or even in a greater amount. An example of this would be a company that provides a free sample of a product to try, or a social media platform that would allow a user to create a free account.
2. Commitment and Consistency – This principle deals with the psychological question of integrity and a person will typically want to remain consistent with their word because if a person accrues a reputation as being unreliable or flakey then they lose respect and trust from others.
3. Liking – Typically people will want to operate with people that they like. People usually categorize themselves by some type of group or unit, and it is within these groups that people are usually comfortable in operating. This information is important to know and understand in order to have influence within those groups.
4. Authority – Figures who are in and ‘perceived’ to have authority have a greater amount of leverage in society to gain compliance. Examples are doctors, police officers, scientists, judges and so on.
5. Social Proof – If at anytime a person is not sure what to do then they will typically do what they see others around them do in order to make an informed choice. Sometimes this can be known as a herd mentality and this is a very powerful form of influence.
6. Scarcity – The perception of loss is a very powerful way to generate influence and this principle is used in seasonal sales and offers from retailers and is also used frequently in the luxury goods industry, which puts a premium of the price of those goods because of the limited amount of those items.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Author: Robert Cialdini