01 March 2018

A Short Course in Persuasion

"There is no expedient to which a person will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking."

--Dr. Robert Cialdini

In the first of a series of posts on the topic of "persuasion," we look at Dr. Cialdini's ideas and research findings.  They're the result of a lifetime of study while serving as professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, and as visiting professor at Stanford University. 

Quotable quotes

Recently Farnam Street newsletter offered quotes from Dr. Cialdini on persuasion. Here are four that caught our attention ...

"We seem to assume that if a lot of people are doing the same thing, they must know something we don't."

"Since 95 percent 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."

"In part, the answer involves an essential but poorly appreciated tenet of all communication: what we present first changes the way people experience what we present next."

"As the stimuli saturating our lives continue to grow more intricate and variable, we will have to depend increasingly on our shortcuts to handle them all."

A path to successful persuasion

Here are Dr. Cialdini's six "Principles of Persuasion:"

No. 1: Reciprocity

Simply put, people are obliged to give back to others the form of a behavior, gift, or service that they have received first.

No. 2: Scarcity

People want more of those things they can have less of.

No. 3: Authority

This is the idea that people follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.

No. 4: Consistency

People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.

No. 5: Liking

People prefer to say "yes" to those that they like.

No. 6: Consensus

Especially when they are uncertain, people will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own.

Learn more about the six principles.

His book, "Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion," which has sold more than three million copies, may be purchased here.


(C) Bredholt & Co.