The Power Of Persuasion: 6 Ways To Get Your Way

Power Of Persuasion

Sometimes, when you want to get your way with people without them realizing what you are doing, you can use the power of persuasion.

Not too long ago, I taught a course at the University of Toronto titled the “Psychology of Persuasion.” I believed the course was worthwhile not to encourage manipulative behavior or unleash general psychological malice onto society—characteristics the word “persuade” tend to conjure up; rather, I felt that such a course would benefit people who strive to do well in the world and could use a leg up when it comes to knowing how to get their way—something people pleasers have an especially tough time with—and how to protect themselves from being swayed. These six research-backed principles, noted by Robert Cialdini, the “father of influence,” are worth taking note of:

Here Is How You Can Use The Power Of Persuasion To Get Your Own Way

1. Reciprocation

As a child, I noticed that whenever I was in a mall, salespeople would reach over to my mother and offer her a dollop of hand cream, a tiny vial of perfume, or a branded knickknack, to which she would, almost without fail, wave her hand in protest. When I asked her why she refused the kind gesture, she would say it was because she didn’t want to be indebted to the gift-giver to purchase anything.

Indeed, the principle of reciprocity is a strong one, because in our evolutionary history, cooperation is a skill of survival, and if someone gives, we feel the need to give back.

When trying to persuade through reciprocation, the key is to provide information that is helpful and positive, because, as Cialdini puts it, “there is a natural human tendency to dislike a person who brings us unpleasant information, even when that person did not cause the bad news. The simple association with it is enough to stimulate our dislike.” And, as detailed below, there is very little hope of exerting influence if we are disliked.

Related: 6 Mind Hacks To Persuade Anyone For Anything in Just 10 Seconds

2. Social Proof

Here’s an easy exercise you can try at home: Play your favorite show which featured a laugh track (FriendsHow I Met Your Mother, and The Big Bang Theory are all good examples), and then watch it with the laugh track removed (some muted versions of popular shows are available on YouTube) or just on mute with closed captioning on.

Chances are, the scenarios in the shows won’t be as funny as you had first thought. According to research, audiences laugh longer and more often when a laugh track is running, and they rate the material as “funnier.” Why might this be? As Cialdini noted, it’s social proof.

In any given situation, we view a behavior as more correct to the degree that we see others enacting it. This is why in situations that are awkward or difficult, people tend to look across the room at others before behaving, in order to ensure their reaction is socially acceptable and/or “correct.” After all, no one wants to be the odd man out.

Social proof is important to us because we might make fewer mistakes, hypothetically, when we go along with the crowd. Although there are pitfalls to going with instead of against the grain (such as the bystander effect), people skilled at persuasion have exploited the idea of social proof by touting that “everyone’s doing it” or, especially in sales, that they have the “fastest-growing” or “largest-selling” product or service.

In other words, we tend to think that if everyone else is doing it, so should I. Whenever considering a purchase, or being swayed in a certain direction, ensure that you are doing so in alignment with what you yourself value, and not because you’re being told that your neighbors value it too.

Power Of Persuasion
Power Of Persuasion

3. Commitment and Consistency

Generally, once we say “yes” to something, we are much less likely to back out, because keeping our word is a noble quality, and allows us to function well as a society. The need to “save face” and be consistent is deeply ingrained in our culture, and we fear the social shame attached to being known as inconsistent. This is evidenced by the very language we use to describe someone who changes their mind often or won’t readily commit—”wishy-washy,” “flip-flopper,” or “wimp.”

We can use this principle to influence others by getting them to say yes to something small, preferably through a public declaration, then gradually making larger requests. (This is also known as the “foot-in-the-door” technique.) Another way to profit by the use of the commitment and consistency principle is to remind someone who is hesitant to side with you of decisions they’ve made in their past. By highlighting how your request is similar, you indicate that the decision they are currently facing should be consistent with one they’ve made in the past.

Similarly, be careful of these techniques being used on you, and feel free to quote the economist John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

Related: Why You Should Let Go The Control Freak Inside You

4. Liking

It should come as no surprise—particularly if you’ve ever been invited to an Avon sale, Tupperware party, or pyramid scheme offering—that we tend to say “yes” to people we know and like. Hearing our name said over and over—a common sales technique—helps us like the person we are speaking with, especially if they are physically attractive.

Receiving compliments and finding similarities between ourselves and others also helps us be persuaded when we otherwise might not be. While we can use these techniques for our own benefit—so long as they aren’t recognized as such by others—we can also make note of when others might be using them on us.

Want to know more about the power of persuasion? Check this video out below!

Power Of Persuasion

5. Authority 

Simply put, people respect others who are credible experts in their field. We’re more likely to pay attention to medical advice from “Dr. Oz” than we would be from “Mr. Oz.” Similarly, we are more willing to purchase performance-enhancement products if they are promoted by people with superior physical skill, which is why product endorsements are so lucrative for athletes.

We trust our “dentist-recommended” toothpaste brands, not because we understand the chemistry of toothpaste enough to differentiate between brands, but simply because we believe a dentist has recommended it. Even a well-known spaghetti sauce brand has recently used an interesting display of authority in its television spots to attest the greatness of their sauce: Italian grandmothers.

All of these authoritative individuals, Italian grandmothers, and their sauce-tasting skill included are presumably far more knowledgeable about a specific topic than we are. It saves us time to put our trust in authority; it’s cognitively resourceful and also helps shift the blame if the products we purchase don’t turn out to be as wonderful as we’d been led to believe by the authority.

To employ influence yourself, cite or become a recognized expert about a certain subject and exert influence based on that expertise, whether on your office team or your soccer team. As for protecting yourself from being influenced by seeming authorities, carefully screen through their messages and recognize the advantages they may be receiving from trying to persuade you before you are swayed by a message given on authority alone.

6. Scarcity

“There are only a few pieces left …” “Don’t miss this rare opportunity …” “Here’s what you’ll miss out on if you don’t call within the next 15 minutes …”

If you’ve ever watched a shopping channel or late-night TV infomercials, you know the tactic of exploiting scarcity, and it’s a tried and true approach. According to Cialdini, ”The feeling of being in competition for scarce resources has powerfully motivating properties … [and] the joy is not in experiencing a scarce commodity but in possessing it.”

The principle here is creating the impression that we are losing something: “The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.”

Related: 10 Most Popular Psychological Persuasion Theories To Influence People

To exert influence using this technique, emphasize what someone will be missing by not buying your product or hearing you out. It has been demonstrated to be a stronger strategy than emphasizing the benefits alone. To protect yourself from this principle, sense if you’re feeling rushed into making a decision about something and take a step back to assess whether your newfound position is really in line with what you want.

Not all of these techniques will be effective at all times; they are context-dependent and require careful consideration and planning within your specific setting, but being armed with the knowledge of the principles needed to exert influence can not only help you become more influential but recognize when you are being influenced as well.

References:

Cialdini, R. B. (1987). Influence:The psychology of persuasion (Vol. 3). Port Harcourt: A. Michel.

Written By Mariana Bockarova
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
Power Of Persuasion pin

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

Monday Morning Inspiration: 8 Simple Tips to Make Your Monday Morning Better

Monday Morning Inspiration: Best Tips For Monday Morning

Discovering a way to enjoy the start of your week is hard for everyone. After a weekend full of relaxation, you have to go back to work or school and face another five days before you can rest again. If you’re looking for Monday morning inspiration, here are some tips!

Hearing an alarm on Monday morning feels like a punch in the gut. It’s an unpleasant reminder that it’s time to get up and do adult things again.

But out of this widespread feeling of discontent comes an opportunity for change! Instead of letting the Monday blues take over, let’s see if we can find some ways to find Monday morning motivation and make the first day of the week more enjoyable.



Up Next

9 Fun and Effective Exercises For Brain Health To Keep Your Mind Sharp

Fun Exercises For Brain Health To Keep Your Mind Sharp

Ever wonder how to keep your brain in top shape? Welcome to the gym for your mind! Let’s flex those mental muscles and discover the key to a sharper, healthier mind with the best exercises for brain health.

In a world where physical fitness often takes the spotlight, it’s time to shine a light on exercises that pump up your brain. There are certain brain exercises that can increase brain health, and boost cognitive function & mental agility.

Practicing brain exercises regularly can do wonders for your mind’s health, helping you stay sharp, focused, and mentally agile. So grab your mental sweatband, because we’ve got all the brain-boosting moves you need to unleash your inner genius. 

Best Ex



Up Next

Compulsive Pulling, Picking, Biting: The What, Why, and How of Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Tips For Overcoming Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors

Do you tend to bite your nails often? Do you have a habit of pulling your hair without even realizing it? Engaging in such repetitive behaviors that seem beyond your control can be a sign of body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). So, are there any self-help tips for overcoming body focused repetitive behaviors?

Yes. Most of us frequently pick at our skin, pull our hair, bite our nails without being aware of it. While such habits can seem harmless at a glance, when it becomes uncontrollable and left unaddressed, body focused repetitive behaviors can seriously affect our mental health and quality of life.

Although such behaviors can be challenging and distressing, there are ways to overcome it. Let’s explore this complex and often misunderstood phenomenon, exploring what are body focused repetitive behaviors, its roots, i



Up Next

How To Exit Your Lazy Girl Era? 8 Steps To Bid Farewell To The Lazy You

How To Exit Your Lazy Girl Era? Steps To Say Goodbye

Are you tired of feeling stuck in the “lazy girl” era? Do you find yourself constantly being held back by the demons of procrastination and struggling to break free from its clutches? Well, you have come to the right place, because today we are going to talk about how to exit your lazy girl era.

We are going to explore eight effective strategies that can really help you say goodbye to your lazy girl era for good and be productive. So, if you’re ready to kick laziness to the curb and unleash your inner go-getter, keep reading and get ready to transform your life.

Related: Kaizen: A Japanese Technique for Overcoming Laziness



Up Next

5 Powerful Benefits of Imaginative Thinking

Imaginative Thinking: Powerful Benefits Of Imagination

The benefits of imaginative thinking are unending to be honest. However, in this article we are going to explore five of the most interesting and powerful benefits of imagination and imaginative thinking.

KEY POINTS

Imagination is a fundamental aspect of human life.

Imagination enables one to look beyond the world as it is.

Imagination helps create different lenses through which to see the world.

Our



Up Next

What Kind Of Angry Are You? The 4 Types Of Anger

The Types Of Anger: What Kind Of An Angry Person Are You?

Everyone gets angry at some point, and anger is probably one of the most common emotions we feel. But did you know there are different types of anger, namely, 4 types of anger? This article is going to talk about the different types of anger and how they look like. So, what is your anger style? Let’s find out!

Anger may rear its emotional head in irritation and annoyance, self-pity and withdrawal, envy and resentment, or vengeance and violence. Our anger may fill the room with dominance or veil itself in anxiety or avoidance.

Those who internalize anger may question whether they have the right to be angry and avoid direct confrontation. They stuff their anger down to prevent offending, being disliked, or losing control.

Those who externalize anger resort to blaming, shaming, and engage i



Up Next

Stop Texting Your Ex ‘Happy Birthday’ – Here Are 5 Reasons Why!

Stop Texting Your Ex Happy Birthday: Important Reasons

Have you found yourself scrolling through Snapchat memories, thinking of texting your ex happy birthday? You think to yourself, can sending a simple “Happy Birthday” text hurt? But don’t be fooled by temptation – it’s never a good idea.

Life is full of ups and downs, but some things are better left alone. Making contact with them on their special day could stir up old emotions and put you in a tough place.

It not only opens doors to issues but also sends mixed signals, confuses both parties involved, and even more so can bring back haunting memories that should stay in the