Using the six principles of persuasion as described by Robert B. Cialdini, like reciprocity, social proof, consistency, liking, authority and scarcity; one can easily persuade and influence others
What do the most successful people—those who seem to receive promotions, increments and better opportunities —do that the rest of us don't?
They think like leaders, not employees; they are people who seize opportunities. They constantly explore new approaches and solutions to improve things rather than following the accepted way. Their ability to develop viable innovative ideas to solve business problems distinguishes them from others.
However, implementing any new concept remains tough if fewer team and management buy-ins. To solve this perplexing and recalcitrant issue that leaders encounter at work, Robert B. Cialdini, author of the book – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, has recommended six principles of persuasion. He firmly believes that leaders can exert far more significant influence than formal power structures by using these workplace principles. Principles of persuasion can be used to come to an agreement and cut office deals in business environments. Let us read about the six principles of persuasion to influence people and win friends.
Reciprocity is exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. It is human nature to value equality and balance in life. Thus, according to human nature, individuals do not want to feel that they owe something to others. The result of such nature is that they try to settle the social obligation they are having. For example: if someone sends you a birthday card, it is almost certain that you will also send them in return.
Using the principle of reciprocity, individuals can influence the behaviours of others. In a business environment, reciprocity can be used by doing favours, helping teammates, and building a bank of social obligation. It is often said, “Give what you want to receive”, therefore by assisting a team member, you will also get his help in the future.
The second principle of persuasion is scarcity. Initially, people value what is scarce, be it talent or resources. Economic principles also work on scarcity, i.e. the cost of scarce resources are higher when compared to other resources. For example, the cost of non-renewable resources is always higher than the cost of renewable resources.
Similarly, business leaders know that if the talent is unique, it will be valuable and scarce. And the more insufficient top talent becomes, the more bosses and teams will find their existence crucial to the success of their business. This holds for material products and as well as for experiences. From the business point of view, persuading and influencing people means to increase the individual’s interest in the product or service by reducing the availability in the market. Another example of this principle is in an online sales platform for hotel bookings or seat bookings; advertisers commonly say “only three seats are left at this price”. This is done to create a sense of scarcity among individuals.
It is possible to create a sense of scarcity around the information you have or your availability in business applications, which will lead to an increase in desire for what you have to offer. This can also be done by not relaying complete information and holding it to create a sense of scarcity.
Individuals having authoritative nature, credible personalities and experts in their respective fields are more influential and persuasive when compared to others. Authority and credibility are the building blocks of trust among individuals, and when individuals trust a person, they try to follow them. In the office environment, it is widely noticed that people put their certificates to establish their authority.
It is less effective when individuals promote themselves or beat their drums than others do it for them in specific scenarios. The words of praise from others like your boss, a colleague will automatically increase your influence and the ability to persuade others.
It is crucial to prove your expertise in a business application rather than assume it to be self-evident. Establishing your expertise before venturing for business with new colleagues or partners is always beneficial. For example, during a conversation before a meeting, it is advised to describe how you solved a problem similar to the agenda of the meeting.
People are always urged to stick to their commitments in writing to the public or any voluntary obligations. At the same time, people like to be consistent with their identity or self-image.
In the context of business application, it is wise to make the commitments of others active, voluntary and public. This will help to have a positive impact on the team spirit. For example, while supervising an employee who has to submit a report for the project on time, it is advised to get that understanding written in the form of a memo. This will make their commitment to submitting timely reports public.
It is undeniable that people like those who like them, and therefore, people tend to be more influenced and persuaded by those they want. It is human nature to like those who compliment them, praise their work and cooperate with them.
In workplaces, creating an early bond with new peers, team leaders, and managers by discovering common interests will help establish goodwill and trustworthiness. At the same time, making authentic positive remarks about others in the office will help generate more willing compliance.
The last of all six principles of persuasion is social proof. People conform to the group or societal norms to be liked and accepted by the community. People frequently emulate the actions of experts in an attempt to reflect acceptable behaviour in an unclear scenario. Uncertainty is all around us, and it has never been more prevalent than today. Much of what lies ahead in life remains unpredictable, whether it concerns a worldwide epidemic, the economy, or your money, health, and relationships. Unpredictability is unpleasant; we all want to have greater control over our lives, which is why we listen to experts.
In the case of business application, for example, when a new initiative is under resistance from the team or management, it is advised to ask the authority figure or the subject matter expert to support the new initiative.
Learning the persuasion secrets will empower leaders to gain more support and confidence while unleashing innovation, creative solutions and greater possibilities. Mastering such abilities can lead to a highly successful career with more significant influence.