4 Key Takeaways From Influence

In the New York Times Bestseller, psychology Professor Robert B Cialdini uses his thirty-five years of research to explain the psychology of why people say yes. This book explains the how and why of automatic influence. He breaks down the six components of any skilled persuader so anyone can ethically get anyone to say yes, in business or every day life or detect manipulation.

My key Takeaways from “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert B. Cialdini

Takeaway #1 We Feel The Need to Reciprocate

We're more willing to do people a favor if they give us a reason – Any reason and if someone does us a favor we feel the need to return it, even if we don't like the person.

A powerful persuasion technique that we fall for time and time again is that of the rejection-then-retreat technique. It can either be done through negotiating a price – Starting at a higher (or lower) price that you know will be rejected and then conceding and saying a more realistic price. The other person also has to concede from their starting point and meets you in the middle. Or by you rejecting a higher priced item but feeling bad at saying no and so then buying the cheaper offered option.

Takeaway #2 We Can't Say No To Scarcity

Scarcity is another trick that our brains can't resist – Think how many times a 'Limited Stock', 'Last Chance To Buy' or 'Sale Ending Tomorrow' message has forced you to buy a product because you were scared you wouldn't find it at that price again and didn't want to miss out! Real estate agents do it too by saying there are other bidders interested which might force you to make the offer that day in case someone else snags it before you!

Humans are also susceptible for wanting what they cannot have, just think about a kid who has been told they can't have that toy or chocolate bar and how much teens and adults want that love that's forbidden!

Takeaway #3 Following The Crowd

When we're unsure how to act or react, we look to those around us to see what they're doing. Because it's natural for us to react like this we can be manipulated – Think about the canned laughter on sitcoms, are you meant to find that joke funny? There's a background of laughter so yes, you should laugh now. Companies will often use the phrases 'best-selling' or 'fastest-growing' to encourage you to buy since it seems everyone else is buying that item too.

People who are similar to us greatly influence our choices, just think about following fashion trends with your peers or going to a Tupperware party with friends. But social proof can also have a negative effect – In an emergency, if you're not sure how to react and look to others around you who are also unsure and doing nothing, you're more likely to do nothing too.

Takeaway #4 We Obey Authority

We are taught from a very young age to obey authority without question and it becomes so ingrained in us that this authority negates independent thinking. As adults we don't even need to see symbols of authority (i.e the police badge or nurse's uniform) we use titles to identify the person's authority over us, being more respectful to a professor or doctor than to someone without a professional title. We have to be careful that the person in question is not masquerading as an authority figure to gain our trust and to question what that person tells us to do if it feels wrong to us.

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