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How Do You Persuade Other People to Say Yes?

So you've got a great idea that you want to discuss with your boss. You’re sure it will save the company time and money, but it needs the support of your manager. How can you persuade them to come on board with your idea?

Influencing other people can be difficult, but if you know a bit about the psychological principles behind the influencing process, you will have a far greater chance of persuading people to say Yes.

This blog is about Cialdini's Six Principles of Influence and how you can use them. Can I persuade you to read it?

The Six Principles of Influence were created by Robert Cialdini, who published them in his 1984 book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion." He identified the six principles by working with people who are skilled in the art of influencing others, including salespeople, fund raisers and recruiters.

Here’s an outline of the six principles:

1. Reciprocity – most people like to return favours, pay back debts and treat others as they are treated. According to the principle of reciprocity, this can lead us to feel obliged to offer help to other people if they have offered help to us, because we don’t like feeling indebted to someone else. If you help one of your colleagues with a project, then they might feel obliged to support your idea for a new project.

2. Commitment and Consistency – Cialdini says that people respond to consistency, so once you’ve committed to something, make sure that you go through with it. If you show interest in a new project that your boss is developing, you’re more likely to be asked to support it if you have a reputation for delivering the goods.

3. Social Proof – otherwise known as ‘safety in numbers’. People are more likely to do something if they see other people doing it. We assume that if other people are doing it, it must be OK.  Which do you believe – a travel company’s publicity material or postings on Trip Advisor?

4. Liking – according to Cialdini, we're more likely to be influenced by people that we like. Likability comes in many forms. People might be similar to you, they might give you compliments, or they may simply trust you. You are more likely to buy from people you know, like and trust.

5. Authority – we feel a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority. This is why people tend do what their manager asks them to do. It’s not just job titles, but also the presence and gravitas that an individual commands.

6. Scarcity – this principle says that things are more attractive when they have limited availability. You will have seen offers like “Offer finishes at the end of this month”, which might encourage you to buy.

There is much more about the principles inCialdini’s book, or read on for how to apply them.

Did it work? Did you read all the way to the end of this blog?