Harnessing the Science of Persuasion

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Persuasion works by appealing predictably to deeply rooted human needs. The rest of us can learn to secure consensus, cut deals, and win concessions—by artfully applying six scientific principles of winning friends and influencing people.

Cialdini draws on decades of research in experimental, especially social psychology to distill “six fundamental principles of persuasion”. Some of these principles will seem simple and completely obvious at first sight, but looking deeper into them reveals how well they work and why, making the reader more likely to apply already-implicit knowledge.

The first principle is that people are more likely to follow or agree with someone who they like because of some similarity with that person, or due to praise received.

Second, people are more willing to cooperate with those who like them. This can be difficult to put into practice, but most of us have plenty of room to find more things we genuinely like about those we interact with.

Third, experiments have confirmed our intuitive views that people tend to treat each other the same way they are treated. Therefore, doing someone a favor before seeking one can be both ethical and effective.

Fourth, people are more likely to keep promises they make voluntarily and explicitly. So, get commitments in writing (and preferably publicly). Fifth, people do defer to experts, but do not assume that your expertise is fully known or appreciated.

Finally, people want more of something that they believe is scarce, so exclusive information is more persuasive (and valuable) than widely available information. These principles are clearly illustrated by studies and cases, providing the reader with effective tools for strengthening leadership with better persuasion skills.
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