Principles of Influence

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Robert Cialdini book titled The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence

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Dr. Cialdini and the Science of Persuasion

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Robert Cialdini is widely viewed as a pre-eminent thinker regarding what motivates decisionmaking and the best ways to effectively influence decisionmakers.

During his nearly 50 year career as a professor of social psychology, researcher, and consultant, he has authored five books (shown at the top of this page) and numerous scholarly publications. His first book, Influence: Science and Practice, has appeared on multiple “Best Business Books” lists. The consulting practice he founded, Cialdini Consulting Services, lists numerous Fortune 500 corporations as clients.

Although we often believe we are rational decisionmakers, there are many instances when that is not the case. In his early work, Dr. Cialdini used clinical research to identify six motivational factors that can influence decisionmakers. Subsequently, in his book Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, he supplemented his findings by emphasizing the creation of a desirable impression on a decisionmaker before the attempt to influence begins.

Numerous companies and countless individuals have successfully applied these insights for a variety of purposes. The framework can also be used to enable the institutionalization of processes that support branding efforts.

Here are selected quotes about Dr. Cialdini and his work from notable executives and business thought leaders:

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What are the Principles of Influence?

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Dr. Cialdini identified “six universal shortcuts that guide human behavior”

Reciprocity
Sincerely offering something of value typically causes a recipient to feel an obligation to “repay” the giver.
Research indicates the power of this rule is so compelling that it can be effective even if the giver is not liked.
Authority
Conditioning to respect authority is so powerful because it begins in childhood.
Research has shown that being viewed as an authority, or associated with one, can persuade people to act — sometimes even if the direction is questionable.
Liking
It is well known that people are more likely to act on suggestions made by people they like.
Similarity, compliments, and working toward a common goal are concepts that can be used to enhance likeability.
Scarcity
People tend to be more motivated by the threat of loss than by an opportunity to acquire something of equal value.
Deadlines, limited supplies, exclusivity, prohibition, and awareness of competition can each trigger a desire to capture an opportunity.
Consistency
People have a tendency to conform their actions to their commitments because being viewed as inconsistent is socially undesirable.
Even small commitments can cause a person to change their self-view, which can lead to long-term behavioral changes.
Consensus
Also known as social proof, it is the belief that something is right when we see more people do it or agree with a decision. It is particularly powerful in uncertain situations.
Think of it as the “all the cool kids are doing it” principle.

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To learn more watch Dr. Cialdini’s overview video

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How can the Principles of Influence
unlock your firm’s hidden potential?

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Most efforts to develop closer business relationships fail not because of lack of desire but rather a lack of time or relationship management skillsets.

Effective design of technology solutions and processes can overcome those issues. Consistent generation of actionable insights requires a solution that eases the gathering, preparation, analysis, and consumption of information. Consistent execution requires tools that make accessing current, valid information intuitive, easy, and quick.

By creating a solution based on the Principles of Influence framework companies can ensure nearly effortless delivery of messages that consistently brand the firm and are crafted to influence decisionmakers effectively. It is possible to achieve this outcome regardless of the relationship management skills of those delivering the messages. Of course, being liked is also helpful.

Such solutions can also reinforce a sense of collaboration and team spirit. Employees typically come to realize how their contributions can assist others in ways no one in the firm had considered. This spirit of collegiality, and the relationship alpha that follows, helps drive adoption and consistency and validates the decision to invest in such a solution.

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Let's discuss how your firm could use this framework to its advantage