#244 Robert Cialdini – Mastering the Seven Principles of Influence and Persuasion | What Got You There with Sean DeLaney

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Key Takeaways

  • Seven principles of persuasion
    • 1. Reciprocity
      • Always give first
      • People who receive something from you, are more likely to say ‘yes’ to your requests
    • 2. Liking
      • Before trying to influence someone, identify your similarities and bring them to the surface
    • 3. Social Proof
      • When people are uncertain, they look to their peers for answers
    • 4. Authority
      • People trust what experts say about a matter
    • 5. Scarcity
      • People want more of the things they can have less of
    • 6. Consistency
      • People want to be consistent with what they’ve already said or done in front of you
      • If you can get them to take a small step in your direction, they will want to be consistent with that in the future
    • 7. Unity (Shared Identity – Togetherness)
      • The idea that people share some identity with you can be extremely powerful
  • Little changes that leverage these principles can have enormous effects
  • When interacting with people for the first time, always expect the best from them
    • This allows you to be generous with them
    • Generosity acts on three different persuasion principles
  • Ask for advice, not opinions
    • If you ask someone for an opinion, you get a critic
    • If instead, you ask for “advice”, they take a step towards you
      • In their mind, they become your partner

Key Books Mentioned

Intro

  • Dr. Robert Cialdini (@RobertCialdini) is a psychologist and the best-selling author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
    • Naval Ravikant (@naval) highly recommended Influence in one of his Periscope Session (Notes) 
    • Dr. Cialdini just came out with a new and expanded version of Influence
    • Check out Dr. Cialdini’s website
  • Host: Sean DeLaney (@SeanDeLaney23)
  • In this chat, Dr. Robert Cialdini explains the seven principles of persuasion, discusses how he came up with them, and shares practical tips on how to become better persuaders

Studying Influence in the Real World

  • To study influence in the real world as opposed to in the lab, Dr. Cialdini infiltrated training programs of real influence practitioners
    • He joined marketing organizations, recruiters, fundraisers, etc…
    • Those people’s livelihoods depended on effective persuasion, so he was sure to find something that would work in the world
  • He was surprised to find that most of them relied on six principles
    • They used hundreds of tactics, but each of them was leveraging at least one of six universal principles of persuasion
  • Then, Dr. Cialdini summarized these principles in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
    • Little changes that leverage these principles can have enormous effects
  • With his book Pre-Suasion, Dr. Cialdini added a seventh principle of persuasion

Pre-suasion

  • Pre-suasion is about putting people in a certain state of mind that advances your case, even before you make any request
  • Dr. Cialdini shares the examples of a door to door salesman who pretended to forget an informative book in the car while having the house owner respond to a questionnaire
    • He then asked them if he could quickly go out and come back in to get the book
    • With this action, he pre-suaded the households to trust him
    • Who do you let come in and out of your house?
      • Only people you trust

The Seven Principles of Persuasion

  • 1. Reciprocity
    • Always give first
    • People who receive something from you, are more likely to say yes to your requests
    • We train people from childhood to act this way
    • If you want to be influential with people
      • You should not ask “Who can help me here?”
      • You should ask “Whom can I help here?”
    • A study showed that people offered a free piece of chocolate were 42% more likely to buy in the store
      • Most of them didn’t even buy chocolate (they didn’t buy because they liked the chocolate so much)
  • 2. Liking
    • Before trying to influence someone, identify your similarities and bring them to the surface
      • To make people feel closer to us and like us more
    • A study showed that negotiations ended up well for both parties more often when they exchanged personal information about each other
  • 3. Social Proof
    • When people are uncertain, they look to their peers for answers
    • In a study in China, menu items marked as the “most popular” became 13-20% more popular (because they were marked as popular)
  • 4. Authority
    • When we are uncertain, we also look at what experts say about the matter
    • If there are experts/authority figures that support our message, we should include them in our communication as testimonials
      • Include expert testimonials as soon as possible
      • Everything else you say later will carry their authority
    • If you find more than one expert supporting your idea, you multiply their persuasive impact
  • 5. Scarcity
    • People want more of the things they can have less of
    • A study of e-commerce sales found scarcity to be the main selling “feature”
      • A limited number of items for sale at a price, or a limited time to buy most consistently persuaded customers to buy
      • Specifically, a limited number of available items was even more effective (it introduces competition with other people and more urgency)
  • 6. Consistency
    • People want to be consistent with what they’ve already said or done in front of you
    • If you can get them to take a small step in your direction, they will want to be consistent with that in the future
  • 7. Unity (Shared Identity – Togetherness)
    • The idea that people share some identity with you can be extremely powerful
    • If we communicate this shared identity, they consider us one of them
    • Asking donations to students, experimenters received 250% more when she explicitly said “I’m a student here too”
    • The increased tribalism in today’s society makes this principle even more powerful
  • There’s no one principle that is more powerful or effective than others
    • Each of them will be more powerful in a different context
    • You have to change your approach depending on the situation

The Impact of Generosity

  • When interacting with people for the first time, always expect the best from them
    • This allows you to be generous with them
    • Generosity acts on three different persuasion principles
  • Liking
    • People like you more when you’re generous
  • Reciprocity
    • When you’re generous to others, people want to give back to you
  • Consistency
    • Once they make a commitment to see you as a partner, they act consistently with that

Leverage Consistency in an Interview

  • Using a simple question before an interview, an acquaintance of Dr. Cialdini got three job offers in a row
  • Before beginning an interview ask what about your background made them invite you to the interview
    • Even before the interview begins, the interviewer says all sorts of positive things about you
    • Praising you will make them want to be consistent in seeing you in a good light
  • It also allows you to know, what about you they see as important so that you can double down on it

Ask for Advice, Not Opinions

  • When you have a new idea that you’d like to get buy-in from a group
  • If you ask someone for an opinion, you get a critic
    • They take a step back to see where they stand relative to your idea
  • If instead, you ask for “advice”, they take a step towards you
    • In their mind, they become your partner
  • The effectiveness of this strategy is backed up by research

Foundational Resources for Dr. Cialdini

  • The first systematic treatment of how Orators can be more successful (and persuasive) Rhetoric by Aristotle
  • The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard, about how the advertising industry used psychology to move people in a certain direction
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Understanding the difference between System 1 (Fast-thinking) and 2 (Slow-thinking) helps you understand what kind of message you should use in different situations

Additional Notes

  • Follow the passion that you’re good at
    • In high school, Dr. Cialdini was about to sign a contract to join a minor league baseball team
    • Upon finding out that Dr. Cialdini was good at school and would have gone to college. the scout about to sign him suggested he go to college instead of signing
    • Dr. Cialdini is extremely grateful to that man
  • The role of serendipity in life
    • Dr. Cialdini began his career studying human behavior
    • He took a class in social psychology to sit next to his girlfriend at the time
    • By the end of the semester, he knew that would be his field of focus
  • Dr. Cialdini is currently exploring the idea of post-suasion
    • What should you do after you sent your persuasive message to solidify your changes?
  • If Dr. Cialdini could choose anyone to have a long-form conversation with, he would choose Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler
What Got You There with Sean DeLaney : , , ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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