Influence by Robert B. Cialdini ~ Wednesday’s Book of the Week

 Wednesday’s book of the week is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. Dr. Cialdini does an intense study on what gets people to say “yes”. This is useful in sales, marketing, and most importantly leading. Why is it that some people just have this magic glow about them that gets others to follow them. More than likely, whether they know it or not, they are imploring a few key strategies.

“Although there are thousands of different tactics that compliance practitioners employ to produce yes, the majority fall within six basic categories. Each of these categories is governed by a fundamental psychological principle that directs human behavior and, in so doing, gives the tactics their power.”¹Here are those six principles…

The 6 Principles of Influence¹ 

  1. Consistency
  2. Reciprocation
  3. Social Proof
  4. Authority
  5. Liking
  6. Scarcity

These principles are kind of the outline for the book. Along the way Robert weaves stories in and out of tactics to create those main six principles.

Give ‘Em a Reason, Why? Because.

One of the tactics for persuasion is to give a reason. “A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”² In fact that reason doesn’t even have to be completely valid (as evidenced by some politicians, not naming any names). The only thing needed is one special word. “It seems that it was not the whole series of words, but the first one, “because,” that made the difference. Instead of including a real reason for compliance, Langer’s third type of request used the word “because” and then, adding nothing new, merely restated the obvious: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies? The result was that once again nearly all (93 percent) agreed, even though no real reason, no new information, was added to justify their compliance.”²

The Contrast Principle

Unfortunately, I’ve had a car salesman pull this trick on me. I was in my twenties and scared of going car shopping on my own. The problem was my car died (even the mechanic told me to get a new car) and I needed a new one now. The car salesman showed me two cars and the first one was the ugliest cars you’d ever seen in your life. Gold and gross. The second was a black Kia Optima. Nice looking car. Just dropped quickly when it came to its value. Fortunately, I don’t believe you have to be a slimy car salesmen (not all are, just this one was) to be able to use this principle effectively in your communication. “There is a principle in human perception, the contrast principle, that affects the way we see the difference between two things that are presented one after another. Simply put, if the second item is fairly different from the first, we will tend to see it as more different from it actually is.”³ Another example of this (which is kind of funny) is the Ally Pony Commercial.


The Rule of Reciprocation

Most of us are pretty familiar with this rule. “…the rule for reciprocation. The rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. …By virtue of the reciprocity rule, then, we are obligated to the future repayment of favors, gifts, invitations, and the like.”Amazingly enough, so many of us don’t use it. It can be something as simple as buying someone a coffee. Or being there for someone when they needed it. A really neat analogy of this rule that Robert gives is between Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.

“Political analysts were amazed at Lyndon Johnson’s ability to get so many of his programs through Congress during his early administration. Even members of congress who were thought to be strongly opposed to the proposals were voting for them. Close examination by political scientists has found the cause to be not so much Johnson’s political savvy as the large score of favors he had been able to provide to other legislators during his many years of power in the House and Senate. As President, he was able to produce a truly remarkable amount of legislation in a short time by calling in those favors. It is interesting that this same process may account for the problems Jimmy Carter had in getting his programs through Congress during his early administration, despite heavy Democratic majorities in both House and Senate. Carter came to the presidency from outside the Capitol Hill establishment. He campaigned on his outside-Washington identity, saying that he was indebted to no one there. Much of his legislative difficulty upon arriving may be traced to the fact that no one there was indebted to him.”5

Each week we have another book that takes us upon an amazing journey of self-development and developing leadership skills. I do this, because I want to develop my leadership abilities and I want to guide others into doing the same. I am not some amazing leader. What I am is a servant for a greater purpose and a guide connecting you with those highly knowledgable and skilled to train leaders.

Join me in an amazing journey of transformation SUBSCRIBE HERE, because this world needs leaders like you! 

Sarah Jackson

Vigilant Poster Girl


  1. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (p. xiii). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  2. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (p. 4). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  3. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (pp. 11-12). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  4. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (pp. 17-18). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  5. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (pp. 25-26). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.

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