I devoured Robert Cialdini’s book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” when I discovered it.
After all, who doesn’t want to be influential—whether the sphere of your influence is small or large?
And, who doesn’t want to read a book with an introduction that starts… “I can admit it freely now. All my life I have been a patsy.”
I can relate to that. I am easily influenced too. The perfect “mark”—a quality that I both like about myself, but have had to work against. I like it because it means I am an open person. I have had to work against it because I had a career as a “professional skeptic” aka a journalist.
What I love about Cialdini’s book is that he took his big fault—his gullibility—and explored it.
In various disguises, often as a trainee or aspiring professional, Cialdini infiltrated the world of the perpetrators of influence—sales organisations, for example—and had them teach him the ropes. How was it that they got him to buy encyclopaedias, cars, vacuum cleaners and dance lessons – whether or not he needed them?
And here’s what he discovered. Although 1000s of tactics were used, they fell into six groups:
- Social proof
Are you brave enough to reveal which of these six is most likely to influence you? For me, “scarcity” is a big one (why I am hopeless at buying property.)