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Influence - the science of persuasion

A walk through the tools and techniques that can be demployed to help you get to the "yes". Based on the work of Robert Cialdini and the principles of neuroscience.

Scott McArthur

on 21 February 2017

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Transcript of Influence - the science of persuasion

The Psychology of Persuasion
1. Reciprocation

2. Commitment & Consistency

3. Social Proof

4. Liking

5. Authority

6. Scarcity
1. Reciprocation
Here, try to get people's commitment early on, either verbally or even better in writing.  For example, if you're building support for a bid or a project, talk about ideas early on with stakeholders, and take their comments and views into account and get them to physically sign off the "opportunity analysis".

Or, if you're selling a product, sell a very small quantity (a "taster"), or make it easy for people to change their mind once they've bought it. (Here, buying the product is the early commitment, even though they have the right to return it if they want to.) 
2. Commitment & Consistency
3. Social Proof
Tupperware in the 1980s and Arbonne today
4. Liking
5. Authority
6. Scarcity
The principle of reciprocity means that we behave kindly
under the assumption that someone will show us the same kindness someday
Once we've made a stand, we are more willing to say yes to something that's consistent with stand
Follow the lead of someone who is legitimate
People want more of things that they can have less of
The power of the "appearance" of others taking action
...or convincing others to say.....
Science Bit
Persuasion involves trying to change someone’s attitude—and often his or her behavior as well (Perrin & others, 2010). There are two central questions with respect to persuasion:

What makes an individual decide to give up an original attitude and adopt a new one, and what makes a person decide to act on an attitude that he or she has not acted on before?

Teachers, lawyers, and sales representatives study techniques that will help them sway their audiences (children, juries, and buyers). Political candidates have arsenals of speechwriters and image consultants to help ensure that their words are persuasive. Perhaps the most skilled persuaders of all are advertisers, who draw on a full array of techniques to sell everything from cornflakes to carpets to cars. Let’s review the various elements of persuasion, which were originally identified by Carl Hovland and his colleagues (Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1953; Janis & Hovland, 1959):

The communicator (source): Suppose you are running for president of the student body. You tell your fellow students that you are going to make life at your college better. Will they believe you? Most likely, that will depend on your characteristics as a communicator. Whether the students believe you will depend in large part on your credibility—how much other students trust what you say. Trustworthiness, expertise, power, attractiveness, likability, and similarity are all credibility characteristics that help a communicator change people’s attitudes or convince them to act.

The medium: Another persuasion factor is the medium or technology used to get the message across. Consider the difference between watching a political debate on television and reading about it in the newspaper. Because it presents live images, television is generally a more powerful medium than print sources for changing attitudes.

The target (audience): Age and attitude strength are two characteristics of the audience that determine whether a message will be effective. Younger people are more likely to change their attitudes than older ones. As well, it is easier to change weak attitudes than strong ones.

The message: What kind of message is persuasive? Some messages involve strong logical arguments, and others focus on exciting emotions such as fear and anger in the audience.

Successful Persuasion Sooner or later, nearly everyone will be in a position of selling someone something. Social psychologists have studied a variety of ways in which social psychological principles influence whether a salesperson makes that sale (Cialdini, 1993). This presentation will focus, primarily, on the meta-analysis carried out by Cialdini and published in his seminal work.......
...refers to methods focused on contrasting and combining results from different studies, in the hope of identifying patterns among study results, sources of disagreement among those results, or other interesting relationships that may come to light in the context of multiple studies. In its simplest form, this is normally by identification of a common measure of effect size, of which a weighted average might be the output of a meta-analysis.
Meta-analysis ?
(after - The Science of Psychology, King 2011)
Influencing others is difficult & challenging, which is why it's worth understanding the psychological principles behind the influencing process.
The brain and nervous system are central to understanding behavior, thought, and emotion
This filtering is increasingly important in today's data rich, "social media" world
The world is alive with stimuli; all the objects and events that surround us. Sensation
and perception are the processes through which we detect, understand and filter these various
So what does the meta-analysis show?
6 Principles
As humans, we generally aim to return favours and pay back debts. According to the notion of reciprocity, this can lead us to feel obliged to offer concessions or discounts to others if they have offered them to us. This is because we're uncomfortable with feeling indebted to them.

For example, if a colleague helps you when you're busy with a project, you might feel obliged to support her ideas for improving team processes.

You might decide to buy more from a supplier if they have offered you an aggressive discount. Or, you might give money to a charity fundraiser who has given you a flower in the street.
There is a huge amount of evidence that suggests that the majority of people are imitators, so people are easily persuaded by the actions of others than by any other proof offered

You can use this principle by creating a "buzz" around your idea or product. 

For example, if you're trying to get support for a new project, work on generating support from influential people (mavens and hubs) in your organization. These may not always be managers.

To build good relationships, ensure that you put in the time and effort needed to build trust and rapport with clients and people you work with, and behave with consistency.

Develop your emotional intelligence (EI) and active listening skills, and remember that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach when it comes to relating to others

Also, don't try too hard to be liked by others - people can always spot a phony! 

To use authority, get support from influential and powerful people, and ask for their help in backing the idea. (Use Influence Maps to help you network with people who can help.) 

If you're marketing a product or service, highlight well-known and respected customers, use comments from industry experts, and talk about impressive research or statistics Things like well-produced brochures, professional presentations, impressive offices, and smart clothing can also lend authority
With this principle, people need to know that they're missing out if they don't act quickly. 

If you're selling a product, limit the availability of stock, set a closing date for the offer, or create special editions of products.

This principle can be trickier to apply within your organization if you're trying to influence others to support your ideas or projects, however don't forget that time and resources can be as scarce as a fridge any day!
Be careful how you use the six principles - it is very easy to use them to mislead or deceive people or to exert undue influence.
When you're using approaches like this, make sure that you use them honestly - by being completely truthful, and by persuading people to do things that are good for them.  
If you persuade people to do things that are wrong for them, then this is manipulative, and it's unethical.
And it's clearly wrong to cheat or lie about these things - in fact, this may be fraudulent. 
There appears to be some universal "weapons of influence".....
Interested? Ask Scott about TIP.....
Check out this "classic" for more ideas on how to use social proof as an influencing technique
We are more likely to be influenced by people we like
For a startling example of how authority works google Jane Elliott's benchmark discrimination research on eye-colour
The Franklin “paradox”..." he that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged”
This is also true..........
For more "odd" facts from the world of psychology and influence look here...
If you are not interested in the scientific background to this topic just hit your right arrow key 3 times now!
In the world of influence one thing underpins the 6 weapons.....
Don't be a "Dementor" and suck the life from your relationships
increases your influence exponentially
Core Text
Psychology Background
Sculpture's "Golden Rule of Communications"
Brilliant animated short from Robert Cialdini's Channel
President Taylor
Let's have a look at what each of these mean
(For best results click "Fullscreen" (as shown). You can move through the presentation by clicking the arrows at the bottom of the viewing screen or by using the arrow keys on your keyboard)
“Sculpture is all about inspiring individuals and teams to think differently about themselves and change”
...a presentation by Scott McArthur (Sculpture Consulting Ltd)
Full transcript