By Robert B. Cialdini, PhD
*A Book Review*
by Michael C. Gray
© 2021 by Michael C. Gray
Can you structure a situation so that your subjects will "automatically" comply with your requests?
Maybe not 100%, but you can make compliance much more likely by following the tactics in Robert Cialdini's social psychology classic, Influence. Originally issued in 1984, Dr. Cialdini has issued a new and expanded edition that everyone should own and study. Marketing and sales professionals will want to study it to make their appeals more likely to succeed. Consumers (all of us) will want to study it to recognize the tactics and defend themselves from them.
The new, expanded edition includes many case studies submitted by students of previous editions of the book of the results they experienced either from applying the tactics to others or having the tactics applied to them. The text has been expanded to 446 pages. A new chapter has been added for an additional area of influence not included in the original edition. Since we are learning about human nature, the book is a pleasure to read.
The tactics are powerful because it's human nature to automatically respond to them.
The tactics include:
- Liking (being likeable)
- Social proof
- Commitment and consistency
When you study the book and do some self-examination and observation, I think you'll agree that these tactics make sense. When someone does a kindness for us, we want to return the favor. We are more inclined to do business with people who are friendly and have a pleasant personality. When we see people in our reference group using a product or having a pleasant experience, we are more likely to do the same. We tend to accept what authority figures tell us. If something is "available in a limited quantity" or is unique, it seems more valuable and we want to get it now to avoid losing the opportunity of having it. After we commit to do something in writing or in public, we will probably perform it. We tend to associate and behave like our reference group, "One of Us."
You can take action to position yourself and your proposition to incorporate one or more of these tactics and dramatically increase compliance by others. Of course, you will want to do it for their benefit or they will probably realize they've been manipulated and avoid you in the future.
You will certainly want to own and study a copy of Influence to better understand human nature for more successful compliance by others and to recognize and defend yourself from these tactics.
Buy it online at Amazon.com: Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion.
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