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Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive Robert B. Cialdini with Noah J. Goldstein and Steve J. Martin


social proof personal messages

understand audience praise good behaviour put value on free clear specific personal touch label a request praise decisions

train by mistakes argue against self interest +ve & -ve attributes need to connect take blame real smiles mirroring because scarcity unique rhyming & matching

keep few choices reciprocity is normal offer help for reciprocity verbalise commitment

people choose the middle

significance-unexpected-personalised for gift feel obliged to return favour doing favours increases reciprocity smaller favours increase participation start low in auctions be introduced as expert team outcomes better dissenters add value

loss more powerful than gain powerful images avoid complexity

compare reframe mid programme use ambiguity increased excitement memory aid brand mirrors cut theft be aware of others emotions decision making best when alert email easily misunderstood influence changes with culture

Six Universal Principles of Social Influence

Reciprocation We feel obligated to return favors performed for us. Authority We look to experts to show us the way. Commitment/Consistency We want to act consistently with our commitments & values

Six Universal Principles of Social Influence

Scarcity The less available the resource, the more we want it Liking The more we like people the more we want to say yes to them & we like & trust people like us similarity Social Proof We look to what others do to guide our behavior

Social Proof
When people are uncertain about a course of action, they tend to look outside themselves to other people around them to guide their decisions & actions Ad writer Colleen Szot changed the line at the end of an infomercial from, Operators are standing by to If operators are busy, please call again. Sales skyrocketed because operators waiting meant no one wanted the product. Busy operators meant others were calling & wanted the product Testimonials from satisfied customers are powerful social proof

Social Proof/Similarity Social proof is powerful, but even more powerful when the proof or endorsement comes from people like us our tribe, our family, our colleagues Positive social proof is much more effective than negative social proof 2004 election, 4 years ago, 22 million single women didnt vote focused target audience on prevalence of problem & validated not voting, rather than the undesirability Negative affects of drug use doesnt work, showing wellness does


Reward good behavior, dont punish bad behavior, it just represses it, doesnt change it. Rewarding good behavior is the only way to change it. Appreciation & recognition are infinitely more powerful than criticism.

Too Many Choices Confuse

The more choices offered in a retirement plan, the less often people enrolled than when fewer were offered Participation dropped 2% for every ten options offered Participation rates zoomed when only two options were offered Dont give people too many choices it confuses them

People Dont Value Free Stuff

Instead of offering a free software program, offer a $100 software program at no cost to you. Put a value on your gifts or bonuses or free stuff

High, Middle, Low

If you offer a high-priced, premium product for 1,000, your medium priced 350 product seems like a bargain Even if you were selling it before at 250, but without a comparison it might have seemed high Always give a comparison to something higher to reinforce the value of your offer

Fear Often Paralyses

Fear arousing communication usually stimulates an audience to take action to reduce the threat However when the fear-producing message describes danger but the audience is not told of a clear, specific, effective means of reducing the danger, they may deal with fear by blocking out the message or denying it applies to them

Do Favors For People

We too often ask, Who can help me? Instead ask, Whom can I help? & do them a favor Sets up an obligation for reciprocity Management is about getting results through other people, so set up a web of indebted colleagues who have benefited from favors, attention & listening

Personalise Requests

When you ask people at work to do something, like filling out a survey, instead of sending out a mass email, personalise your request with an individualised PostIt note or similar

Giving Gifts

Gifts are appreciated much more if they've 3 qualities Significant Unexpected Personalised

No Strings Attached

To increase the sense of obligation to reciprocate, act first with no strings attached For example, you give a donation to a charity or a candidate at a party you are giving, announce it, but indicate that there is no expected quid pro quo Others donations will increase

Foot in the Door Technique

Get agreement with a principle Do you believe in safe driving? Make a small request (commitment & consistency will work in your favor) Will you put up a small Safe Driving sign? Yes Come back next week & ask to put up a bigger sign Commitment & consistency work in your favour again

Door in the Face Technique Get agreement with a principle Do you believe in safe driving? Make a small request (commitment and consistency will work in your favor) Will you put up a huge Safe Driving sign in your yard? No Will your put up a medium-sized Safe Driving sign in yard? Yes Commitment and consistency work in your favor


Assign a trait, attitude, belief, or other label to a person, then make a request of that person consistent with that label Luke to Darth Vader, I know theres good in you. Darth Vader saves Luke from the Emperor

Ask For Commitment

Instead of asking, Please call if you have to cancel your reservation, ask, Will you please call if you have to cancel? & wait for a yes. Waiting for yes seals the commitment

Write Down Commitments

Writing down your goals & commitments strengthen them For you & others, too People make judgments about themselves based on observations of their own behavior & they infer more about themselves based on their actions than on their notations

Behavior Changes Attitudes

Ask someone who doesnt like you or opposes you to do you a favor & if they do it, they will like you better People are motivated to change their attitudes in ways that are consistent with their behavior They avoid cognitive dissonance

Even a Little Helps

Even a pound will help works Simply pointing out that even a small amount would be acceptable & worthwhile to you is likely to be an effective strategy People who can afford a major contribution think a small amount wont help the cause Even a dollar will help worked for Obamas campaign

Start Low or High?

If there are going to be lots of bidders, start low & social proof will result in the bids going up If there are going to be only two bidders, start high to anchor a perception of high value

Groups Make Better Decisions

If youre the brightest person in the room, youre in trouble because you dont ask for advice Groups of people collaborate & work hard to come up with a better solution than one person Diversity works

Devils Advocates Arent Convincing

A true, authentic dissenter is much more effective than someone selected to act as a devils advocate When making a decision, find an authentic, committed dissenter It avoids group think

When Training, Focus on Errors

When training, use case studies of mistakes & errors so people can learn what not to do They dont learn as well from what goes right

Turn a Weakness Into a Strength

Be candid about weaknesses, it demonstrates honesty & objectivity The two-sided argument is very persuasive Reveal the bad, the negatives & the weaknesses first Then talk about the good, the positive & the strengths Your credibility soars

Take Blame

Dont play the blame game Take responsibility for mistakes & problems Internal focus of control Dont blame outside factors such as economy, luck, competitors Not credible

Find Similarities Potential clients (targets of persuasion) are more receptive to sales pitches from those who they share similarities such as: Names (first and last) Beliefs Hometowns School or university Pointing out similarities can be the first step in resolving potentially ugly conflicts with coworkers & neighbours


Waiters found they got much larger tips when they repeat customers orders back to them exactly as verbalised Mirroring creates feeling of liking & strengthens bonds of trust between two people Creates openness

Smile Authentically

People can tell the difference between authentic & inauthentic smiles In order to be authentic, find something to like about a person so you can be authentic We spend too much time finding fault with people Look for positives & well like them more & smile more authentically

Exclusive Information

Because of the scarcity principle, people will pay more for a product/service they perceive to be scarce Theyll pay even more if the information about the scarcity came from an exclusive & truthful source not generally available to the rest of the public If you pass on information that is uniquely known by you but fail to point out the exclusivity of the information, you could be losing an opportunity

Loss Aversion

People are more than twice as motivated to avoid a loss as they are to acquire gains Instead of presenting something as a saving, youre more persuasive if you frame it in terms of what you could lose if you dont act We also sometimes get tricked by not wanting to lose the time spent in the buying or negotiating process when faced with a last-minute high demand

Use Because

Using the single word because when associated with a request can more than double compliance To break in a line say, I want to use the Xerox machine because I have only two copies. Always back up your requests or points with a strong rationale a strong because.

Be Easy to Pronounce and Read

People have a greater affection for words that are easy to pronounce Company names, stock symbols, people Persuasiveness of a hand-written message is influenced by the quality of the hand writing On an easy-to-read font face


Keep it simple, stupid No jargon or big words:

Were leveraging our assets & establishing strategic alliances to create a robust knowledge center one with a customer-ruled business structure using market-leading technologies to maximize our human systems.

Were consultants.

Rhyme and Climb

Research suggests that when marketers have mottos, slogans, trademarks, or jingles that rhyme their likability & truthfulness perception increases Caution & measure will increase your treasure. Not, Caution & measure will win you riches.

Perceptual Contrast Baseball players swing a heavy bat in the on-deck circle so their regular bat will feel lighter in comparison Prior experience colors perception High-end hot tub costs $15,000 Having it is like having an extra room in your house. Sales went up 500% because people compared $15,000 to the cost of a $50,000 bedroom addition

A Box of Crayons

Red, blue & yellow dull, not memorable Millennium orange, Kermit green cool, memorable Unexpected names & ambiguous names cause consumers to think & thus, are more desirable, likable, & memorable

Social Norms Marketing People are generally motivated to behave in line with perceived social norms When you send a message, accompany it with some evidence of social norms, because people do not have accurate perceptions of social norms 65 percent of students have three or fewer drinks when they party. Students thought the average was much higher

Mirrors Reduce Theft

People tend to act in ways that reinforce the image they want to have of themselves Therefore, put a mirror on the wall so people can see themselves & they will act as if they are being watched by themselves A mirror in a stock room reduced theft by 50 percent

Emotions Affect Decision Making When people are in an emotional state (especially being sad), it affects their decision making When in an emotional state people are persuaded to do things they would not do when in a neutral (unemotional) state When in an emotional state (anger, e.g.) people do things they would not do if in a neutral state Dont send that email when youre angry or emotional - Sleep on it

Concentrate and Be Skeptical

When people are tired or distracted, they are more easy to persuade When you have to make an important decision, concentrate, eliminate distractions, stay alert & calm, & remain skeptical

Give Em Coffee

Caffeine keeps people awake & makes them more alert Make your sales pitch (if its good & well reasoned) or presentation when people are most alert In the morning after coffee, for example

Face to Face Best Face to face is by far the most effective communication Voice inflection, gestures & non-verbal communication can be very effective If you cant meet face to face, use a video conference or video chat Get to know someone via Facebook picture & profile Emails don't convey emotion so easily misunderstood

Know the Culture Individual cultures (US, UK, Western Europe)

Its about me

Collectivist cultures (Asia, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe)

Its about we

In individual cultures, ads & messages that appeal to individuals make me better, prettier, richer work In collectivist cultures, ads & messages that appeal to the family, group, tribe make us better, richer work


Contact Alan French

To get in touch with Alan to discuss or understand this in more detail Please call Alan +447805675740 or email