Harnessing the Science of Persuasion

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12 Mar 2011
Harnessing the Science of Persuasion
The Principle of Liking: People like those who like them
- The Application: Uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise
- Controlled research has identified several factors that reliably increase liking, but two
stand out as especially compelling ± similarity and praise
- The important thing is to establish the bond early because it creates a presumption of
goodwill and trustworthiness in every subsequent encounter
- Positive remarks about another persons traits, attitudes, or performance reliably
generates liking in return, as well as willing compliance with the wishes of the person
offering the praise
- Along with cultivating a fruitful relationship, adroit managers can also use praise to
repair one thats damaged or unproductive
The Principle of Reciprocity: People repay in kind
- The Application: Give what you want to receive
- Gift giving is one of the cruder applications of the rule of reciprocity
- Managers can elicit the desired behaviour from coworkers and employees by displaying it
The Principle of Social Proof: People follow the lead of similar others
- The Application: Use peer power whenever its available
- Persuasion can be extremely effective when it comes from peers
- Testimonials from satisfied customers work best when the satisfied customer and
prospective customer share similar circumstances
The Principle of Consistency: People align with their clear commitments
- The Application: Make their commitments active, public, and voluntary
- A choice made actively ± one thats spoken out loud or written down or otherwise made
explicit ± is considerably more likely to direct someones future conduct than the same
choice left unspoken
- Written statements become even more powerful when theyre made public
- Commitments must be voluntary to be lasting and effective
The Principle of Authority: People defer to experts
- The Application: Expose your expertise; dont assume its self evident
- Executives should take pains to ensure that they establish their own expertise before they
attempt to exert influence
- People mistakenly assume that others recognize and appreciate their experience
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