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6 Principles of Influence

6 Principles of Influence
Posted on 1st February 2015 in Coaching

The Six Principles of Influence (also known as the Six Weapons of Influence) were created by Robert Cialdini, Regents' Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.

He published them in his respected 1984 book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.“ Cialdini identified the six principles through experimental studies, and by immersing himself in the world of what he called "compliance professionals" – salespeople, fund raisers, recruiters, advertisers, marketers, and so on. 

1. Reciprocity

As humans, we generally aim to return favours, pay back debts, and treat others as they treat us. This can lead us to feel obliged to offer concessions to others if they have offered them to us.

2. Commitment (and Consistency)

We have a deep desire to be consistent. For this reason, once we've committed to something, we're then more inclined to go through with it.

3. Social Proof (“Safety in Numbers”)

We're more likely to work late if others in our team are doing the same. We're particularly susceptible to this principle when we're feeling uncertain. 

4. Liking

Cialdini says that we're more likely to be influenced by people we like. Likability comes in many forms – people might be similar or familiar to us or they might give us compliments.

5. Authority

We feel a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority. Job titles, uniforms, and even accessories like cars can persuade us to accept what these people say.

6. Scarcity

This principle says that things are more attractive when their availability is limited, or when we stand to lose the opportunity to acquire them on favourable terms.