You might have noticed sometimes that it’s really difficult to say no to certain people. -Even if you really don’t want to do the favor that they are requesting for now. There is a science behind why it happens. One of the reasons might be that the person asking you the favor is really persuasive naturally or maybe he knows the way to persuade you.

Persuasion is a technique to make people say yes to your request or idea and persuade them do what you really want them to do. It’s one of the most powerful skill to learn and master if you really want to achieve success in any field of your life. Persuasion techniques are used everywhere nowadays by people ranging from a normal salesman to billion-dollar companies for selling their product and even politicians use them for personal gains. Caution, please do not use the information, given in this video to manipulate people in a wrong way or for any evil purpose. As there is a famous saying by Abraham Lincoln, ”You can fool some people for some time but not all the people all the time. Don’t make a bad reputation of yourself if you want long-term success. Use it for only mutual benefit.

Influence the psychology of persuasion is a book recommended by Charlie Munger who is a billionaire himself and this is one of the best book I came across on the topic of persuasion .So let’s begin breaking down the certain trick and techniques on how to persuade and manipulate someone, mentioned in the book.

Preface

During the course of evolution human brain has developed shortcuts for making decision quick to save energy of the brain. These shortcuts are nothing but triggers. In today’s world, our brain uses this triggers more than ever. As our brain is flooded by information through various sources nowadays and we don’t have enough time and energy to analyze all the information that comes to us. We hugely make decision on the base of this triggers and not real facts as we think we do and it all happens at subconscious level of the brain, So we are not aware of it. There are basically 8 triggers discussed in this book which make us take decision and are used for persuasion.

8 popular techniques used to persuade someone

Number 1: Scarcity

Going back thousands of years, survival was very difficult. The most important resources for survival were very scarce. Naturally human grew attraction towards scarce resources, as we needed them urgently. After thousands of years that sense of urgency is still present in our brain. We are more likely to get attracted to certain things whose availability is limited. We mostly take actions to get it If we feel that we can lose that thing. Companies use this fact to persuade us to a great extent. Example: companies make limited edition products, not because they can’t make more products but it triggers the customer to buy it, since they are limited numbers of it available and they think they will miss it if they do not take action immediately. Similarly, big restaurants usually put less food on plate for delicious dished only to persuade them to order for another one. Advertisers use terms like, hurry offer valid only for today, etc., are an example for this. This concept can be used in all aspects of life. Considering love life, dating gurus give important advice to people that they should not be always available for their crush mainly during the initial period to build attraction and avoid the curse of getting friendzone.

Number 2: Reciprocity

It is a really powerful mechanism of brain. Humans have a deep internal need to settle things with each other, to make things fair. So if you do a favor to someone then they will return it with a favor but if you do something bad you can get much worse in return. Example: if you get a gift by someone on your birthday, then you are more likely to give that person a gift on their birthday. Now giving a business example: there is a multi-million dollar organization hare kirishna which makes a lot of money through donations. One way of getting donation is that at the airport they approach people and pin a flower to their cloth. Even if you say you don’t want, they insist you to take it as a gift and after you accept that gift, they would like you to extend a favor to donate some money for the organization for achieving their cause of helping people. Now it becomes really hard for the person to say no, as we have that rush to settle things with each other and mostly as a result people donate due to this fact.

Number 3: Concession

Example for concession from the book explains it clearly. Once when the author was at an airport. A boy came to him and asked him to buy a ticket for an event but as the author was not interested, he refused. After the denial that boy asked him to buy a chocolate instead which costed just $1 dollar. The author took that chocolate without any hesitation but after the boy left he realized something strange as why did he bought that chocolate when he not really liked chocolate that much in the first place. This concludes the concept of concession that is when someone asks you for a large request and after you deny, counters it with a smaller request. we are more likely to accept that smaller request.

Number 4: Commitment and Consistency

People also have a desire to appear consistent in their behavior and they also appreciate consistency in others. If you make someone commit to something small initially then you will be more likely to make them commit to bigger actions later on. Using these facts, persuasion is possible. Example: an experiment where a group of people were given a cancer awareness button and requested them to wear it for a week. It was a harmless request, so most of them agreed. Sometimes later these same group of people were requested to give a donation to help fight cancer. Not surprisingly this group of people not even just donated but with a amount much more than that of the other groups.

Why?

Because in wearing the button for a week, cancer fighting had now become a small piece of their identity they were now more likely to behave as a cancer fighter would. Similarly a charity gets people to sign a petition not so much to influence others but to increase their commitment to the cause. I will tell you another example where toy companies use this principle to persuade. What happens is that a toy gets heavily advertised children get excited by it and then approach their parents about buying it for the Christmas. After some consideration parents agree and make the commitment to buy it when they go to the store, they discover that the toys is out of stock so they check out other stores and then discover that it is simply not available. – note that this is done purposely by companies and stores. So what they do?

Simply they buy other toys to compensate and apologize to the child . Suddenly in January, the toy arrives in stores. Children notice this and tell their parent to buy it. That is the time when consistency kicks in and parents go to buy that toy. the toy stores now not only sold that toy but other toys as well using your commitment and consistency to your child’s request.

Number 5: Social Proof

I am sure, you might have noticed something, like in this example. A study in New York City was done. Where some people were told to look up on the 6th floor of a building continuously and see what happens. Forty-five percent of passersby stopped and starting looking up towards the building, if one-person was looking up, while 85% of the passersby stopped if 15 people were looking up. A similar experiment was aborted, when so many people were looking up that they stopped the traffic. This principle is based on the fact that we copy what others do, especially when we are unsure what to do. If situation are critical, we will follow anyone who seems to know what they are doing. So basically to persuade someone to do something , show people already doing things you wanted them to do. In an alarming research, it has been found that highly visible news about suicides, results in an increase in the suicide rates. This type of suicide is called as copycat suicide. –Wikipedia. Even suicide rates have soared exponentially in countries and place where people tend to take their lives more often than other countries which has no suicide or much lower suicide rate. In India some years ago, where news particularly about children committing suicide due to depression, increased the number of children committing suicide . On a positive side, this principle of social proof was used to treat young children who were afraid of dogs. The treatment was very simple. They merely watched a boy playing happily with a dog for twenty minutes a day. After only four days, 67 percent of the children got over that fear and started playing with the dog themselves. When everyone is laughing you also laugh…Canned laughter that we hear in most of the comedy shows actually helps the joke to appear much funnier than it actually. is Advertisers often tell us that their product is the “largest selling” “ fastest growing“,….etc. everywhere and by everyone. These are all implication of the social proof technique try to draw attention using proofs that others are doing something or in the case of advertisements, buying something.

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Number 6: Authority

We refer to people who seem superior to us. We are brought up to obey authorities, initially parents and later teachers, police, ministers, managers and so on. Such authorities can persuade us easily because they have the power of command; telling us what to do. A key reason we do this is because we believe that there will be a negative consequence if we disobey which is not always true. The three factors that triggers the authority principle are:

  1. Titles – a title before a person’s name increases their persuasion capabilities. Titles like Dr., Prof., Ph.D., President, chairman, founder, CEO, this title command respect and authority toward the person entitled to.

2. Clothes –similarly people wearing certain Uniforms, Suits, religious outfits (worn by pastors, monks, nuns, priests) also impacts.

3. Trappings – these are Accessories that define certain positions/roles of a person (e.g.: badges, expensive suits, nice cars, etc.)they give us the feel that the person using them is a authority who needs to be obeyed.

The expert behind these principles of persuasion, Robert Cialdini PhD, is a fine example. His book the persuasion of psychology has a title Ph.D. in psychology before the authors’ name on the covering of the book to increase the effectiveness or chances of people getting to buy his book.

This example shows how we can persuade and get people to be manipulated by this trigger. Business related example of using this concept are when companies use experts ,engineers, doctors, etc. to advertise their product.

Number 7: Likings

It’s so hard to say no to a beautiful girl or a cute guy asking you a favor. This is because people are more likely to be influenced by things or people that they like. Since liking has such a fundamental impact on relationships it is often used as a powerful tool for persuade people -You can dramatically increase the chances of making people comply to your request, if they like you at the first place.

Now comes the main question how to make someone like you; there are various factors on which you can work:

1. Physical attractiveness – try to always look as good as possible. Good looks also suggest other favorable traits, i.e. honesty, humor, trustworthiness

2. Similarity – find similarities between you and the person .We like people similar to us in terms of interests, opinions, personality, background, etc.

3. Compliments –give compliments. People love to receive praises, and tend to like those who give it…surprisingly even if they know it’s false.

4. Contact and Cooperation – how often they see you can also have an impact and how well you co operate with them.

5. Conditioning and Association –try to associate yourself with good things and people. We like looking at models, and thus become more favorable towards the cars behind them. Now you know how pretty girls or hot models end up in most of the commercial for any product. A real world example of our irrational thinking because of this principle is our love towards pandas. They are cute fluffy animal on which billions of dollars are spent as to save them from going extinct. Now it’s a really holy deed even I don’t want to see a world without pandas but the real problem is in the fact that there are thousands of other species that are at the edge of extinction. Many of that other species are easier to save and are much important for our eco system and indirectly our self but we are not getting enough money and resources to save them. Why? Just because they are not as cute as pandas. That is how liking works. If two girls have committed the same crime and given to normal people for their judgment they will get softer on the girl who is more beautiful.

Number 8: Reasoning

When asking someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason with the request. E.g.: a Harvard psychologist did an experiment where she approached people in a line who were just about to use the Xerox machine and requested that person to let her use the Xerox machine in three different ways which got her different results. In the 1st way she asked, ”can I use machine? because I am in a rush -90 per agreed. In the 2nd way she just asked “can I use the machine? and 60 agreed. That is why its always better to just try and ask in the 3rd way in which she asked, ”can I use the machine to take Xerox? surprisingly because she is to get the files copied and taken to the boss before a certain deadline she doesn’t want to miss. 90 again agreed. So it concluded that to persuade someone to fulfil your request you have to give a good reason and that giving a reason increases the chances of your request getting accepted.

So these were all the 8 ways and techniques to persuade someone into anything addressed in the book.“> Check out the book, The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini Ph.D.

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