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Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion summary

Favorite Quote From The Book Influence by Robert Cialdini

Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, the author of the New York Times and International best-selling book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, which sells over five million copies, brings new concepts to convince other people to say ‘yes’ and become a skillful persuader.

Simple Short Summary: Robert Cialdini elucidates six psychological concepts that urge us to say ‘yes’ to the request of other people and defend yourself from manipulation – in this, you will learn how to persuade other to get yes, how you are persuaded by salesmen or clear marketing people, and how to become more persuasive than ever before.

Influence Summary

5 Min Read

In this book, you will learn three lessons:

Lesson: A – Start with offer that will surely reject and then ask want you want

Lesson: B – When the uncertain situation arise, we look for other people behavior

Lesson: C – People like us can influence our behavior greatly

Lesson: A – Start with offer that will surely reject and then ask want you want

There is a notion which is well-known as rejection then retreat strategy that says whenever you are negotiating and another person makes a concession, in this case, you feel oblige to return it.

Let’s understand this concept with the first-hand experience of Robert, the author of this book. On a random day, when he was in the side street, a boy scout asked him to buy a Boy Scout circus ticket for five dollars.

Of course, he turned down the request. Afterward, the boy urged him as he was not buying any ticket, to purchase a few chocolates that cost one dollar per piece.

The result? Robert brought two chocolates which the kid offered while retreating. How is this little kid able to convenience Robert?

The answer is rejection then retreat strategy, and the purpose of this strategy is to evoke the desire of another person to repay concession. Furthermore, the strategy also supports the contrast principle.

This principle says when you experience two things in succession then you magnify the second item with the first. Hence, when the boy put forward the second offer which costs one dollar, this seemed reasonably cheap in comparison of buying five dollars ticket.

Thus, this manipulation technique convinces the author to buy the chocolates. So, how would you apply this technique in your life? Suppose you want to sell something, start your negotiation with high prices, an offer that will reject by another person.

Afterward, withdraw starting request to something you desire. Doing this, another person will sense this as a favor and feel oblique to return.

Although, studies have clarified that there is a limit to the price you ask for any offer. If your initial price was too high, exceeding the usual limit, then the person will not reciprocate the concession.

Lesson: B – When the uncertain situation arise, we look for other people behavior

Have you ever wonder why some funny videos and even some TV serials have laugh tracks in them? Because study validates that laugh tracks can compel us to laugh more, even at poor jokes.

It happens due to social proof. So, whenever you are unsure you look for guidance from other people and see how they are behaving so, you can follow the same course of action.

Hence, artificial laugh tracks can convince us that other people contemplate the joke as amusing thus, you should laugh too. This is why advertising companies use keywords such as “fastest-growing” or “best-selling” with their products.

As keywords like these assure the customers that others are purchasing the product too. Thus, you can say social proof plays a powerful role in influencing your behavior especially when you are uncertain in a given situation.

Now, let’s understand bystander effects.

It says when many people are available in a critical situation, the chances are far less that any one of them will intervene and help the victim. In an emergency, the people are more likely to help the victim when other people are already taking required action or very few people are available at spots which makes them oblique to help.

So, if people will see others are not taking an action they will not take an action as well. For instance, let’s view the incident of Kitty Genovese, a woman who attacked and murdered by Winston Moseley on March 23, 1964.

Despite Kitty desperately asked for help no one came outside from a nearby building to provide help or even made a call to the police. The news channels soon broadcast that the neighbor was ruthless and have no concern.

Afterward, it turned out some nearby apartment people shouted from their apartment window, but still, this entire scenario has been viewed as bystander inaction. Psychologists analyzed this effect and conclude that it happened because of two reasons.

The first reason is as numerous people are available at the spot which lowers the personal responsibility of each individual. The second reason is, in urban areas, it is difficult to identify an actual emergency – maybe someone is watching thrilling a football game.

Thus, in an uncertain situation, people look for other actions to define their actions.

Lesson: C – People like us can influence our behavior greatly

In an uncertain situation, to know how to act, people see how others are behaving and then act accordingly. The tendency to imitate others reach its peak especially when the individual we are observing is the same as ourselves.

However, this inclination to imitate will engender a disaster result. For instance, when TV channels frequently broadcast suicide cases, the death rate increases in the subsequent week.

In the first glimpse, this notion looks confusing. Looking closely, you will discover after reading suicide cases few people are also likely to kill themselves to imitate the victim.

For some reason, a handful of people make their suicide look accidental while others decide to do it while they are driving. Thus, the number of accidents rise in crashes.

Unfortunately, the truth is, these people could be save as their hours have not come in. A study has even clarified that after every suicide article on the front page of a newspaper, 58 people are more likely to commit suicide.

This phenomenon was recognize as the Werther effect. This effect said, when youngsters come to know that another young person has taken his own life, chances are they will also commit suicide.

It happens especially when the person who commits suicide is similar to the other people.

It is also the reason why marketers interview and feature ordinary people in their advertisements to endorse a service or product. Because ordinary people contain the largest market.

So, if a person, whom you can relate, satisfies from a product and service, you think the product can fulfill your requirement too. However, to save yourself from this manipulation be attentive and make a willful decision to spot these fake social proof.

Generally, you will notice these fake ads as the dialogues are scripted. Once you become conscious about the scandal, you must stop buying the product from that company as it should be penalize to persuade you by artificial social proof.

 Influence Review

In his book Influence, Robert comes up with six powerful weapons to influence others and shows how to use them, why they work, and how you can guard yourself against them.

The book is especially for anyone who is working in marketing and sales, or for people who often say ‘yes’ to other people’s requests, and for those who think that their decisions are easily manipulated by others.

It shows you the path to guard yourself against certain communication techniques and how to use them ethically to get people to agree on something. Robert backs up his books with his 35 years of research and three years of field study to understand what causes people to change their behavior.

It fills with case studies and examples to understand what persuades people and their decisions, and why they say ‘yes’ to some requests while no to others. The notion brings up in this book will work in everyday life and frequently use in marketing.

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