The Science of Persuasion: Influence Others to See Things Your Way

Manila Bulletin, June 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

The Science of Persuasion: Influence Others to See Things Your Way


There is nothing more grudgingly breathtaking than watching someone in a group adroitly draw everyones attention, sway the undecided, and woo the opposition to agree on a point, and magnanimously receive their eager enthusiasm to do whats requested of them. A rarefied lot, these masters of persuasion, and watching them in action, we try to deduce the probable factors why this happens. Is it the cumulative confidence borne of a successful career? A freaky divine quirk of genetic superiority? A learned Alpha male trick? Fortunately, the rest of us do not have to despair for being shortchanged by fate, as science gives us a spliced picture of the art of persuasion. THE PRINCIPLES OF PERSUASION Robert Cialdini, a professor emeritus of psychology and successful author, towers as an authority in the field of behavioral sciences that looks closely at what motivates people to see things our way. He reduces influence into six principles, which when honed, can increase probabilities of success: Liking. People we like easily influence us. That is why family and close friends are the default source of investment advice, even if experts have continuously advised against the practice, because these people more often than not do not have the professional competency. Look no further than some of our elected officialsthey dont have to be capable; theyre just popular and well liked. To be liked, we have to be perceived as someone with similar interests, who praise and acknowledge someones worth, and who seem to work towards mutual goals. It doesnt hurt to be attractiveresearch has shown that we tend to agree or pander more to good-looking people. Some people are great at mirroringor mimicking the others pitch, mood and actions, making rapport easy. Make sure to find a common interest and look for a reason to praise someones strength or good traits before you persuade a person into action. If you want to improve a subordinates productivity while ensuring loyalty, praise his strengths first before you get to the areas of improvement. Consensus. People like to do what they see others are doingsilly, but true. Also called social proof, the fact that others are doing the same thing points to the validity of the act, no matter how far-fetched. No one wants to be proven wrong. So if you want to persuade others, make them feel they are making the right decision because others are doing it or would make the same choice as well. The success of multi-level marketing is attributed to this principle. …

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