For years Cialdini studied which factors and techniques would induce people to say “yes” most of the time. He studied compliance professionals through participant observation and learned that six laws are used which correspond to human psychology. These laws are used (often maliciously) to get people to say “yes” without thinking.

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Key Takeaways

There are 6 weapons of influence – RCLASS

    1. Reciprocation
    2. Commitment and consistency
    3. Liking
    4. Authority
    5. Social Proof
    6. Scarcity

Chapter 1 – Weapons of Influence

  • Mother turkey and nature – proven that mother turkeys respond to the “click” sound of their chicks even if comes from an animal who is usually a predator. 6 Cialdini refers to this blind, mechanical pattern of action as click, whirrAutomatic behavior patterns make us very vulnerable as they can be taken advantage of, often without our noticingContrast Effect – same thing can seem different depending on what preceded it
Chapter 2 – Reciprocation
  • Rule of reciprocity – people will repay any favor ever done to them. Universal and even the smallest favor elicits a repayment attitudeDon’t accept anything for free, or at least realize you will feel like you owe them somethingCan use to get asymmetric favors done for you as it is uncomfortable for people to feel like they are in “debt”Mutual concession automatic too – move from big to small favor and usually other person will acquiesceRejection then retreat technique – start asking for something big and then tone down. It can still be big request, just smaller than firstReturn favors with favors, tricks deserve no favorsPeople who are surprised are more likely to complyPeople like you less if you don’t allow them to reciprocate
Chapter 3 – Commitment and Consistency
  • People have a deep desire to remain consistent to their previous commitments. It is a central motivator of behaviorStart small and build in order to get the most out of peopleBe careful about agreeing to trivial requests as this can lead you down a dark roadA man judges himself and others by his deeds, more so than wordsAny goal you have, make sure to write it down and even share it – the more public the better (pair with Stickk)The more effort a commitment takes, the more it influences the attitude of that personActive, public, effortful behavior causes the highest commitmentFor long-term behavior change, can’t bribe, must convinceLowball technique – start with a low initial price but renege at the very endListen to stomach to know when you are in an uncomfortable situation
Chapter 4 – Social Proof
  • People tend to determine what is correct by seeing what others think is correct. The more people you see react in a certain way, the more powerful
    • Canned laughter used because it increases the audience’s humorous appreciation
    What we prefer to be true will seem trueWhen uncertain, we rely more on what others doSuicide social proof – there are typically more suicides after a very public suicideImpossible to single-handedly lead – need accomplice of a lower rankMust recognize when automatic thought processes are being taken advantage ofBelieve if crowd is acting a certain way, it has better info than we do but that is rarely the case
Chapter 5 – Liking
  • People prefer to say yes to requests as it leads to others liking them
    • Tupperware parties are a prime compliance setting
    Liking can’t be stressed enough.Factors which effect liking:
    • Being good looking (halo effect)Similarity (dress, background, education, etc.)Compliments – one of most successful car salesman ever sent hundreds of thousands of cards simply saying “I like you.”Contact and cooperationConditioning and association (dislike those with bad news)
    More likely to like those who feed usBig mistakes often occur when we are fond of person making the requestsFlattery, even if false, works very oftenDeliver good news as often as possible and be wary the company you keepSports fans so passionate about their teams because their identity is linked to the team, their “self” is at stakeWhen one’s pride is low, want to associate more with success – these people insecure as their worth comes extrinsicallyIf like someone too much, be wary as they may be using some of these tactics against you
    • Separate the person from what they are selling
Chapter 6 – Authority
  • Obedience to authority rarely takes conscious deliberation. Milgram shock experiment – people can do terrible things because they are simply obeying authority and not thinkingOften react only to part of a situation, not seeing the whole pictureSize and status are closely linkedTo protect yourself, remove the element of surprise as much as possibleFactors of authority
    • Appearance of authority often enough (titles, clothes…). Symbol is often more powerful than substanceLarger signature linked with more important status
    Ask yourself is the authority is truly an expert before obeying and how likely it is that they’re being untruthful for their advantage. Think of commercials with actors who are not experts in whatever it is they are trying to sellUse this in your favor by showing that you have other people’s best intentions in mind. Honest and knowledgeable people have more credibility and that leads to people trusting you
Chapter 7 – Scarcity
  1. Potential loss plays a huge role in our decisionsRarity leads to people valuing whatever it is higher than they otherwise wouldDeadline tactic – get people to act quickly by creating an artificial deadlinePeople hate to lose freedoms they already have
    • Freedoms, once guaranteed, won’t be given up without a fightRevolutions more common after good times followed quickly by bad times
    People assign (overly) positive qualities to justify their desiresWhen information is censored, we not only want it more but believe it more before we even get it
    • Value banned information and more favorable to it
    Going from abundance to scarcity leads to higher appreciation than constant scarcityScarce things due to social demand are more highly valuedBeware situations with scarcity and rivalryIn these emotional situations, reason goes out the door. Joy lies not in experiencing the scarce commodity, but possessing itBe aware of arousal from scarcity and stop to think – do I really want to use it or want to have it?

What I got out of it

  1. Fantastic book which explains the various influences which we can use (or can be used against us) to get others to agree. These influences can be used for good purposes or deceptively but they are designed to get past our rational brain and attack our automatic responses. Cialdini uses a great term, “click, whirr” to show when this automatic process is being used. Highly recommended

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