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This are like suggestions to encourage someone taking action in the way you want, but in a more subtle way you would usually do.
It could help not only if you manage a team, but also to incline your spouse or husband or children in a direction, and it can even be used to motivate yourself (ex: make a commitment public to reinforce it). It also makes you more aware of being manipulated by others (ex: getting disharmed by a praise)

All those 6 principles are backup with scientific experiments, or with large surveys, if ever more credential was needed to believe in them.

It is worth refering back to it from time to time so that the information sink in.

The idea in brief

Persuasion works by appealing predictably to deeply rooted human needs.
The rest of us can learn to secure consensus, cut deals, win concessions—by artfully applying six scientific principles of winning friends and influencing people.

The idea at work

Persuasion principles:


People like those like them, who like them.

At Tupperware parties, guests’ fondness for their host influences purchase decisions twice as much as regard for the products.

To influence people, win friends, through:
Similarity: Create early bonds with new peers, bosses, and direct reports by informally discovering common interests—you’ll establish goodwill and trustworthiness.
Praise: Charm and disarm. Make positive remarks about others—you’ll generate more willing compliance.


People repay in kind.

When the Disabled American Veterans enclosed free personalized address labels in donation-request envelopes, response rate doubled.

Give what you want to receive. Lend a staff member to a colleague who needs help; you’ll get his help later.


People follow the lead of similar others.

More New York City residents tried returning a lost wallet after learning that other New Yorkers had tried.

Use peer power to influence horizontally, not verti-cally; e.g., ask an esteemed “old timer” to support your new initiative if other veterans resist.


People fulfill written, public, and voluntary commitments.

92% of residents of an apartment complex who signed a petition supporting a new recreation center later donated money to the cause.

Make others’ commitments active, public, and voluntary. If you supervise an employee who should submit reports on time, get that understanding in writing (a memo); make the commitment public (note colleagues’ agreement with the memo); and link the commitment to the employee’s values (the impact of timely reports on team spirit).


People defer to experts who provide shortcuts to decisions requiring specialized information.

A single New York Times expert-opinion news story aired on TV generates a 4% shift in U.S. public opinion.

Don’t assume your expertise is self-evident.
Instead, establish your expertise before doing business with new colleagues or partners; e.g., in conversations before an important meeting, describe how you solved a problem similar to the one on the agenda.


People value what’s scarce.

Wholesale beef buyers’ orders jumped 600% when they alone received information on a possible beef shortage.

Use exclusive information to persuade.
Influence and rivet key players’ attention by saying, for example:“..Just got this information today. It won’t be distributed until next week.”

Harnessing the Science of Persuasion

A lucky few have it; most of us do not. A handful of gifted “naturals” simply know how to capture an audience, sway the undecided, and convert the opposition. Watching these masters of persuasion work their magic is at once impressive and frustrating. What’s impressive is not just the easy way they use charisma and eloquence to convince others to do as they ask. It’s also how eager those others are to do what’s requested of them, as if the persuasion itself were a favor they couldn’t wait to repay.

The frustrating part of the experience is that these born persuaders are often unable to account for their remarkable skill or pass it on to others. Their way with people is an art, and artists as a rule are far better at doing than at explaining. Most of them can’t offer much help to those of us who possess no more than the ordinary quotient of charisma and eloquence but who still have to wrestle with leadership’s fundamental challenge: getting things done through others. That challenge is painfully familiar to corporate executives, who every day have to figure out how to motivate and direct a highly individualistic work force. Playing the “Because I’m the boss” card is out. Even if it weren’t demeaning and demoralizing for all concerned, it would be out of place in a world where cross-functional teams, joint ventures, and intercompany partnerships have blurred the lines of authority. In such an environment, persuasion skills exert far greater influence over others’ behavior than formal power structures do.

Which brings us back to where we started. Persuasion skills may be more necessary than ever, but how can ex- ecutives acquire them if the most talented practitioners can’t pass them along? By looking to science. For the past five decades, behavioral scientists have conducted experiments that shed considerable light on the way certain interactions lead people to concede, comply, or change. This research shows that persuasion works by appealing to a limited set of deeply rooted human drives and needs, and it does so in predictable ways. Persuasion, in other words, is governed by basic principles that can be taught, learned, and applied. By mastering these principles, executives can bring scientific rigor to the business of securing consensus, cutting deals, and winning concessions. In the pages that follow, I describe six fundamental principles of persuasion and suggest a few ways that executives can apply them in their own organizations.

Liking: People like those who like them.

The Application: Uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise.

So when guests at a Tupperware party buy something, they aren’t just buy- ing to please themselves. They’re buying to please their hostess as well.
Controlled research has identified several factors that reliably increase liking, but two stand out as especially compelling – similarity and praise. Similarity literally draws people together (political beliefs and social values).
prospects were more willing to purchase a policy from a salesperson who was akin to them in age, religion, politics, or even cigarette- smoking habits.

The important thing is to establish the bond early because it creates a presumption of goodwill and trustworthiness in every subsequent encounter. It’s much easier to build support for a new project when the people you’re trying to persuade are al- ready inclined in your favor.

Praise, the other reliable generator of affection, both charms and disarms. Sometimes the praise doesn’t even have to be merited.
positive remarks about another person’s traits, attitude, or performance reliably generates liking in return, as well as willing compliance with the wishes of the person offering the praise.

The research on praise points toward a strategy for fix- ing the relationship. It may be hard to find, but there has to be something about Dan you can sincerely admire, whether it’s his concern for the people in his department, his devotion to his family, or simply his work ethic. In your next encounter with him, make an appreciative comment about that trait. Make it clear that in this case at least, you value what he values. I predict that Dan will relax his relentless negativity and give you an opening to convince him of your competence and good intentions.

The Principle of Reciprocity: People repay in kind.

The Application: Give what you want to receive.

the universal human tendency to treat people the way they treat him. If you have ever caught yourself smiling at a coworker just because he or she smiled first, you know how this principle works.

Charities rely on reciprocity to help them raise funds.
when the group started enclosing a small gift in the envelope, the response rate nearly doubled to 35%. The gift – personalized address labels – was extremely modest, but it wasn’t what prospective donors received that made the difference.

He gives me and my son gifts for Christmas and gives me presents on my birthday. There is no promotion for the type of job I have, and my only choice for one is to move to another department. But I find myself resist- ing trying to move. My boss is reaching retirement age, and I am thinking I will be able to move out after he re- tires….[F]or now, I feel obligated to stay since he has been so nice to me.

Ultimately, though, gift giving is one of the cruder applications of the rule of reciprocity. In its more sophisticated uses, it confers a genuine first-mover advantage on any manager who is trying to foster positive attitudes and productive personal relationships in the office: Managers can elicit the desired behavior from cowork- ers and employees by displaying it first. Whether it’s a sense of trust, a spirit of cooperation, or a pleasant de- meanor, leaders should model the behavior they want to see from others.

The Principle of Social Proof: People follow the lead of similar others.

The Application: Use peer power whenever it’s available.

Social creatures that they are, human beings rely heav- ily on the people around them for cues on how to think, feel, and act.
The researchers found that the longer the donor list was, the more likely those solicited would be to donate as well.
To the people being solicited, the friends’ and neigh- bors’ names on the list were a form of social evidence about how they should respond.

They were highly likely to attempt to return the wallet when they learned that an- other New Yorker had previously attempted to do so. But learning that someone from a foreign country had tried to return the wallet didn’t sway their decision one way or the other.

The lesson for executives from these two experiments is that persuasion can be extremely effective when it comes from peers.

Testimonials from satis- fied customers work best when the satisfied customer and the prospective customer share similar circumstances.

A group of veteran employees is resisting. Rather than try to convince the employees of the move’s merits yourself, ask an old-timer who supports the initia- tive to speak up for it at a team meeting. The compatriot’s testimony stands a much better chance of convincing the group than yet another speech from the boss. Stated sim- ply, influence is often best exerted horizontally rather than vertically.

The Principle of Consistency: People align with their clear commitments.

The Application: Make their commitments active, public, and voluntary.

People need not only to like you but to feel committed to what you want them to do. Good turns are one reliable way to make peo- ple feel obligated to you. Another is to win a public com- mitment from them.

My own research has demonstrated that most people, once they take a stand or go on record in favor of a posi- tion, prefer to stick to it.
Other studies reinforce that find- ing and go on to show how even a small, seemingly trivial commitment can have a powerful effect on future actions.
to sign a petition favoring the establishment of a recreation center for the handicapped. The cause was good and the request was small, so almost everyone who was asked agreed to sign. Two weeks later, on National Collection Day for the Handicapped, all residents of the complex were approached at home and asked to give to the cause. A little more than half of those who were not asked to sign the petition made a contribution. But an astounding 92% of those who did sign donated money. The residents of the apartment complex felt obligated to live up to their commitments because those commitments were active, public, and voluntary.

There’s strong empirical evidence to show that a choice made actively – one that’s spoken out loud or written down or otherwise made explicit – is considerably more likely to direct someone’s future conduct than the same choice left unspoken.

The implications are clear for a manager who wants to persuade a subordinate to follow some particular course of action: Get it in writing. Let’s suppose you want your employee to submit reports in a more timely fashion. Once you believe you’ve won agreement, ask him to summarize the decision in a memo and send it to you. By doing so, you’ll have greatly increased the odds that he’ll fulfill the commitment because, as a rule, people live up to what they have written down.

Research into the social dimensions of commitment suggests that written statements become even more pow- erful when they’re made public.
This experiment highlights how much most people wish to appear consistent to others.
You should reinforce the commitment by making sure it gets a public airing.
One way to do that would be to send the employee an e-mail that reads, “I think your plan is just what we need. I showed it to Diane in manufacturing and Phil in shipping, and they thought it was right on tar- get, too.”
They should be publicly made and visibly posted.

If an undertaking is forced, coerced, or imposed from the outside, it’s not a commitment; it’s an unwelcome burden.
you should avoid using threats or pressure tactics to gain his compliance.
A better approach would be to identify some- thing that the employee genuinely values in the work- place – high-quality workmanship, perhaps, or team spirit – and then describe how timely reports are consis- tent with those values. That gives the employee reasons for improvement that he can own. And because he owns them, they’ll continue to guide his behavior even when you’re not watching.

The Principle of Authority: People defer to experts.

The Application: Expose your expertise; don’t assume it’s self-evident.

Surprisingly often, people mistakenly assume that others recognize and appreciate their experience.

amid the teeming complexity of contemporary life, a well-selected expert offers a valuable and efficient short- cut to good decisions.

We merely asked the therapy director to display all the awards, diplomas, and certifications of her staff on the walls of the therapy rooms. The result was startling: Exercise compliance jumped 34% and has never dropped since.
We didn’t fool or browbeat any of the patients. We informed them into compliance. Nothing had to be invented; no time or re- sources had to be spent in the process. The staff’s exper- tise was real – all we had to do was make it more visible.

Perhaps it’s a matter of telling an anecdote about successfully solving a problem similar to the one that’s on the agenda at the next day’s meeting. Or perhaps dinner is the time to describe years spent mastering a complex discipline – not in a boastful way but as part of the ordinary give-and-take of conversation.

The Principle of Scarcity: People want more of what they can have less of.

The Application: Highlight unique benefits and exclusive information.

Study after study shows that items and opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available.

Honestly informing a coworker of a closing window of opportunity–the chance to get the boss’s ear before she leaves for an extended vacation, perhaps – can mobilize action dramatically.
Managers can learn from retailers how to frame their offers not in terms of what people stand to gain but in terms of what they stand to lose if they don’t act on the information.

Half were told that if they fully insulated their homes, they would save a certain amount of money each day. The other half were told that if they failed to insulate, they would lose that amount each day. Significantly more people insulated their homes when exposed to the loss language.

In framing their offers, executives should also remember that exclusive information is more persuasive than widely available data.
He observed that they more than doubled their orders when they were told that, because of certain weather conditions overseas, there was likely to be a scarcity of foreign beef in the near future. But their orders increased 600% when they were in- formed that no one else had that information yet.
The information itself may seem dull, but exclusivity will give it a special sheen. Push it across your desk and say, “I just got this report today. It won’t be distributed until next week, but I want to give you an early look at what it shows.” Then watch your listeners lean forward.

Putting It All Together

the principles are easy for most people to grasp, even those with no formal education in psychology. But in the seminars and workshops I conduct, I have learned that two points bear repeated emphasis.

First, although the six principles and their applications can be discussed separately for the sake of clarity, they should be applied in combination to compound their impact.
While you’re showing your dinner companion that you have the skills and experience your business problem demands, you can also learn about your companion’s background, likes, and dislikes – information that will help you locate genuine similarities and give sincere compliments. And if you succeed in bringing your dinner partner on board, you may encourage other people to sign on as well, thanks to the persuasive power of social evidence.

The other point I wish to emphasize is that the rules of ethics apply to the science of social influence just as they do to any other technology. Not only is it ethically wrong to trick or trap others into assent, it’s ill-advised in practical terms. Dishonest or high-pressure tactics work only in the short run, if at all. Their long-term effects are malignant, especially within an organization, which can’t function properly without a bedrock level of trust and cooperation.

“Can I count on your support?” Intimidated, frazzled, eager to chase the man from their offices so they could get back to work, the department heads would invariably go along with his request. But because the commitments never felt voluntary, the department heads never followed through, and as a result the vice president’s initiatives all blew up or petered out.

Yet the same principles, if applied appro- priately, can steer decisions correctly. Legitimate exper- tise, genuine obligations, authentic similarities, real so- cial proof, exclusive news, and freely made commitments can produce choices that are likely to benefit both parties. And any approach that works to everyone’s mutual ben- efit is good business, don’t you think?