Influence: Science & Practice

As a marketing professional, there are techniques and methods that must be known in order to do an effective campaign whether it be print (flyers, magazines, newsletters), digital (social media, email, surveys), or in person (events and workshops). I received a book called, Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini as a gift from my Office Manager at work. After reading this book, I have developed an improved mindset and appreciation for my field, my director, others in my office and their role in marketing, and the patients that come to the office for quality of care. I definitely give this book a 4 out of 5 stars for its’ business techniques, advice, examples, and thorough research and references.

Here are the TOP 5 Influences that I believe are relevant to any and every relationship in life whether it be professional, family and friends, or with your significant other:

1. Reciprocity

The rule of reciprocation requires that one person try to repay what another person has provided. By obligating the recipient of an act to repayment in the future, the rule of reciprocation allows one individual to give something to another with confidence that it is not being lost. This makes development of various continuing transactions that are beneficial to the initial party possible.

The decision to comply or agree with someone is frequently influenced by the reciprocity rule. One way to do this is by giving something before asking for a favor in return. Please be aware that this rule is extremely powerful, it applies to uninvited first favors/gifts, and can spur unequal exchanges.

Another way of using this influential rule without it backfiring as hard is to make an initial concession that stimulates a return concession rather than a favor for favor. Make a smaller exchange to start the process and remember that our greatest successes come from being genuine and in good faith.

2. Commitment & Consistency

People desire to be consistent in their words, beliefs, attitudes, and actions. There are three results of consistency: 1. good personal consistency is highly valued by society 2. consistency provides a beneficial approach to daily life 3. consistency creates a valuable shortcut through the complexity of modern existence (makes life easier). Consistency in our actions gives us a reason to continue to commit and form good or bad habits. People are willing to agree to requests that keep their prior commitments. Not all commitments are effective in producing future consistency. However, please note that commitments are most effective when they are active, public, require effort, and viewed as internally motivating.

3. Liking

People prefer to say yes to individuals they know and like. One factor that influences overall liking is similarity. A study of university business students showed that when the students interacted with each other through a brief introduction and found commonalities, they were more likely to say yes to a business proposition versus the students who went straight into a business presentation and stated the business proposition without an introduction or relatable conversation. Another factor that influences overall liking is physical attractiveness. As a result, attractive people are more persuasive in getting what they request and in changing others’ attitudes. Other factors include association, praise or positive influence, and familiarity.

4. Authority

The tendency to obey legitimate authorities (even in unethical situations) comes from systematic socialization practices designed to instill in members of society the perception that such obedience constitutes correct conduct. It is frequently adaptive to obey the dictates of genuine authorities because these individuals possess high levels of knowledge, wisdom and power. Remember to learn more about the authority you obey. It is important to find out that the authority is both credible and ethical.

5. Scarcity

People assign more value to opportunities when they are less available. This principle holds for two reasons: 1. things that are different can serve as a shortcut cue to its quality 2. when things become less accessible, we lose freedoms. This applies to the products and services we sell in business and how we view people in our everyday relationships. Scarcity is important to the comparative nature that we have as humans to group and categorize things in terms of unique versus typical.


For more principles and information read the book: Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini