November 8, 2010

Book Review: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Filed under: blogging,opinion — jonEbird @ 8:36 pm

I just finished “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert b. Cialdini. I thought it was a very entertaining and educational read. It has a decidedly business / salesman focus in respect to the psychology of sales techniques but I would say the lessons are applicable to other areas of life. In fact, in each chapter Robert provides suggestions in how to resist the very potent sales techniques people often employ.

Here is quote from the epilogue which serves as a nice encapsulation of the book,

We have been exploring several of the most popular of the single pieces of information that we use to prompt our compliance decisions. They are the most popular prompts precisely because they are the most reliable ones, those that normally point us toward the correct choice. That is why we employ the factors of reciprocation, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity so often and so automatically in making our compliance decisions. Each, by itself, provides a highly reliable cue as to when we will be better off saying yes than no..

I now plan to skim back through the chapters to review the content and internalize the content. I wish to use the knowledge of psychological influence to help improve my effectiveness in “getting work done through others”. If you work in a substantially large enough company, chances are your performance evaluations have touched on this subject before.

Robert Cialdini urges a strong rebuttal against people using the techniques, covered in the book, in a deceitful manner. I definitely do not wish to use deceitful techniques. I think a good example of using a technique covered in the book for getting work done through others is the principle of reciprocity. In fact, I’ve used this technique myself before having read the book. It’s quite simple. You go and do a favor for someone else, perhaps show them something new to better their work condition, and then they are more obligated to reciprocate the favor in return. If properly administered you can even get them to sidestep change control. (Just kidding, change controls are good.)

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