Book Review: Influence

How many times a day do you say “yes”? I’m guessing dozens, if not more. How do we get there? How do we get from a “no” or a “maybe” to a “yes”? Most often, it’s the result of persuasion or influence.

Best-selling author Dr. Robert B. Cialdini recently published a new edition of his highly acclaimed New York Times best-seller Influence. In the book, Cialdini describes the psychological process in people when they say “yes” and how we can apply these insights in our business and personal settings.

The book describes seven principles of persuasion:

  • Reciprocation
  • Commitment & Consistency
  • Social Proof
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity
  • Unity

Which one of these principles would most likely influence you?

I think my favorite is “Reciprocation”. If someone gives me a gift, I always feel inclined to return the favor. If someone gives me a book, I will look to buy them a book in return. When servers leave a mint with the bill, I’m inclined to give them a larger tip. If someone allows me to cut in front of them in traffic, I’m inclined to do the same for another driver.

Recently, I fell victim to the “Scarcity” principle. I was on a hotel-booking website and one of the hotels indicated that there was only one room left for the night I needed. I booked that room immediately. I didn’t want to take a chance on missing out.

I plan to review my marketing materials to see to what degree I’m utilizing these principles to engage and retain clients. I imagine the “Authority”, the “Liking”, and the “Social Proof” principles will be very helpful.

I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to all small business leaders who wish to be more persuasive at work and at home.