Most of us are used to having conversations, and we’ve probably learned to pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues, vibes, eye contact, and other communication biggies. However, for those who need to negotiate and/or persuade an audience, there are a few additional rules or “laws” we should pay attention to.
In negotiation situations, the goal is to always find the win-win, so everyone walks away happy and convinced they “won” in the interaction.
Psychologist Robert Cialdini wrote a book entitled Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and in that book, he outlined six laws that help to describe how most people respond in certain situations.
As it turns out, after much research, the general consensus is that humans are far more predictable than we’d like to admit, and we over and over respond predictably to certain stimuli.
The benefit of learning about the laws of persuasion is twofold:
- You will know how to better interact with your audience and negotiate successfully.
- You will know how to better navigate situations in which others are trying to manipulate and/or influence you in ways you do not wish to be influenced.
And so without further ado, here are Robert Cialdini’s Six Laws along with a brief explanation of each:
1. The Law of Reciprocity
In general, people want to repay things that are gifted to them. If someone does something nice or gives a gift, people often feel obligated to return the favor. This is why companies give away free gifts.
2. The Law of Commitment and Consistency
People like to be (or at least appear to be) consistent in their thoughts and actions. Once they commit to something in conversation, they have a hard time going back on that commitment. A salesman’s best friend.
3. The Law of Liking
When you like someone or get the impression that they are “just like you,” you are more likely to want to please them. In-home sales parties, anyone?
4. The Law of Scarcity
When people believe there’s only a limited supply left of a product, or that the product in front of them is the “last one left,” they’re more likely to purchase unreasonably.
5. The Law of Authority
If it’s good enough for the people you admire, it’s good enough for you. This is why celebrity endorsements work.
6. The Law of Social Proof
When we don’t know how to behave, we look to the social cues of others around us. This is why sitcoms use laugh tracks and why people jump on bandwagons.
What About You
Which one do you fall prey to most often? Which one do you find most effective?