What psychological principles underlie persuasion?
The ability to persuade others to accept your point of view may be what we think the power of persuasion is, but it’s more than that.
Persuasion is described by the American Psychological Association as “an active attempt by one person to change another person’s attitudes, beliefs, or emotions associated with some issue, person, concept, or object.”
You can influence someone without using force, hostility, or any other form of aggression. Getting someone to that point of perfect comfort around you, when they pay attention and trust your judgement, is the goal of persuasion.
Their behaviour and actions will alter appropriately; for instance, individuals influenced may decide to endorse the viewpoint you’re presenting or decide to vote in a specific way. Your social influence within your team and your opinion of yourself both increase when you can communicate persuasively. You can experience a significant increase in self-assurance or positive pride in your skills.
People who have a lot of sway are seen as leaders and serve as an example for others. They can be described as charismatic or self-assured.
What are some business applications for persuasion?
Every day at work, the persuasion process is in motion. People collaborate with their bosses and teammates, who in turn work closely together. You will have to offer recommendations, put forward ideas, and reach conclusions in any given circumstance or connection. Two people are conversing while one is attempting to persuade the other during these interactions.
Because there are distinct seniority levels amongst people’s levels, this can sometimes influence how these relationships go well and be healthy. When you ask your direct reports to send you their end-of-week reports, for instance, they acknowledge your authority and are more likely to agree to do so.
When there is a lot of pressure to stand out or when peers are at the same level, conversations can occasionally be more difficult. Here, convincing your peers to act and agree with your viewpoint could require more strategies.
How might persuasive abilities help you at work?
The good news is that everyone working in the industry can develop this influence and persuasion knowledge and soft talent. Because of the client- or employee facing nature of the professions, people have a tendency to believe that only specific management levels or departments (for example, sales and marketing) need to apply persuasion.
The ability to persuade others can assist you in the near term in concentrating on getting things done at work. Additionally, it can foster social awareness, increase your knowledge of how things work, and help you establish friends.
With each new success or finished project, it might eventually translate into building a reputation for making things happen. As more become finished, the corporation may pay you more and give you more perks because they will appreciate your contribution.
The six tenets of persuasion:
There are several schools of thought on persuasion studies, but we’ll look at Robert Cialdini’s work to provide some general guidelines to get you started. In his book Influenced, The Psychology of Persuasion, written in 1984, Robert Cialdini, a notable graduate research professor and Regents Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, outlined six persuasion principles.
He clarifies these as follows in an interview with the American Psychological Association:
- Reciprocation: “The first is reciprocation, the idea that in all human societies we are trained from childhood that we must give back to those who have given to us first.”
- Liking: No one will be shocked to learn that we prefer to say yes to people we like, according to this statement.
- Social proof: Social proof is the concept that one method we might make wise choices is to observe what individuals who are similar to us are doing in a certain circumstance.
- Authority: “We prefer to say yes to people who can provide us with evidence that specialists in a subject have advised this, the specific steps that they are asking us to take.”
- Scarcity: When something is scarce, “people want more of those things they can have less of.”
- Consistency and dedication: “People want to say yes to those requests that are consistent with the commitments they’ve already made.”
5 work-related persuasive strategies:
If we use Robert Cialdini’s concepts in our daily work, they can be effective resources while interacting with clients or coworkers:
- Be kind to people by using your persuasion skills: Get other people to voluntarily want to support you or participate in your project. Respecting your colleagues and managing your interactions with them positively will help you “attract more bees with honey, than with vinegar.”
- Using body language to subconsciously connect with others: Using both verbal and non-verbal cues is one of the methods for influencing someone else. According to research, between 60 and 70 percent of all human communication is nonverbal and involves body language. This implies that when you first meet someone, your mind is gathering data from your senses (such as what you see, hear, smell, etc.). If there are any similarities between the two people, a person can quickly build an opinion about the other person based on this knowledge. This stems from the evolutionary safety principle that the best probability of survival was found in large groups of people of the same species.
- Align the main messages to achieve consensus more quickly: Conflicting concepts can arise during negotiations, which can lead to cognitive dissonance. According to this psychological theory, people aspire to think, believe, and value in a consistent manner. People experience negative emotions like discomfort when their consistent beliefs are questioned, which makes them desire to find a solution to return to consistent thinking as soon as feasible. They’ll be searching for something that meets their rigid requirements. In order to avoid confrontation and increase the likelihood that someone would agree with you, you should develop essential messages that take into account the person’s ideas, values, and thoughts.
- Become the rightful leader: To avoid having to make their own decisions, people often resort to others in society to serve as legitimate authority. They might save time and worry by doing this. This can entail leading meetings and summarising thoughts in your own unique way in a professional context so that you can shape the possible options and have an impact on the decision.
- Make use of the scarcity principle to increase the value of your concept: The majority of people do want to receive the “best” deal, hence they will value something more highly if it is uncommon or scarce. The scarcity concept can be utilised to promote your ideas and thoughts in a favourable way. For instance, your concept will be more appealing if it has a deadline (e.g., “we need to move on it this week”) or presents a unique opportunity (e.g., “We can capitalise on our product launch at the conference because it occurs on the same day”). This may result in actual monetary value for the client, while it may result in the coworker changing their behavioural values.
How to concentrate and hone your persuading skills?
It’s critical to put these strategies into practise in order to observe their impact at work. You may discover that you work better with your peers, but you must gain confidence before presenting ideas to your management.
That’s ok; when you investigate what it makes sense for you to influence in your role, your current efforts will have a lasting impact. Even after obeying, people are likely to feel favourably towards the cause and are more likely to comply with further requests, according to Robert Cialdini.
As you think about how you impact others, you might also explore how other people influence you. You’ll frequently observe Robert Cialdini’s six principles in action.
It can be unwelcome feedback that motivates you to give back in kind. At the beginning of a strategy initiative, your vice president can whet your appetite by making reference to your enthusiasm of learning about strategies. You might receive a bonus at your discretion, which makes you feel fortunate to work for the organisation.
Consider the following: “What worked, what didn’t, and why?”
Like Robert Cialdini, you will develop the ability to influence successfully via ongoing study, application, and reflection.