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The 6 Principles of Influencing People By Joshua Uebergang of
The 6 Principles of
Influencing People
By Joshua Uebergang
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The 6 Principles of Influencing People By Joshua Uebergang of
The 6 Principles of
Influencing People
"Leadership is a word and a concept that has been more argued than almost any other I know. I
am not one of the desk-pounding types that likes to stick out his jaw and look like he is bossing
the show. I would far rather get behind and, recognizing the frailties and the requirements of
human nature, would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded
him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone." -
Dwight David Eisenhower
“We control fifty percent of a relationship. We influence one hundred percent of it.” - Barbara
“People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered
than by those which have come in to the mind of others.” - Blaise Pascal
I've been excited about writing this article ever since discovering the six principles of influence set
out in Robert B. Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The whole subject of influence
is captivating to me because it is powerful and exciting to learn how you can get other people to do
what you want. It may sound “evil” at first when you hear about getting other people to do what
you want, but it depends on how you use the skills of influence. Any type of persuasion can be
immoral or unethical if used incorrectly or for unhealthy motives.
The funny issue with influence and persuasion is when people say it is “wrong”. These people still
attempt to manipulate others in their everyday lives. We all have a need to influence or persuade
people. Whether it be asking for a cup of water or getting a sale, persuasion and influence occurs
many times throughout your day whether you notice it or not. It is an inherent want within each of
us to get what we desire, but it is the techniques we use and how we use them that determines if we
are successful in getting what we want. The six principles I am sharing with you are effective
techniques for influencing people to successfully get what you want.
In Create Your Own Future the author, Brian Tracy, provides the seven elements of human nature.
They are the following in no particular order:
1) Selfish – You desire things for yourself.
2) Lazy – You want easier instead of difficult.
3) Greedy – You want more instead of less.
4) Impatient – You want things now instead of later.
5) Ignorance – You ignore information because you can't know everything.
6) Ambitious – You desire something better after taking action.
7) Vain – You have pride in yourself and your achievements.
I mention these elements of human nature because selfishness, laziness, and greed appear to be
“evil” at first glance like influence is when hearing you can get other people to do what you want.
However, if you think more deeply about each element, the seven elements each have their own
degree of usefulness in our lives.
Firstly, take laziness as an example. We are all lazy by nature as we would rather to do things in an
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easier fashion than in a difficult manner. This inherent laziness drives us to seek better solutions,
innovations, paths of less resistance, and so forth. We would all rather be able to push a magical
button to stop a person arguing with us than have to endure emotionally intense conflict.
I'll use ignorance as another example of the seven elements of human nature having their usefulness
in our lives. By acknowledging that you will not know every little tidbit of information you force
yourself to make an educated decision without knowing all the facts. You put yourself into a state of
decisiveness. However, if you have too much ignorance, then you begin to make errors, poor
decisions, and people will lose trust in you.
The same principles hold true with influence and persuasion. It has its good uses and bad uses. If
you excessively use influence to get what you want because you are selfish, then it can begin to hurt
yourself and your relationships. If you excessively use influence because you are greedy, then you
will lose friends and persuasive power as you'll soon see in the first principle of influence. If you
excessively use influence because you are lazy, then you will have poor relationships and fail to
hungrily seek your own goals.
All principles of influence work at a subconscious level. As you will learn in the principle of
authority, we don't hear of the title “doctor” and think to comply with the doctor's medical advice
because of the person's title. We are influenced subconsciously which makes the certainty of such
influential principles powerful. We think the decision to comply with a person's influential request
comes from our own reasoning yet it is the influential principles penetrating into our subconscious
mind which are the true causation of our decision. This is the difference between influence and
persuasion. Influence is a way of affecting someone's behavior, attitudes, or beliefs, while
persuasion tries to get someone to carry out a specific action.
“We think the decision to comply with a person's
influential request comes from our own reasoning yet
it is the influential principles penetrating into our
subconscious mind which are the true causation of
our decision.”
Once you go out and use these six principles of influence, if you ask somebody what were the
influential principles that affected their decision, they will not be aware of such influences and say
they came to the decision themselves. As long as someone perceives that they made a decision
themselves, they will be far more likely to follow through and commit to the decision.
Behavior is strong when a decision is made on the person's own terms. This is the true power of
influence. As a leader, parent, friend, or influencer of many people's lives, if you can get a person to
comply with your request on their own terms, the person will have a phenomenal dedication and
commitment that otherwise would not have been achievable.
These six principles I'm about to share with you will help you overcome the need to manipulate
people through suspicious techniques like poor praise. The principles are successful most often in
influencing people because they appeal to our human psychology. These principles “take
advantage” of the short-cuts each of us are born with which we use to make decisions in our
everyday lives. As you continue reading this article, you will discover why we become “victims” of
each principle and from this you will increase your influential power.
I'd like to point out that the six principles of influence I'm about to share with you are from
Cialdini's book on influence so if this whole topic interests you, then you'll love his book which is
titled Influence (a must-read).
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1. Principle of Influence: Commitment and Consistency
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of
which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's
favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could
have dreamed would have come his way." - William Hutchinson Murray
“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated
frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” - Norman Vincent Peale
“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” -
Mark Twain
I know of couples who are not at all happy together and get nothing pleasurable out of their
relationship. Each day is misery. The lady complains about how careless, unloving, and selfish her
partner is. The guy complains about how he doesn't care about her and that she is so nagging. They
have little positive feelings towards one another. Why then do the individuals remain in a
In many cases, the individuals remain in a relationship because of the commitment and consistency
principle of influence. The commitment and consistency rule states that once we make a decision,
we will experience pressure from others and ourselves to behave consistently with that decision.
You can be pressured into making either good or bad decisions depending on your past actions. In a
relationships context, the commitment and consistency principle is a destroyer of having a clear
decision to break up.
Put yourself in an individual's shoes who is experiencing extremely negative emotions towards his
or her partner and think about how the commitment and consistency principle would influence your
decision to stay in the relationship. Perhaps you have children, possessions, or family who are close
together that pressure you to not break up. All these influences do not need to explicitly encourage
you to not break up. Rather, they indirectly influence you to not break up because doing so would
destroy the consistency which is present in your life. It would be disrupting, uncomfortable, and
bewildering to break up.
Cognitive Dissonance
Think of the last time you purchased something really expensive. Was it a car, computer, or
insurance? Now, think about the thoughts you had after making the purchase. You would have felt
excited, but after a few days of the purchase you would begin to question your decision. You would
ask yourself questions like: “Was it the right thing to do?” “Did I make a mistake?” Or “Should I
have purchased the other option?” This process where you have after-thoughts of a purchase is
known as cognitive dissonance.
You may be thinking that cognitive dissonance (second-guessing your actions) and the commitment
and consistency principle (past decisions guide your future actions) are conflicting. Not so. Think of
that expensive item I asked you about just before. While you would have experienced cognitive
dissonance, you would have been searching for as much information to reinforce that your initial
decision was in fact the correct one to have made. You felt pressured into reinforcing your past
decisions with beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and outside information that tell you your decision was a
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good one. It is the commitment and consistency principle at work in your life!
Starting Small Steps
Adapting the commitment and consistency principle more directly on our communications with one
another, it is as powerful as elsewhere. Let's say I am collecting donations for a foundation that
helps funds the operations of sick children. I knock on your door and am dressed casually. You open
the door and do not know who I am. With a smile on my face, I start some good small-talk with
you. After engaging you in a conversation for a minute or even only ten seconds, if I can elicit
positive emotions and words from you, then my influential power will drastically increase. Once I
get you to express yourself positively, I then make my request for a donation.
Since you have explicitly stated a positive message or two about yourself such as how good you are
feeling, how great of a day it is, or how nice I am :) , it becomes more difficult for you to not make
a donation. By declining to make a donation you are breaking the commitment and consistency
principle because you said you are feeling great yet you did something “negative” by turning down
my request. When refusing to make a donation you are no longer behaving consistently. (By the
way, are you feeling good? Cool! Donations welcomed :) .)
“Once we make a decision, we will experience
pressure from others and ourselves to behave
consistently with that decision.”
The commitment and consistency doesn't mean you will always give a donation to someone when
you publicly declare that you are feeling great, but it does increase the chance of such an event
occurring. This is the reason why publicly stating your goals can increase the chances of you
achieving them. Once you tell others about your goals, your subconscious mind forces you to
behave consistently with the public statement and achieve your goals.
The basis of the commitment and consistency principle in communications is to get the person(s)
you are trying to influence to express themselves in a way that is congruent with what you want
them to do. The secret here is “congruency” such that the initial steps you get the person to take are
aligned with the larger steps you hope for them to take. We all know little changes are easier to
make than big changes so use this to your advantage when communicating with people. The little
steps you initiate in the other person creates a path that he or she feels compelled to follow. Should
there by pressure tactics in the situation, the person will feel pressured by the situation and not you
which is what influences the person's decision to remain committed and follow your ultimate
Overcome Commitment and Consistency
If you are worried about the commitment and consistency principle badly influencing a decision
you are trying to make, use what Brian Tracy in Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life calls
“zero-based thinking”. You simply ask yourself, “Knowing what I know now, would I get into (state
the problem) again?”
To demonstrate zero-based thinking, let's comeback to the individuals who were extremely unhappy
with each other at the start of this principle. These people would use zero-based thinking by asking,
“Knowing what I know now, would I get into the relationship again?” If the answer is “no” and you
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desire to remain in the same circumstance, then it is the commitment and consistency principle that
is influencing your decision to remain committed. If this is the case, I'd strongly advise you to
rethink your situation.
The commitment and consistency principle is a powerful influencer in the decisions we make
everyday. By knowing how this principle works you are able to get people to take small steps that
are aligned with your ultimate request and have them follow up on a long-term basis without you
constantly nagging the person. The commitment and consistency principle ensures a long-term
commitment to any decision.
2. Principle of Influence: Reciprocation
"When you give yourself, you receive more than you give." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Trying to get without first giving is as fruitless as trying to reap without having sown." -
Napoleon Hill
"Whether by presenting us with an initial favor or initial concession, the requester will have
enlisted a powerful ally in the campaign for our compliance. At first glance, our fortunes in such
a situation would appear dismal. We could comply with the requester's wish and, in so doing,
succumb to the reciprocity rule. Or, we could refuse to comply and thereby suffer the brunt of
the rule's force upon our deeply conditioned feelings of fairness and obligation. Surrender or
suffer heavy casualties." - Robert Cialdini in Influence
Have you ever wondered why organizations: give you free samples of their products, donate money
to charity, or do something that is generally perceived as nice? Yes, they can get you to trial their
products and if you like the products then they will have you as a buying customer. They also can
get free publicity by donating money to a charity. However, there is another side to this story.
The rule of reciprocation states that humans have an inherent desire to return favors. This influential
principle is beneficial to an organization when you feel their free sample or donation is a favor for
you. By doing you a favor they will have influenced you to return it in the form of buying their
products or services.
The organization example is not the best to demonstrate the principle of reciprocation because we
sometimes don't perceive it as a favor. If we perceive a tactic as a trick, then it will backfire. The
principle of reciprocation says we return favors with favors and not tricks with favors. Do not fall
for making a decision or getting another to make a decision based off a trick.
In the introduction of this course, I mentioned how each influential principle can be misused. Even
though a principle can be used for the wrong reason, it does not make the principle itself “wrong”. It
is up to you to not manipulate others with the reciprocation rule in tricking the person that you did
them a favor.
Reciprocation in Personal Relationships
There are stronger applications of this influential principle than the one I provided where an
organization gives you a free sample of their products. Think of how the rule of reciprocation could
apply to our relationships. Do you think it would be possible to get an attractive partner by doing
them favorable things?
The short answer to this question is “no”. The human emotions of attraction, love, and intimacy
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cannot be consistently manipulated with favors. If a person believes it can be, then they need to
contrast their current experience with a non-manipulating experience and they will see the
difference. This isn't to say that people like supermodels won't marry rich guys for their favors. The
couple just won't feel the attraction and intimacy. They will experience an unfulfilling relationship
based on gifts. Attraction is to strong of an emotion to be manipulated by a favor. Those who are in
relationships because of favors have ulterior motives.
“Humans have an inherent desire to return favors.”
I don't know whether this is clear to you, but think of guys who buy women drinks at a bar or
nightclub. The guys are unknowingly using the rule of reciprocation in a poor context by trying to
do the woman a favor and hoping for something in return. Of course, the women accept the drinks
then give the guy a cold shoulder.
Reciprocation has its place in getting the relationships you want, but only to a degree. This
influential principle does not replace the rules of relationships. It is only complementary meaning it
must be used with other relationship skills. In a serious relationships context like trying to
strengthen your marriage or finding a lifetime partner, reciprocation will be less useful than if it was
for a normal friendship.
Verbal Favor and Reciprocation
The power behind compliments lays in the basis of the reciprocation rule. You'll notice that when
someone gives you a “verbal favor” like a compliment, you all of a sudden feel compelled to return
the favor by complimenting the person back. If the compliment was well delivered, you'll stutter
your way into quickly trying to find something you can compliment the person on. The principle of
reciprocation has as much power through words than it does through physical gifts.
Do the Favor First
You can get more out of the reciprocation principle by firstly doing the person a favor prior to
making your request. This isn't just religious, but a proven component of reciprocation within
influence. Investing in your relationships and most other things upfront, will give you a future
return that will often be larger than your investment. It is not unusual to receive a large favor from
someone at a later time in reciprocation to a small favor you gave earlier on.
Business owners are generally encouraged to offer something upfront to another business before
requesting a partnership or some joint venture deal. Doing so increases the strength of the
relationship and the likelihood of the giver to receive a larger return later on. To move up in your
career of choice, I advise you to begin donating your services to those who influence how
successful you become. Join groups, clubs, and organizations where there are “big players” in your
career, then offer your time and efforts. If you constantly do so with enthusiasm and in a successful
manner, I can almost guarantee those “big players” will want to help you.
Contrasting Principle
A salesman will offer you an expensive item which he knows you will reject. He then offers you a
cheaper item which is made to appear as an attractive offer because of the contrasting with the
expensive item. The salesman uses the contrasting rule where the less expensive item is seen as
desirable solely because it is contrasted against an expensive item. The example also incorporates
the reciprocation rule because the cheaper item acts like a favor he is doing for you because he is
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“saving” you money.
Realtors have been known to use this influential tactic unethically by taking their potential customer
to a steeply overpriced house the housing agency has reserved for this specific influential tactic.
Once the customers see the undesirable house, the Realtor then shows the house the customer is
most likely to buy. The cheaper and more desirable house is seen as a wonderful deal when
compared against the overpriced dump seen earlier. The Realtor is making use of the contrasting
and reciprocation principles.
The contrasting principle does not work when the first request that is made appears to be
unreasonable. In fact, the influential tactic is likely to backfire and decrease your influential power.
It is absolutely necessary for the first request to appear reasonable such that the person believes the
“jump” from the first to second request isn't extremely large. Your first request can't be seen as a
bluff. We all know when an initial request is extreme and we feel manipulated as a result. The
contrasting principle is believable and honest. You don't have to expect the person to accept your
first request though it should be within reason for them to. If a person does accept your first request,
then you have just received more out of the situation!
To further demonstrate the contrasting principle, let's say you are trying to get your children to do
the dishes by using the contrasting principle. The principle would backfire when you make your
first request, “Would you all like to clean the entire house?” which the children would straight-away
decline as they know it's unreasonable. You follow it up with the request that is your goal, “Would
you children please do the dishes?” Your children would likely refuse to do the dishes because you
made an unreasonable first request where you “abused” the contrasting principle and principle of
You would have greater success in getting your children to do the dishes by firstly making a larger
request that appears reasonable such as, “Would you children please sweep the kitchen floor and
then do the dishes?” You follow this initial request up with the second request you wish for them to
accept, “Okay. Would you children please do the dishes?”
You don't have to be limited to giving gifts and other donations to use the principle of reciprocation.
As you remember from above, giving well-deserved praise such as a compliment can influence the
person to return the favor. Think of ways you can use reciprocation and contrasting in your
conversations and you'll be well on your way to increasing your influential power.
3. Principle of Influence: Scarcity
"Forbidden things have a secret charm." - Publius Cornelius Tacitus
"One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few and they are
more beautiful if they are a few." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
"Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value." - Jim Rohn
When I came to write about the principle of scarcity, I had a limited idea of how the principle
relates to communication, relationships, and success. It is a great principle to use in business and
sales, but I had trouble relating it to these areas that we are interested in. Then it hit me. Scarcity is
far more abundant (pun intended) in our everyday lives than we realize. This relates back to
influence in general which often goes undetected in affecting our decision making.
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The principle of scarcity states that we are more easily persuaded when the resource is limited.
Scarcity is a fundamental principle in economics within the supply and demand curve. (As I explain
scarcity in a business and economics context, I want you to think of how it applies to
communication and relationships.) Referring to figure A, you can see that as supply decreases, so
does the quantity in demand. However, people are willing to pay more for those fewer resources.
On the contrary, when the quantity is large, people will pay less for the resources. My university
microeconomics' lecturer would be proud of me after that description.
Organizations and salespeople use scarcity to increase
demand. They will bring in the most profit when they
calculate the point at which the supply and demand
lines intersect. The organization will often not change
the number of items available, but communicate the
item is scarce. It is a matter of communicating to
consumers that a shirt, car, or collector stamp, is only
available in a limited quantity. Consumers can have a
total “mind-shift” where a once disinterested consumer
becomes hungry to devour the product.
When sales are on, you will hear scarcity phrases like
“limited time only”, “only 50 available”, “sale ends
tomorrow”, and “don't miss your chance”. These all get us to go into the respective stores and
purchase their products instead of procrastinating about the purchase decision.
If you haven't realized yet, you can adapt these same principles businesses use, in everyday
conversations for persuading people. Tell the person there is “limited time”, “a rare opportunity”, or
“high demand because it's popular”. In the case of getting someone to go out with you and have fun,
you could use a sentence along the lines of “Come out because we haven't had the chance since (last
time you went out). It's rare we have such an opportunity.”
“We are more easily persuaded when the resource is
To take similar phrases to the next level, use scarcity picture words. I think the scarcity phrases
mentioned above appeal to both the left and right brain functions because they are verbal and
mathematical numbers (left brain) but also contextual and focus on the future (right brain). Picture
words use the right brain because they get the person to visualize and feel the emotions of those
pictures. A few examples of scarcity picture words you can use are:
• “The opportunity is falling through our fingers and we need to grasp it now before it's too
• “The hourglass was turned a while ago and has almost run out. We need to act now.”
• “This is as rare as your boss buying you a BMW. If you're lucky enough for it to happen,
you better take advantage of it because it ain't going to happen again.”
The primary reason scarcity is so effective for influencing people is that generally we are more
motivated by loss than gain. Scarcity implies rarity, high quality, and high demand, all influences
that increase our demand for the resource. We can become irrational when a resource is scarce and
do things we never thought we would do. It is difficult to think clear when scarcity is being
intensely used.
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Job Interview
To further expand on how the principle of scarcity influences our everyday living (because I think
most people do not comprehend it's high frequency), take the example of job interviews. If you
have one job interview, then the scarcity of interviews makes you highly value this one interview.
This puts extreme pressure on you to get that job and is likely to cause you to perform poorly in the
interview. On the other hand, if you have many job interviews, you place less emphasis on each
interview as each one is not very scarce. The interviews possess less value which allow you to
relax, perform better, and increase the chances of you landing a job.
When a single-person becomes extremely fixated on dating somebody of the opposite sex, the value
of this person greatly increases causing the single-person to think about and micromanage any
interaction when they are together. All this does is amplify the scarcity principle and make the
single-person become stressed, anxious, and desperate. In the dating world for men, guys who
become extremely fixated on one girl are diagnosed with “one-itis”. It's a very common plague for
men and the cure is to go date more women because the men are being deluded with scarcity. They
need to see there is an abundance of opportunities out in the world.
Keeping on the dating topic, a woman's attraction for a guy is increased when the guy is scarce. Yes,
like resources, people are a commodity. A guy who is surrounded by women is heaps more
attractive to other women. In fact, a woman's attraction can become so distorted from such a
situation, that she'd do things which would surprise many people including herself.
The scarcity principle states that our demand for a resource increases when it is scarce and even
more so when we are in competition for the resource. Whenever you have the chance in persuading
people, communicate that there is competition for the opportunity at hand or how other people are
desperate in this circumstance to take action. What you are doing is communicating that there is
competition and scarcity in the situation. Social proof is another influence in this situation, which
you'll learn about in the sixth principle of influencing people.
What makes scarcity very interesting to me is that we actually don't enjoy having the scarce
resource more than if it was an abundant resource. The pleasure isn't gained from using the
resource. It is gained from merely just having the resource. Knowing we have it provides a sense of
pride and security. You're not going to have a better relationship with a person who is highly sought
after by others. You'll merely derive an illusion for yourself when the influence comes from
Romeo and Juliet Effect
There are many applications of scarcity that would be great to discuss in depth, but I'll only discuss
a few more. Expanding on scarcity in relationships, Robert Cialdini in Influence mentions a study
that had some astonishing findings about the “Romeo and Julie effect”. The study analyzed parental
influence on 140 couples in the American state of Colorado. When parents hindered the
relationship, each individual in the couple were more critical of the other. The amazing finding was
that in spite of this, the couples also experienced more love and romance. So a note to all parents
who are against their children's love relationships: the more you intervene in the relationship, the
more you will increase the love and romance in relationship.
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Availability of Information
An interesting law of happiness is that we are happy to the degree which we are controlled. The
more you are out of control in your life, the less happy you will be. An “out of control life” can
consist of other people telling you what to do, obligations you must fulfill, and general things
against your will. A powerful and frequent message in my communication secrets of making people
like you program lays in teaching people to not control others; whether it be through criticism,
giving advice, threatening, or sending solutions. All these are negative influences that will destroy a
relationship because it causes the person you are communicating with to “lose control of their life”.
When governments, parents, managers, and partners, limit the availability of information, the
person being controlled will usually want it more. A partner who forbids their loving other of
interacting with a certain person, whether it be because of jealousy or pride, actually increases their
partner's desire to be with that person. The amazing fact with this is the thing which is banned can
all of a sudden be wanted a lot more because becomes scarce. Stephen Worchel has done several
studies on how censorship affects our demand for the resource. When things become censored,
banned, or in some way restricted, we have an increased desire to obtain the information. In
addition, we gain more pleasure when we possess such information.
“The pleasure isn't gained from using the resource. It
is gained from merely just having the resource.”
Parents can be extremely tempted to remove their children's access to certain things when they
disobey a rule. As a parent or manager, remember that if you take away something, you are
increasing its scarcity. The most common reaction to this is rebellion and wanting the resource
more. A good parent will be consistent in what they offer towards their children. This establishes
what areas in the child's life he or she can be expected to be controlled or not controlled in.
By limiting a resource you are increasing the child's desire for the resource more so, then if it were
already at that level of availability. When a resource is made less available than if it were already at
the reduced level, we are more influenced to want the resource. If you haven't been consistent in
your parenting, then the best thing you can do now is to begin being consistent and that may mean
starting scarcity. It'll be hard to change the behavior in the beginning, but it will change and become
easier. The sample holds true for managers changing the behavior of employees and the like.
I feel the dilemma where we don't value the time spent with family is because of scarcity. Spending
time with family is an abundant resource for most us that it loses its value. Many people would
prefer to hang out with their friends or new loved one. However, if they do that, then the demand
and supply curve shifts causing a diminishing value of the “resource”. If you constantly hang out
with your friends, then you will have less value in the time you spend with them. It won't be as
much fun.
In conclusion, scarcity is a common influence in our everyday decision making. We are frequently
unaware of how it affects our decisions. Scarcity influences us in how we respond to opportunities,
find a partner, procrastinate, and spend time with family to name a few situations. By understanding
the principle of scarcity and its many applications, you are able to incorporate yet another powerful
principle of persuasion into your communication skills to get people to do what you want.
4. Principle of Influence: Authority
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"Language is surely too small a vessel to contain these emotions of mind and body that have
somehow awakened a response in the spirit." - Radclyffe Hall
"All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a
function of power and not truth." - Friedrich Nietzsche
"You don't have to hold a position in order to be a leader." - Anthony D'Angelo
The doorbell rings at home and you are greeted by two men in police officer uniforms. They ask
you if they can come into your house to discuss the recent kidnapping that took place in the
neighborhood. You are keen to help the police in their investigation so you let them inside and begin
discussing the kidnapping with them. After five minutes discussion, one of the officers sees a
necklace on the table and says it is similar to the victim's necklace on the day of the kidnapping.
Shocked, you begin defending yourself by saying where you got the necklace and how long you've
had it. The officers agree with you and are calm about the situation, but they say the necklace
should be verified that it isn't a part of the crime scene by taking back to the station. They tell you to
pick it up tomorrow and give you the address of the police station and the ID number of the
necklace for reference purposes.
Would you give them the necklace? If somebody were actually in the situation and experiencing the
emotions, I believe most people would actually comply with the officers' request. “So what?” I hear
you ask. Here's the thing. Who said they were truly police officers? They aren't police officers. They
are con men. If you just gave them your necklace, then I'm sorry to say that you were conned!
The principle of authority states that we are more easily persuaded by those with authority. When a
doctor gives you medical advice, you are much more willing to follow the doctor's advice than if an
ordinary person gave you the same advice. If Andre Agassi were to give you tennis lessons, you
would follow his advice more thoroughly than if you received advice from a local tennis coach.
“We are more easily persuaded by those with
You maybe thinking that authority is authoritative power like an overbearing boss. It can be, but
that isn't the type of authority in influence I recommend you begin developing. Author of The 7
Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, says “Most people think of leadership as a
position and therefore don't see themselves as leaders.” You need to know that you can influence
others without any assigned position of power. An overbearing boss will influence you because of
the person's title, but you don't need to be in an assigned position of power to possess authority.
There are symbols of authority you can use to increase your authority and persuasive power.
Symbols of Authority
Most people would be deceived by con men because of symbols of authority. The three typical
symbols of authority are title, clothing, and perceivable wealth. Title can be the occupation's prefix
like “doctor” and “professor” or even the occupation's name like , “officer”, “lawyer”, “surgeon”,
“trainer”, “gardener”, and “consultant”. The second symbol of authority is clothing which consists
of all the clothing a person is wearing. Lastly, perceivable wealth can consist of the respective
person's car, house, jewelery, business, and any other wealth the person being influenced can see.
In the police example, the con men used clothing as a symbol of authority in deceiving you that
they were police officers. When the “officers” knocked on your door, did you stop to ask for proof
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of their position as police officers? Or did you perceive their clothing as proof of their position as
police officers? If you were conned, you would have assumed their wearing of officer uniforms
meant they were police officers. Clothing has an enormous amount of authority; maybe as much as
the position itself. Mark Twain humorously said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little
or no influence on society.”
Manipulating the Symbols of Authority
Con men can manipulate the symbols of authority so it is also possible for you to alter them and for
more ethical purposes. Firstly, I'll discuss clothing. Whatever message you are trying to
communicate, make sure your clothes match the message. If you want to communicate wealth and
power, then a well-fitted suit will do. If you want to communicate attractiveness, then wear stylish
clothes that match you as a person. If you want to communicate freedom, relaxation, or leisure, then
wear casual clothes like a plain shirt, shorts, and even sandals.
Next is title. Depending on what qualifications you have, you can search for the appropriate job
titles and begin using them more often. If you find there are no titles that you can use, then perhaps
consider doing some training to gain the title. Maybe you want to be a “counselor”, “practitioner”,
or “trainer”, and to get these titles just involves doing a little extra learning. The knowledge gained
from the training won't do you any harm in increasing your expertise.
Lastly is perceivable wealth. Clothing can communicate wealth, which further emphasizes the need
to dress well. However, the most wealthy usually don't dress the best. They have no need to. You
shouldn't need to dress in the most expensive clothing, but it's fine to be the most stylish. However,
be careful with how much perceivable wealth you have in some situations. When you have
excessive perceivable wealth, people can think you are overcompensating for other areas in your
life and the tactic could backfire. Be aware of the trade off between overcompensation and
influential authority.
Follow the Leader
What happens if you have a successful leader at work, sport, or in the family? You follow the
leader. The person's influence isn't once off or temperamental. The leader is able to influence others
on an ongoing basis. You continue to follow the leader. The law of good continuation is a principle
of Gestalt laws of perceptual organization and states objects are perceived to be smooth because of
a pattern. (My communication secrets program has four other Gestalt laws of perceptual
organization plus an entire chapter on perception because it is the filter that determines how we
interact with the world.) When we are presented with patterns of consistency, we assume the same
consistency will exist into the future.
The law of good continuation in leadership means followers of a leader will “blindly” accept the
leader's decisions because of past successes. Followers fail to critically think and question the
leader's actions because the leader has proven himself in the past to make good decisions. The great
Albert Einstein said, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” It is a
common and fair enough mistake to make.
The law of good continuation tells us that you will meet less resistance by most followers you are
influencing once you get into the position of influence. However, should you get yourself into such
a position of authority, don't be afraid to encourage those following you to continually question
your actions, because in the end the outcome will fall back on you.
Size and Status
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In the animal world, size is often a way to communicate status. Kangaroos stand on their tails to
appear taller as they enter a fight, Puffer Fish fill their stomachs with water to enlarge their body
and scare off predators, and Bearded Dragons can straighten the skin on their head to appear larger
and fend off threats. Prior to a fight, many animals have this natural mechanism of sizing each other
up to gain an understanding of how powerful their competitors are. If an animal is intimated by the
size of its competitor, then the fight may not take place. It is nature's way of discerning the healthy
alpha males from the less healthy and weak males without the specie making itself extinct by
constantly fighting.
“When we are presented with patterns of consistency,
we assume the same consistency will exist into the
In the human world, we have a very similar natural selection process. This selection process is far
more sophisticated and expands into areas beyond fights. However, in terms of size and status, we
aren't at all very different. Taller people and those who are more muscularly defined, are seen to
possess more status in our society. From what I know, there isn't much you can do about height, but
you should workout at the gym to improve your strength and pack on muscle.
What the animal world doesn't have which the human world has, is a vice-a-versa relationship
between size and status. While size relates to status for animals and humans, status influences size
for humans. By improving your status, people will perceive you as being bigger than you really are.
This in turn can increase your ability to influence people.
I was once listening to a DVD by David DeAngelo and a guest speaker, Dr. Georges Sabongui, was
talking about the relationship between size and status. Dr. Sabongui was once a commander in the
Canadian Navy where he learned how to project a presence. It was absolutely necessary for him to
project a powerful presence because anyone in the room he was in had to know he was in charge.
He is five foot six, but people often mistook him for being six foot tall because of his powerful nonverbal
communication. You can project a presence and more authority through powerful body
To increase people's perception of your size and at the same time increase your influential authority
among many other benefits, there are some simple body language tips you can start using. These
body language tips will further help you to project a powerful presence. Firstly, behave “as if”. Act
out the body language you would have in a room if you were the person in authority. Secondly, look
people in the eye. Thirdly, take up more space. Spread your legs, lean, and have movement in your
gestures. A powerful President doesn't look like he is constricted to a cage. This tip applies more so
for men than it does for women. Lastly, have a confident posture. Lift your chest up and this will
bring your neck, back, and head perfectly into place.
Remember that all principles of influence get the person to comply with the request on their own
terms. They come to the solution “themselves”. Using the advice given in this principle to increase
your influential authority will make others comply with your requests and have people liking you
more; unlike a bureaucratic boss that employees resent. By implementing the four body language
tips and combining them with the three symbols of authority, you will greatly increase your
authority and influential power.
5. Principle of Influence: Liking
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"Man prefers to think what he prefers to be true." - Francis Bacon, Sr.
"Leadership comes through respect, and a large part of respect is liking someone." - Carol
"Each man is led by his own liking." - Virgil
You arrive at a bus station where you wait for a bus to go to work. While you are waiting, a poor
looking guy with messy hair who is dressed in dirty clothes sits next to you at the bus stop. “Ready
for a big day today?” the man asks you and the conversation starts from there. You're surprised that
he is so open to talking with you as most people who wait at the bus stop hardly make eye contact
with anyone.
The two of you have a fun and interesting conversation for five minutes, then your bus arrives and
the two of you get up to walk on the bus. However, the man says he doesn't have a couple of dollars
to pay for the bus fare, but you happily pay his fare for him. The principle of liking is at work in this
situation and is a powerful influence in how we interact with anyone.
The principle of liking says that people will say “yes” more often to those they like. Had the poor
man not made you like him through the interesting conversation, you would had been less likely to
comply with his request of paying his bus fare. If there was a situation of choosing who would
likely follow your request between a complete stranger versus a friend, you can be very confident in
knowing your friend is more likely to comply with your request than the stranger.
“...people will say 'yes' more often to those they like.”
There are six principles of liking: physical attractiveness, familiarity, compliments, association,
cooperation, and similarity.
1. Physical Attractiveness
Attractive women have a lot of influential power. More so around guys. Most men would bend over
backwards for an attractive woman (pun intended). If the woman asked of these guys to do
something for her like: buy her a drink, drive her somewhere, or to borrow his mobile phone for a
call, the guys would very likely comply. It is a fact that more guys would comply with an attractive
woman's request than an unattractive women's request. The same goes for women being more likely
to comply with requests from handsome guys than ugly guys. Physical attractiveness also
influences someone in same gender situations.
People who are more physically attractive are generally more liked. If you're not so good looking,
you probably hated reading that, but don't ignore this component of liking. It doesn't matter if you
think looks are superficial because people will be judging you nonetheless. An unwillingness to use
this component of liking means you will have less influential power with people.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I estimate that 99.99% of people can look at least a 5 (average looking) if they
use the following tips. People just don't realize what parts of their looks are holding them back. In
the principle of authority, I provided some basic advice on clothing to improve your power and
authority. I'm no stylist so the advice is very simple. Guys, if you have a partner or girl friends, ask
them for their advice and perhaps they'll go shopping with you. Okay, they will definitely go
shopping with you like metal to a magnet. They will love the idea of helping you out as long as you
aren't all depressed about this whole “looks” subject.
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In addition to clothing, there are plenty of other things you can do to improve your looks. Workout
at least three days a week and eat healthy. This is the most powerful of the tips and is more life
changing than just in improving your looks. You will have a lot more energy and a positive attitude
which instantly affects: how you feel about yourself, how you influence people, and how you
interact with people and yourself in general.
Get a modern haircut that is stylish. You can feel like a whole new person and dramatically get an
upbeat attitude. Don't be afraid to try something new like bleaching, dye, or perming, but ask others
beforehand about what they think. Before doing anything to extreme with your looks, it never hurts
to ask others what they think would be good for you.
Always keep clean, hygienic, and smell good. Don't overdo makeup and jewelery. Keep all body
hair to a clean level. If you're a guy with a beard, you'd likely benefit from shaving your beard off.
A beard acts as a shield which can “prevent” you from connecting with people. It can also act as a
mask that subcommunicates devious behavior such as lying. Funny by true. I don't think Osama Bin
Laden did anything good for guys with beards.
2. Familiarity
We all like things that are familiar to us including people. Familiarity is a way of sorting through
what's safe versus dangerous, good versus bad, reliable versus unreliable, fun versus boring, and
believable versus unbelievable. If you cannot make someone feel familiar with you, then you'll lose
out on a whole lot of influential power. I would hold more influential power towards you in this
article if you are familiar with me. If you aren't familiar with me, then I don't have the full power of
the liking principle working for me.
Each of us are usually familiar with those whom we have long-term relationships. We come to
expect certain behaviors from these people. This provides us with a level of comfort because we
like the known. We love to comprehend what we can expect from people and how somebody we've
met fits into our lives. We are creatures of comfort and love familiarity even if there is a thing we
hate because we then know to stay away from it.
“We are creatures of comfort and love familiarity...”
Making yourself familiar to someone is far more than asking each other questions and talking for
hours. In fact, I think that is the least effective method for creating familiarity. A “dirty” tactic you
can use to make someone like you is to link yourself with someone or something the person you are
talking to knows about. You heard the person say they like gardening so tell them how much you
enjoy gardening. You see the person wearing football socks so talk to them about the latest game.
Talk about subjects that are familiar and enjoyable to the other person.
By using this technique for building familiarity, you not only get the other person doing most of the
talking because they are talking about what they enjoy, you are incorporating two other components
of liking: association and similarity. What you are doing is subtly linking yourself to information
the person already knows about. The person will unconsciously associate qualities of people who
love gardening or football to you. By the principle of association, you all of a sudden become
familiar to the person.
3. Compliments
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Compliments can be an “iffy” subject. Think about it. A salesman knocks on your door and tells you
that you are looking great. You'll instantly think, “What the! What does he want from me?” A
coworker or employee tells you your hairstyle is looking great today. You'll instantly think,
“Thanks. Wait... What was wrong with my other hairstyle?” A guy comes up to and awkwardly tells
you how beautiful you are. If you're a guy you'll freak out and punch the guy. If you're a lady you'll
think, “Ugh! He's hitting onto me.”
On the other hand, if the salesman complimented you on the lovely paving he walked across when
he approached your front door, you'd feel happy and liking him more. If a coworker or employee
thanked you for doing something today that made them feel better, you'll become all warm and
fuzzy inside and like the person more. If a guys comes up to you and says “you've got great taste in
your style”, then you'll likely be: caught off guard, thanking him for the compliment, and liking him
more. However, should the guy continually give you compliments and other types of praise, then
you'll begin to hate him!
Receiving well delivered praise is such a wonderful feeling, but when done wrong it can destroy a
relationship. Think of a time someone gave you effective praise. How did that make you feel? You
would have felt great and liking the person more! Given that the person complimented or
encouraged you in an effective manner, you would have felt more “magnetized” towards the person.
Now think of a time you were given poor praise. How did that make you feel? You would have felt
manipulated and wondering what were the person's ulterior motives for praising you.
Compliments and other forms of praise when delivered effectively possess a lot of power to make
people like you. It is no wonder than that I've written an entire chapter on giving people praise using
things like encouragement, compliments, and other forms of behavioral conditioning in my
communication secrets of making people like you program. Go check it out for more powerful tips
on making people like you.
4. Association
Ivan Pavlov's well known experiment around the 1890s about getting dogs to salivate at the ringing
of a bell is important in making people like you. Pavlov developed what is known as reflex
conditioning, classical conditioning, or association. Prior to the experiment, Pavlov noticed his dogs
would go through routines prior to being feed. To further explore this reaction, he feed the dogs and
rang a bell simultaneously over a period of time. After a while, Pavlov decided to not feed the dogs
and just ring the bell. At the sound of the bell, the dogs began to salivate without being feed any
My dog has been conditioned to bark like a maniac whenever he hears the house doorbell ring
because he associates the doorbell with an intruder. Even if just my family or I use the doorbell,
he'll start howling until he sees who is at the door. Even then he sometimes doesn't stop barking!
In Richard Bandler and John Grinder's Frogs Into Princes, the authors discuss a neuro-linguistic
programming (NLP) technique called “anchoring” which utilizes classical conditioning. Anchoring
involves creating “bells” to make people“salivate”. For example, you can touch people at a certain
time when they are happy and when they become unhappy, you touch them again and evoke
happiness. The NLP technique is beyond this article, but if you'd like to learn more about it, go
check out my review on the popular book and grab your copy.
There are other and more basic techniques you can use to create associations and increase your
liking. Humans experience classical conditioning in so many ways you wouldn't believe it occurs
almost every minute of our lives. One basic tip you can begin using the next time you tell some
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recent news or events is to link yourself with good news and not bad. Another tip that you can use is
from my communication secrets program where I encourage readers to tell somebody when they
were praised by another person.
“By becoming the 'middleman' of positive messages,
you transform into a likable person...”
By becoming the “middleman” of positive messages, you transform into a likable person through
the principle of association. Telling somebody good news or a compliment another person
mentioned about them is almost as good as it originating from you. Sharing praise is a great way to
give compliments without the risk of it being rejected and blowing up in your face. Link yourself
with as many good things as possible and you will increase your liking.
5. Cooperation
Cooperation is a powerful step for teachers who want a successful classroom, parents who want a
happy family, and managers who want happy and productive employees. From an ecological
perspective, cooperation involves organisms living in a specific area and receiving mutual benefits.
From a sociological perspective, cooperation involves the participants receiving mutual benefits like
members on a sports team. From an economic perspective, cooperation again involves the
participants receiving mutual benefits like an organization doing well.
Regardless of the perspective, we can see that cooperation goes beyond just working together.
Cooperation is more than working together as a happy team. It is working towards a common
purpose that involves each member receiving a benefit.
The opposite of cooperation is competition. From an ecological perspective, competition is fighting
for water, food, and other necessities. From a sociological perspective, competition involves
fighting for a common goal with losing and winning results. From an economic perspective,
competition again involves competing and obtaining as much beneficial resources as possible.
Regardless of the perspective, we can see that competition goes beyond just “fighting” against
someone else. Competition involves obtaining something such that the other participant misses out
on the thing you obtained. It is working towards a common purpose for your own benefit and
causing someone else to miss out on the benefit because you already have it or some portion of it.
When you are in cooperation with somebody, you will like the person more than if he/she was in
competition with you. You see this affect in gangs and wars where members hate members of the
side they are battling against purely because they are in competition with one another. I remember
reading a poem in high school, which I can't find, where the poet writes about war and the
perspective of competition. The two sides battling against one another would actually be friends had
they not met in the heat of intense competition. However, because they are under brutal competition
and fighting for the resource of living, they hate one another.
At work, socially, and in the family, we to often put ourselves and others in competition whether it
be for a pay raise, attention, or love. We can exist on the same team yet competition will be present
should the parties involved be after a resource that is limited or made available to only a select few.
When competition is combined with the principle of scarcity, you have a powerful combination for
conflict. Internal conflict explodes when team members have individual ulterior motives that aren't
in the team's best interests because of the principle of competition and cooperation. Wherever
possible and whenever possible, cooperate with people such that you and them receive mutual
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benefits should you both succeed. Also, minimize competition where the participants are not
fighting over a beneficial resource.
6. Similarity
Take a look at your friends and other groups of people with whom you have happy relationships.
You'll likely find one big similarity and that is similarities! Whether it be looks, hobbies, interests,
occupation, or social activities, we like people who are similar to us.
“...we like people who are similar to us.”
The liking component of similarity is powerful for those who know how to successfully
“manipulate” the technique. You can increase your similarity with somebody and hence increase
your influential power with them, by using the same technique shared in the familiarity component
of liking. If you are concerned about ethics, this is in no way unethical. All you are doing to
“manipulate” the situation is expressing things about yourself which are similar to the person you
are talking with.
Most people either aren't aware of how similarities affect friendship, leadership, influence, and most
relationships, or they aren't proactive enough about making those similarities clear. We all are far
similar to each other than most of us believe. It is a matter of having the skills to communicate those
Now, there are three main ways you can go about finding similarities. Firstly, you can spend a lot of
time with the person and get to know them. The problem with this is we don't have time for
whatever reason to frequently use this method. A second option involves peppering the person with
questions until you are able to “mine” and “dig up” something about the person which is similar to
you. Lastly, you can be smart about exploring the similarities by using a combination of techniques
listed below:
Observe – look at what the person is wearing, observe the person's friends and other people
he or she is with, and be on the lookout for other information that provides hints with what the
person is interested in. If you see the person browsing the computer games section of the
stores or wearing a football shirt, talk about these topics and be sure to eventually show a
level of enthusiasm towards the subject which matches the enthusiasm the person
communicates. You ask a person what computer games they are into after seeing them looking
at the games, but it turns out they hate games and are just looking at them as a present for
someone. Did you stuff up? No. You can talk about your dislike towards computer games
because someone you knows wastes a lot of time playing them.
Listen for keywords – when we are in a conversation, we will use terminology or references
to subjects that we like. This technique is a little more advanced, but very successful if you
find these keywords when listening to someone talk. There are variations of this technique
that can be used depending on the outcome you want like twisting words around to spark
attraction or misinterpreting words to be funny for example, but we will use it for finding
similarities. All you do is listen for keywords that indicate the person's interests and you then
link yourself to that information. If your talking about houses and the person starts talking
about electrical work, then chances are the person is into electrical work and so you express
your enthusiasm for this subject. You don't have to know a lot about the subject, but you can
show an interest and liking in the subject, which is what it takes to have someone like you.
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Ask questions – it's okay to ask questions, but do so sparingly. Best friends don't hammer
each other with questions. You can use questions if you think you're “onto something” in
finding similarities.
In conclusion, we follow things we like more so than the things we dislike. The same goes for
people and influence. By improving your physical attractiveness, making yourself familiar, giving
effective compliments, successfully using the principle of association, being in cooperation, and
having similarities, you can make people like you and increase your influential power.
If you're reading this right now and you are after many secrets of making people like you and
having great relationships with lots of love and minimal fights, then I highly recommend you go get
my communication secrets of making people like you program by clicking here today.
6. Principle of Influence: Social Proof
"Men are like sheep, of which a flock is more easily driven than a single one." - Richard
"Like the herd animals we are, we sniff warily at the strange one among us." - Loren Eiseley
"We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way." -
General George S. Patton
In New York City, the year was 1964, and something terrifying occurred. Most people who have
since heard the story, struggle to believe such an incident would take place. However, had they have
been in the same situation, they would have behaved in the same manner.
The event I'm referring to involves a lady by the name of Catherine Genovese who was publicly
stabbed and killed. This killing had a lot of debate surrounding it from many people in various roles
and responsibilities. They were all shocked at how such an event could occur and left dumbfounded
at how the observers of the killing did nothing to save the lady.
Robert Cialdini in Influence describes the killing as one that wasn't done discretely in a dark alley
hidden from other people. The shocking event occurred loudly over a 35 minute period with 38 of
her neighbors not doing a single thing. They didn't even phone the police.
The media had previously concluded that the public killing took place because society was “cold”
and careless of others. The observers didn't provide much useful information as to why they did
nothing to help the murdered victim. Most of them said something along the lines of, “I don't
know.” Neither answer was the true reason for the observers doing nothing useful to help the
attacked lady.
“...people look to others and follow what they are
Later on, a pair of psychologists eventually found an accurate explanation. Their explanation comes
from the sixth principle of influence, social proof, which states people look to others and follow
what they are doing. In times of uncertainty where it is difficult to determine what exactly is going
on, we will become more ignorant in an effort to “stay under the radar” and not get noticed.
Whether yells are cries for help or playful shouts, loud bangs are someone dropping a heavy object
or a gunshot, or a person wobbling down the street at night is drunk or very ill, it is “more safe” for
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us to follow what everyone else is doing and do nothing.
The psychologists later tested a theory of whether the number of people present in an emergency
would affect whether the person(s) present changed the likelihood of the victim being helped. The
researchers didn't bash people over the heads with baseball bats to create a victim-scenario! Rather,
they had someone fake a seizure to create the scenario for research purposes. The researchers found
that individuals who were alone with the victim were more willing to attend to someone who
appeared to be in need of assistance than when groups of people were present.
You maybe thinking that what took place in 1964 is different to nowadays. Well, it isn't. The
principle of social proof that explains the reason for “cold and ignorant behavior”, is just as
powerful today. In early 2007, there was an attack in Los Angeles during broad daylight which was
caught on camera. You can watch it take place on YouTube before your very eyes as approximately
a hundred people standby and do nothing. Watch the video and as you see a few people walk
towards the attack, more people follow and watch closely. The whole video is an example of social
proof at work.
As safety advice, should you find yourself in an accident, experiencing a health problem, or being
in a situation that requires another person's help, the best thing you can do is to remove as much
uncertainty as possible. Make it clear you are in need of help and talk directly to specific individuals
while telling them exactly what to do like calling an ambulance. Remove as much uncertainty from
the situation as possible so that social proof doesn't work against you. Do a friend, coworker, or
family member a favor by emailing them a link of this article. You never know, they could find
themselves in a dangerous situation and understanding how social proof works may safe their life.
Building Momentum and Leadership
The principle of social proof is a very important influential principle in leadership and generally
getting masses of people to do what you want. It is quite possibly the greatest technique for
persuading masses of people. Any leader has very little chance to get each individual of a group to
do what he or she wants. This is where social proof comes in handy.
An effective leader can put the principle of social proof into practice by persuading those who will
be more easily persuaded first through persuasive techniques and the other five principles of
influence. By getting a few people to follow your lead and doing what you want, other members of
the group observe those who are doing what you want and are more influenced to follow your
You can think of social proof as a chain reaction. Your request is an explosion while the people you
are trying to persuade are crates of explosives. The ones closest to the explosion (those more easily
persuaded) are triggered (comply with your request) once you give an effective “explosion” using
influence and persuasion tactics. The next ones who are a little further behind (less easily
persuaded) are then triggered because of nearby explosions (witnessing other people comply with
your requests).
This process can go on until eventually, the most cold-hearted individual who completely refused to
comply with the person's request at the beginning, starts thinking “everyone else is doing it so I
must be wrong. I'll do it as well.” The principle of social proof is extremely powerful and can
convert a defiant individual into agreement.
You can further make use of social proof to get what you want by arranging situations in a way that
increases the chances of social proof. Some ideas I have of how you can rearrange a situation to
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create social proof is getting people you know well to work with you and comply with the request.
Another idea you can use for when you are in a social situation is communicating both directly and
indirectly to someone about how great a friend is so that someone or a group likes your friend more.
The reasoning behind this is that they are uncertain of how nice is your friend. You provide social
proof and build momentum or a “chain reaction” that gets others to like your friend. As long as
you're not egotistic and not obvious you are boasting about your friend, this technique should work.
Another example of social proof in social situations is provided later on.
“Arrange situations in a way that increases social
If you are running a training program, perhaps you can ask certain people beforehand to do what
you want when the time is appropriate. This tactic has unethically been used by multi-level
marketing companies at seminars. They have “set up individuals in the crowd” to rush to the back
of a room and buy the companies product when the public speaker announces the audience can now
buy their books, audio, or video programs. The tactic can set off a stampede of people. I don't
recommend you use any influential technique unethically. It's up to you on how you decide to use
each principle of influence.
Popularity and Dating
If you are a guy or girl interacting with a person or group of people, you can leverage the situation
and have them provide social proof to you through your body language. When a guy approaches a
girl, a very common mistake is poor proxemics (positioning of the body). An unconfident guy will
stand still while the group he is approaching remains seated. He places himself out of position
which makes him look desperate and needy. If the guy were to make good use of proxemics, he
would position himself such that it looks like the group he approached wants to talk to him. He
subtly rearranges the group or manages to get himself in a more dominant position to build social
proof. In The Game, author Neil Strauss achieved this when he approached two women at a bar who
were facing the bartender. He lent against the bench between the two ladies instead of standing
which allowed him to be more dominate in the situation and improve his social proof.
In the principle of authority, I provided one of five Gestalt laws of perceptual organization which I
discuss in chapter 2 of my communication secrets of making people like you program. A second one
of these perceptual laws is the law of proximity which states that objects near one another are
grouped together. When we see groups of people together, we treat them in a collective manner. A
guy who is with an attractive lady or another person who is generally perceived as popular like a
celebrity, the guy will appear more desirable to both guys and women.
Another tip you can use with rearranging the situation to increase social proof is to influence those
who are similar to others you would like to influence. Testimonials for a company's product or
service is a great example of social proof, but by having those who are giving testimonials be
similar to others who the company would like to purchase their product or service, social proof is
injected with steroids! As was discussed in the principle of liking, we like those are similar to us
and hence are more easily persuaded by them. When seeing someone in a similar situation to yours
who is similar to you, the influence of social proof will be very strong.
Overcome Fear
Social proof is a useful tactic to overcome fear. The principle of social proof is effective when we
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are uncertain. As fear is often built from uncertainty and not knowing what could happen or
thinking something bad could happen, observing someone else confront the fear we have provides
proof and certainty that the situation is safe.
As is true with social proof in general, you will be more likely to overcome a fear through social
proof if the person or persons you are observing are similar to you. A 30 year old professional male
who has a fear of public speaking will be more successful in using social proof to overcome his fear
if he were to observe another 30 year old professional male speaking in public at a similar event. If
the guy was to observe a high school captain giving a talk at a school assembly, he won't gain much
confidence from observing this situation.
Overall, social proof has many powerful applications to influence people. You can use social proof
to have more people see you as their leader, boost your likability, increase the opposite sex's
attraction towards you, and overcome fear, to name a few useful situations this influential principle
is powerful. By using the principle of social proof, your persuasive power will increase and you will
be more able to get what you want.
If you're reading this right now and you enjoyed this free course I've written for you on influencing
people, then you probably would like to return the favor like many people already have. You can
give a donation or invest in my communication secrets of making people like you program. Thanks.
I hope you have gotten a lot out of this free report and don't forget to pass a copy onto someone you
know simply by emailing this report you have or send them this link where they
can view this ebook so they can also discover the secrets of influencing people. Also, you can print
out as many copies as you'd like and give them away. It's a great gift that can help others improve
problems they have with confidence in talking to you or others.
I wish you the best in your communication and hope to hear from you soon,
Joshua Uebergang
Self Development Expert
If you have any questions, comments, media inquiries, etc. you are welcomed to contact Josh by
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The 6 Principles of Influencing People By Joshua Uebergang of
Recommended Resources
Earthling Communication blog for articles written by me:
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Guide to mastering persuasion and getting others to do what you want:
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Addicted To His Presence And Attracts Relationships, Happiness, And Success Into His Life
For Him.
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