Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
In this hectic, gigaminute world, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the simplest actions can have far reaching effects. Einstein once said, “everything should be made a simple as possible, but no simpler.” I’d like to fess up that when it comes to persuasion, or influence. I’m an easy mark.
Take carnival games. I’m the one you’ll find sheepishly standing watching any “skill” booth thinking, “Oh, that giant stuffed animal on the top row will soon be mine!” Then after twenty dollars of failed attempts, I realize I’m no Einstein and think, “this one’s not so simple!”
The psychology, or art if you will, of persuasion is one that I find a contact source of fascination.
“Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion,” by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.., is a not so recent exploration of this field. Dr. Cialdini admits in the introduction, that, “all my life I’ve been a patsy…” Nice to have a comrade with such respectable credentials.
Dr. Cialdini cites what he calls the six, “weapons of influence: reciprocation, scarcity, social proof, commitment and consistency, liking, and authority.” These affect us whether we’re at a party, at work in the office, or at home reading a magazine.
He says these are built in to each of us, and uses specific examples from everyday life as proof. Following is a quick overview of the six. In the book, the Dr. devotes a full chapter to each weapon. And remember, we are responding on a deep, psychological level:
Give some a gift? The person you gifted feels indebted to you.
Just one left? We all know how that feels.
Someone likes you? You will like them back (Not a Facebook, ‘like’, either.)
Repetition. Repeat the message enough times and you’ll get it.
You’re so nice. When you are nice, people are nice in return.
The good doctor says. Wearing a lab coat? We think she’s smarter.
As I said, Dr. Cialdini’s book details each of the above so called “weapons,” and offers numerous examples from life.
Do I use all of these ‘weapons’ all the time when working on magic? I’m not that devious. But I will tell you this; reading that book changed how I respond to the latest promotion from some international brand, or news report. And at the carnival, I think twice about plunking down that twenty ;-)