Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

My personal summary of the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.

Levers of influence

  • People like to have a reason for what to do
    The word because will trigger people. Even if no valid reason given. E.g. “Can I skip the line, because I want to”
  • Judgmental heuristic
    Mental shortcuts we make in everyday decisions
    E.g. Expensive so it must be good
  • Perceptual Contrast
    People tend to compare with what was presented before
    Sell the expensive item first.

Reciprocation (return)

The sense of needing to return when you have received.

“Obrigada” = Thank you in Portugese = Much obliged.

==Give personal gifts== to employees.

  • A gift to one’s child is a gift to the father/mother
  • Personalize a gift
  • Match a gift to a need

Problem freed > Problem free

Rejection then retreat.
Rejection: Large offer not accepted
Retreat: Smaller offer you actually wanted
-> Applied once will make people agree with you more


Technique: Mentioning someone who likes the product and that is a friend.

Why people like you?

  • Physical attractiveness
  • Similarity
    • Mimic speech & body language
    • Find common interests
    • Don’t focus on differences (will pollute you similarity view)
  • Complements
    • We are suckers for flattery
    • Give compliments behind peoples back
  • Contact
    • We like things familiar to us
    • So, often expose yourselves
  • Cooperation
    • Someone on your side (e.g. Good cop/bad cop)
  • Conditioning & association
    • The nature of bad news impacts the teller

==Food== equals liking. Go have lunch.


When we are feeling liking more than we should. Separate the product he/she is selling from the person.

Don’t try to prevent it, just be aware of it

Social proof

When people are free to do what they please, they imitate one another.

“Most popular”, this is just a label. We determine what is correct by why other people think is correct.

Social proof works when people think it’s not intended to persuade them.


  1. Uncertainty – When situation is unclear, we we doubt ourselves, lack of familiarity
  2. The many – Applauding
  3. Similarity – Social proof from similar to you

Social proof shortcuts: People assume trends continue in the same direction. For example you can use honest evidence of growing popularity.


When social proof auto-pilot is working with inaccurate information, then disengage.


Start by humbly admitting your mistakes, this will make the rest so much more thrustworthy.


Loss aversion
Scarce is more interesting than abundance
When first abundance and then scarce, then even more

Commitment & Consistency

Once we make a choice or stance, we want te behave consistent

Sales tactic for toy shops. Advertise something that your children want. Undersupply it but provide alternatives. Run adds again in later period so you will go back to what you promised your child.

Ask questions, so they commit on it:

  • Why did you select me as potential candidate?
  • What made you take our offer?

Foot-in-door-technique: Have your prospect purchase something small, so they become a customer. And it will be easier to sell them more stuff later.

Never sign any petition. This small commitment can be used as tactic to later ask for more. They abuse your self-image.

People believe what they have written. If you write your goals down, and share them with the public, you’ll commit.


Stomach: When you feel it, just mention it.
Heart-of-heart signs


Group solidarity, we often take each other’s opinion.

Unity 1: Belonging together
Unity 2: Acting together

Likeness = Liking

Jointly experience hardship (e.g. Teambuilding)
==Ice bath== teambuilding.

Ask for advice, not feedback. Makes you feel more united.

Instant influence

Primitive automaticity: When we don’t have time, are distracted or fatigue. Use all the previous techniques.
Modern automaticity: Avalanche of information makes us go back to primitive automaticity

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