Dr. Robert Cialdini is an experimental psychologist. Well into his career he noticed that he repeatedly fell prey to all sorts of people trying to sell or make him do something. In a move to rescue himself from those who took advantage of him, he decided to use the tools of his science to research the psychology of compliance.
Now, this is a field that is tough to study in the lab. In order to really learn about it, he had to go out into the real world. Dr. Cialdini studied how professional sales people in very diverse fields operated. For a period of three years he studied how fund raisers, car sales people, and many other types of “compliance” specialists conducted their work. He was interested how to successfully and sustainably influence others without taking advantage of the other person. As we know, this happens to most people only once then they retract. Dr. Cialdini was interested in the ethical use of influence. He was able to to derive six general principles that were the basis of influence:
1. Reciprocation: You, then me, then you and me
2. Scarcity: The rule of the rare
3. Authority: Showing knowing
4. Consistency: The starting point
5. Liking – Making friends to influence people
6. Consensus – People proof, people power
Again, in his book he doesn’t forget to stress that the ethical use of influence is crucial and means being honest, maintaining integrity, being a detective not a smuggler or bungler. Now, these fundamental principles of how to influence people go beyond the world of selling. Case in point, as we at ProChain are changing a project management culture based on milestones and multi tasking to a culture of open and transparent communication, buffer management and focused work we need to influence people to change their behavior. Dr. Cialdini’s principles do apply here as well. Our conference participants responded very well to the content and the speaker. His speech was recognized as one of the highlights of the event. If you want to see for yourself then here is a link to one of his youtube videos.
- On November 2, 2009