Summary of Influence by Robert Cialdini

There are six universal principals of influence that research has shown to be incredibly powerful and effective in a wide variety of settings.

1. Reciprocation – When you do someone a favor, they feel obligated to return the favor.

  • If an organization gives you a small gift, you’re more likely to give them a donation.
  • Taking free samples at food courts makes you feel obligated to buy something from a vendor.

2. Consistency – People have a desire to be consistent with their past actions.

  • If you tell an associate that you love exercising (whether or not it’s true), you’re more likely to purchase a gym membership when offered one just to be consistent with your previous statement.

3. Social Proof – You’re more likely to follow a specific course of action if you see other people doing the same.

  • “Laugh tracks” on comedy shows make us think shows are funnier.
  • -Long lines at clubs make us think the club is better.
  • -Full tip jars make us more likely to tip.

4. Liking – You’re more likely to say “yes” to the requests of people you know or like.

  • Salespeople attempt to point out similarities between themselves and you (background, clothing style, political views, sports teams preferences, personality type) to make you like them more.

5. Authority – You’re more likely to follow the advice of someone you consider an expert.

  • You’re more likely to purchase a new drug if it’s advertised by a doctor in a commercial.
  • You’re more likely to buy a product or service from someone dressed in high-end clothing.

6. Scarcity – Opportunities seem more valuable to you when their availability is limited.

  • You’re more likely to buy something if you believe the offer is only on the table for a certain amount of time (Black Friday, flash sales, 24-hour only discounts).
Latest posts by Zach (see all)

Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.