10 Quotes: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Just finished up Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, an intriguing story of Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity. Written by Robert Caildini, Influence explains the hidden factors that drive the forces behind many of the decisions that we make. What interesting to note is that many of these decisions are done automatically. Caildini argues that as we get older, our brain becomes very efficient in making choices with out requiring much thinking. Although, the problem with these choices comes when the lack of thinking brings about negative consequences. You know…when you get an awesome deal from that car salesman. The guy was nice right? He must have given us the best deal. 10 important/favorite quotes:

When the situation calls for courtship, the courtship tape gets played; when the situation calls for mothering, the maternal-behavior tape gets played. Click and the appropriate tape is activated; Whirr and out rolls the standard sequence of behaviors.

Click, Whirr is a huge theme throughout the book. “Click” a certain type of stimulant and watch the “Whirr” of an automatic response.

The beauty of the free sample, however, is that it is also a gift and, as such, can engage the reciprocity rule. In true jujitsu fashion, the promoter who gives free samples can release the natural indebting force inherent in a gift while innocently appearing to have only the intention to inform. 

Reciprocation – Give something to someone and they’ll feel like they need to give something to you in return. Aka think about when a guy buys a girl a drink at a bar, is he implying that he wants something in return?

Suppose you want me to agree to a certain request. One way to increase your chances would be first to make a larger request of me, one that I will most likely turn down. Then, after I have refused, you would make the smaller request that you were really interested in all along.

When you’re seeking funds for a new project you want to take live, should you ask for what you want to get up front? No. You need to ask for more, go back and “deliberate” with your team, and then “bring down your offer” and get what you really want.

But because it is so typically in our best interests to be consistent, we easily fall into the habit of being automatically so, even in situations where it is not sensible way to be. When it occurs unthinkingly, consistency can be disastrous.

Consistent means strong and stable, flip-flopping is weak.

We have become so accustomed to taking the humorous reactions of others as evidence of what deserves laughter that we, too, can be made to respond to the sound and not to the substance of the real thing.

Referencing the automated taped laughs while watching tv shows. Do you think they would be any less funny if they weren’t there?

The principle of social proof says so: The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will be correct.

Like a herd of cattle

When the newspaper detailed the suicide of a young person, it was young drivers who then piled their cars into trees, poles, and embankments with fatal results; but when the news story concerned an older person’s suicide, older drivers died in such crashes.

Cialdini talks about some very interesting stats around public suicides. Basically, the more public the suicide, the more people will follow their lead and commit suicide themselves. 

The important thing for the advertiser is to establish the connection; it doesn’t have to be a logical one, just a positive one.

Why is Lincecum telling me what kind of cheese I should buy? He doesn’t know anything. Except I’ll go buy that cheese because of the association between it and Timmy.

“It is the extreme willingness of adult to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority that constitutes the chief finding of the study.” there are sobering implications of this finding for those concerned about the ability of another form of authority–government–to extract frightening levels of obedience from ordinary citizens.

What is authority anyway? What power does one person really have over the other? Titles, clothes, and expensive things give the illusion of authority. At the end of the day, were all naked bodies running around.

In this case, because we know that the things that are difficult to possess are typically better than those that are easy to possess, we can often use an item’s availability to help us quickly and correctly decide on its quality.

Fear of missing out on an opportunity. This drives people crazy and its hard to overcome. How do you know when to pass up an opportunity that looks awesome? Is it awesome because it is rare or because it is truly…cool?