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The Psychology of Influence, Part 1

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When done for the right reasons and in the right way, the art of persuasion is a very powerful tool. In his classic bestseller, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” Robert Cialdini shares the six principles of influence and persuasion. Here’s how the first three impact your ability to be influential in an entirely ethical way: 

Reciprocity

The law of reciprocity means that you reap what you sow. Like the Law of the Harvest, it’s all about giving without having any specific expectations, while also knowing that there’s the promise of a result in the end. Whether you’re planting goodwill, encouragement, service or value, reciprocity always starts with giving first. If you give in a consistent way over time, eventually you will be seen, you will be acknowledged and you will reap the harvest.

Commitment

If you want to have influence, you’ve got to be committed. Are you all in on your calling and what you’re supposed to do? Are you all in on your marriage and relationships? Are you all in on your health? Are you all in on your career? Are you all in for your customers? As Ken Blanchard said, “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.” So, to have influence, you must commit, have no plan B and be all in!

Social Proof

Social proof is the tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it. Often, if people are unsure about something, they’ll look to the actions and behaviors of others. Then, they’ll go along with the majority to either fit in with the group, or because they believe the group is better informed than they are. Whether it’s where they choose to live, how they dress or what they drive, people will often discount who they are and what they know to go along with the crowd. If you want to have influence, you must be aware of social proofing, not subject to it.

When it coincides with the right intent, motivation and desire to help, the art of persuasion can be used for the common good and to serve others. To learn more, listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life.” 

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