“Six Principles of Influence” by Robert Cialdini

In the video, Robert Cialdini talks about the experience he had while writing his book – Influence. During his research, Cialdini concluded that there are only six universal principles that help influence other people. More precisely, these principles are a generalization of all activities that the so-called influence professions specialists carry out to influence other peoples’ decisions. It is notable that these six principles were further divided into individual tactics that enhanced the amount of influence or adapted the principle’s guidelines for a more specific situation. Authority, reciprocity, scarcity (of a product), commitment and consistency, consensus (social proof or following the lead of individuals similar to oneself) are the principles mentioned by Cialdini in the video.

The author further mentions the understanding of persuasion’s nature that he believes to be true. Cialdini claims that, although each person is born with the ability to persuade, the process of persuasion may also be approached scientifically. Rather than just the following intuition, one may resort to learning the ways to influence other people’s decisions and make them more compliant to say “yes.”

Cialdini also explains that the principles he mentioned are universal and are inherent to any individual. Therefore, it is possible to apply them in any given situation. Moreover, the audience that may be influenced using these principles is significantly broad (colleagues, friends, family members, children, etc.).

Along with other ethical considerations regarding persuasion, the author explains the difference between influence and manipulation. This difference, according to the author, lies in the purpose of persuasion. Manipulation is juxtaposed to a smuggler’s attempts to fit something where it does not naturally belong. Therefore, influence is more virtuous and is aimed at providing an individual with better services, products, or options. The author also notes that people aware of persuasion science must be more conscious regarding the influence one may have on them.

Cialdini also explained his theory of littering that is centered around the principle of creating messages of influence that are not potentially damaging to the audience. It is important to create messages that are not controversial.