The Six Principles of Influence

The Six Principles of Influence

If you want to be an effective team player, leader, or manager, you need to be able to influence people. Your role title certainly won’t be enough to expect people to do as you’d like them to. You need to take other measures to get your colleagues to support your ideas. This article highlights the Six Principles of Influence.

It can be difficult to increase your influence in the workplace. This is because our colleagues are often preoccupied by their own work and the sheer overload of information in today’s world. Yet the increasing pressure on businesses to be efficient, productive, and profitable makes it more important that you have the ability to influence and get things done.

We are influencing others consciously and subconsciously all the time. When we are influencing, we are trying to make changes in behaviour, opinions, attitudes, goals, needs, or even values. There is no right way, nor is there only one way to influence others. It is important we understand a range of techniques and strategies. We should adapt our approach to the other person or group appropriately. This takes a combination of interpersonal communication, presentation, and assertiveness techniques. These are covered on our great Influencing Skills course. Let’s look at one theory you can employ:

The science of persuasion

Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” explores factors that affect the decisions that people make. They are the following and here is how you can use them to influence others:

  1. Reciprocity – You feel obliged to give when you receive. So, help others out. Once you’ve helped someone, they’ll be more likely to return the favour when you need it.
  2. Scarcity – People want more of the things there are less of. If customers believe a product will soon disappear or has a limited offer, they will want it more. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales. To use scarcity to your advantage, run a promotion for your product that is limited by time, or numbers.
  3. Authority – People follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts. Reference industry leaders or your largest customers to influence your authority. If who you want to influence, see that established, successful individuals or businesses use your product or service. They may be reassured that it’s a good investment.
  4. Consistency – People like to be consistent with things they previously said or did. This means that if you can convince another to act in a minor way in relation to something, then they’ll think of themselves as that type of person and be more likely to act in that way again in the future. Introductory offers or product give-aways are an example. If you receive a free product, then you may start to identify yourself as someone who uses that product. Therefore, you will be more likely to act consistently with that identity in the future.
  5. Liking – People prefer to say yes to those they like. So, be likeable, professional, courteous, trustworthy, willing to go the extra mile and follow up on your promises.
  6. Social proof – People will look to others to determine their own actions. This is why adverts or social media “likes” from people we know will frequently influence us. You can use social proof in your sales process by referencing customer case studies. Why not share feedback from your customers?

Applying the Six Principles of Influence can help you get the results you or your organisation wants, and when you do, you’ll be more respected, appreciated and acknowledged in the workplace.