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Saturday, February 12, 2011

6 Universal Principles Of Social Influence by Janet Callaway

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Years ago I listened to an audio cassette program that has had a lasting impact on me. Instant Influence: The Pscychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini was the name of the program. The information has since been included in his book Influence: Science & Practice as well as Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive co-authored with Noah J. Goldstein and Steve J. Martin.

Because his work explains why we (you, me, all of us) react a certain way in a given situation, I have become a better communicator and more effective in helping others. For those of us in Social Media Marketing and Network Marketing the 6 principles taught by Dr. Cialdini are invaluable. When you read these 6 principles, guaranteed you will have an “ah ha” moment.

Reciprocity—This is certainly easy to understand. When someone does something for us we want to do or give them something in return. To my way of thinking, probably one of the greatest examples of this occurred years ago in airports across the country when members of Hare Krishna gave passerbys a flower. Even though the person neither asked for nor wanted the flower, most gave the Hare Krishna a donation in return—at least in the early days.

Authority—We look to experts to show us the way. If someone has a title, we “assume” that they are an expert even though not everyone graduated at the top of their class. That authority even carries over into other areas having nothing whatsoever to do with their particular area of expertise or position.

Commitment/Consistency—In deciding what to do/not do we want to remain consistent with our values and commitments. Our commitments are powerful influencers of our actions.

Scarcity—Again, this is very easy to understand. How often have we purchased something just because if we didn't buy it then, we would never ever be able to purchase it? Same thing in a restaurant; if only a couple of the Special fo the Day are left, we simply have to have one. The less available the resource/item, the more we want it.

Liking—The more we like someone, the more we want to say Yes! to them—sometimes we even manufacture reasons to say Yes.

Social Proof—We look to the opinions of others to guide us which is exactly why word-of-mouth advertising has always been more effective that traditional advertising. Now, with social media, social proof has reached an entirely new level. Instead of word-of-mouth, it has now become world-of-mouth with 78% looking for peer recommendations vs. 14% trusting advertisements.

Do yourself a favor. Read or listen to Dr. Robert Cialdini; free downloads of both books and audios are available online.

Did you too have an “ah ha” moment when you read these principles?


  1. Hi Janet,
    The moment I read reciprocity I thought of my blog friends and how I very much I want to be sure I leave a thoughtful comment on their blogs. After all, they take the time to do this for me. :)

  2. Catherine, aloha. What a perfect example of reciprocity--at least to those of us in the blogging world. Thx so much for stopping by and commenting. Aloha. Janet