This Article appeared in  “THE KHALEEJ TIMES” – OPENSPACE on July 27, 2011

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” Life reflects success once you bring change in others.  And the change equals Influence.  People of influence are prized and successful; the questions is “Is the influence part of the human DNA or it can be learnt?”

Robert B Cialdini in his bestselling book “Influence; Psychology of Persuasion “ identifies “6” weapons of influence and these can be learnt.  The knowledge of influence when applied would and should results in successful outcome.

The principals of Influence can be applied in selling, conducting business, delivering speeches and every scenario where a change is expected.  Hence it becomes a very powerful arsenal and the Book to be missed at your own RISK.  The six principal identified in the book are

–      Reciprocity

–      Commitment and consistency

–      Social proof

–      Authority

–      Liking and Scarcity

I have identified two more weapons to the arsenal of Influence and they are

–      Find a buddy

–      Become Story teller

Let’s take closer look at the 8 weapons of “Influence”

  • Reciprocity: This is part of the human DNA.  People tend to return a favor.  If you invite them out for meal they will return the favour by inviting you for the meal.  If you click LIKE on Facebook,  the other person is most likely to Click on Like on your post.  Hence people can use this weapons to influence change – make a sales, secure business and garner support.  The best strategy to deploy whenever you visit an audience is to ask who I can help and how can I help ?  The bigger or unexpected the favour,  the bigger is the return.    like Zig Ziggler said “ If you want to succeed in life , help enough people to succeed”
  • Commitment and Consistency: If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement.   Hence in any transaction work towards getting a compliance to a smaller request  that is in congruence with the your larger request to follow
  • Social Proof: People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. Hence utilize the weapon when making sale – use the customers testimonials to support your case.
  • Authority: People will obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts.  Because people trust authority.  Having said that to add human touch and make it more convincing it’s important that Authority figure also share the negative or the weakness and this reflects the human part wherein people perceive that authority is knowledgeable about strength and weakness and also a human thus resulting in influencing a change.
  • Liking : People  do business with people they like.  They are easily persuaded by people they like or share something in common.  Hence identify what is common between you and your target audience and share with them  to influence decision.
  • Scarcity: Scarcity creates demand and we all are aware of it. Christmas season limited toys availability creates lines outside the small.  Limited time offer, one time offer are a ploy to create demand and positively influence decisions towards purchase.  Hence during the sale process identify what is unique to your proposition that is not available with your competitor and highlight that to influence.
  • Find a buddy: identify a third party who would highlight your strength and sell your credentials. And once it’s done your job of influence becomes a cake walk.  Politicians and Hollywood/Bollywood personalities deploy this ploy to influence.
  • Be a story teller: Become a story teller. Put yourself in the story to connect with your audience. People buy from people and stories are the best medium to deliver sticky message and create influence.  Hence become an expert in telling your stories.


This Article appeared in  “THE KHALEEJ TIMES” – OPENSPACE on July 27, 2011