How often has someone convinced you to say yes to something when you really did not want to? There are some very clever ploys at large, which can persuade even the toughest individuals to change their minds, but how do the persuaders do it?
The scientific study of social influence began about the time of WW II, when public information, propaganda and persuasion programs began in earnest. One scientist who has studied the phenomena for about 30 years is Robert Cialdini. He discovered that there are six basic tendencies that help govern our response to a request ? reciprocation, consistency, social validation, liking, authority and scarcity.
Reciprocation plays on a human desire to give back to someone who first gives to us. For example, when the Disabled American Veterans mail out requests for money, they usually get an 18% response, but this doubles if they include some free, personalized address labels. Receiving a gift seems to obligate us to give something in return. This is why we frequently receive free samples, of gifts, tokens, vouchers and so on with product promotions.
Consistency has to do with an expectation of a person's integrity. If a person says they will give money, they usually do. If a person says they will use the table they have reserved in a restaurant, they usually . . .
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