Robert Cialdini is a well known reference in sales & marketing. He spent significant time on understanding why he would fall in every marketing and salesman trap, finding himself shortchanged when the person in front of him had bad intentions (manipulation), or driven into something when the intention was not necessarily mean (influence).

In 2019, I invited author, speaker and Halifax co-founder Nicolas Caron to address a room of seasoned sales managers. He described not having read Influence et manipulation as a professional fault. His tone of voice meant it as a joke. But deep below it was a strong piece of advice.

The book and the science behind it provide major insight as to how the human mind works when it comes to being persuaded. It is a very helpful help to decode the world around us at a time of fake news, nudging, permanent marketing and overall communication overload.

Below is a checklist style synthesis I wrote for myself along 7 dimensions. You may also want to consider reading the full book. I think the English title is Influence: the psychology of persuasion.

1. Start with a strong halo 

Look good and own the attributes of power, halo effect is very strong 

Announce good news, the messenger gets associated to the news 

Project expertise, people stop thinking when there is an expert around 

2. Indebt  people in your favor

Make gratuitous presents, people will feel obliged and compelled to give back

Start high and make concessions, people will feel they have to concede too

Compliment people, we all want to be nice with people nice to us

3. Have a common enemy 

Look and behave alike to your counterpart, people associate with their kins 

Pretend to fight against your own institution, people will feel you’re on their side

Create a common goal, this is how different and even competing groups get together 

4. Make people coherent 

Find what people need to justify, and go their way if you can and if it helps 

Have people take a public stand, they will be frantically coherent with it afterwards 

Create social proof to back your position, people want to think others are right 

5. Create scarcity 

Communicate that what you have is rare or will run out, it makes it very interesting

Create exclusivity and confidential access, people will feel they have to jump on it 

Censor or forbid, interdiction makes things spicier and much more interesting 

6. Arouse rivalry 

Always present a bad option, so that you can create a contrast 

Suggest rivals are on the move, something coveted by rivals is suddenly interesting 

Have people compete for the offer, they will grasp it just to get it before rivals 

7. Defend yourself 

Panic if someone unknown creates sympathy too quickly, you may be tricked 

Refrain from commiting on the spot, ask for thinking time 

Do not take decisions alone, ask for a few external points of view