Persuasion is a form of social influence. It is the process of guiding oneself or another toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and symbolic (though not always logical) means.
The human race are set by rules and boundaries. Basic rules like “Don’t steal”, or “Don’t kill” are obvious, but there are also hundreds of subliminal rules we follow. Things like personal space, or body language. And one of these subliminal rules is how humans may be persuaded without even knowing it through a few simple rules.
- People tend to return a favor.
This is how those free sample ladies get you in the supermarket. By giving out ‘free’ samples, shoppers are more likely to feel like they either obligated or need to buy that item.
2. Commitment and Consistency
- Once people commit to what they think is right, orally or in writing, they are more likely to honor that commitment, even if the original incentive or motivation is subsequently removed.
For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy.
3. Social Proof
- People will do things that they see other people are doing.
For example, in one experiment, one person stood in the middle of Times Square at midday and looked into the sky for one minute, during this minute nobody else around him looked up. The very next day four people stood in the middle of Times Square at midday and looked up for one minute, thus repeating yesterdays experiment. This time however 20 people followed the four ‘leaders’ and stared into the sky to try to see what the others were looking at.
They also repeated this experiment gradually growing in the number of people looking up as the more ‘leaders’ they had, until finally they stopped traffic! Oh the power of persuasion
- People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts.
For Example: The Hofling Hospital Experiment.
In 1966, the psychiatrist Charles K. Hofling conducted a field experiment on obedience in the nurse-physician relationship. In the natural hospital setting, nurses were ordered by unknown doctors to administer what could have been a dangerous dose of a (fictional) drug to their patients. In spite of official guidelines forbidding administration in such circumstances, Hofling found that 21 out of the 22 nurses would have given the patient an overdose of medicine.
- People are easily persuaded by other people whom they like.
People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favor more attractive people, generally more aesthetically pleasing people tend to use this influence excellently over others.
- Perceived scarcity will generate demand.
That’s why music movies are released to create a certain amount of demand, celebrities are loved because fame is a scarcity, to become famous isn’t something everyone can do. Things like diamonds or gold are scarce in the world thus driving up their price and the more people want to have them.
For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales.
So hopefully now you can all see just how easily swayed we can become. Anyone who has ever bought or done something, only to then carry through and regret it? Chances are you have been subtly persuaded against your will into buying something you don’t want. We have all done it, but after reading this just get one message.
Think for yourself, and no one can ever change your mind. x