Influencing Ideas and Decisions for Business Results

Professionals in every industry have moments in business where they need to sell an idea. The task of convincing your clients, customers, and colleagues lies in your preparation and understanding of the Principles of Influence. The following three principles are guaranteed to increase your likelihood of gaining buy-in at work:


1. Herd Mentality


We’ve all experienced the herd mentality, otherwise known as “safety in numbers” or “follow the crowd.” If many people are doing something, it probably makes sense for you, too. It also feels less risky if it doesn’t work out because you always have the “everybody was doing it” defense. Although most people like to reject that they fall victim to herd mentality, we must recognize that we are all subject to heuristics.


How You Can Use Herd Mentality: Present three options


It’s tough to make a decision when you only have one option, no matter how strong it appears. Two is twice as good as one, three is perfect. Anyone feels confident deciding between three options regardless of expertise or experience. And when choosing between three, people always veer toward the safer middle option. Don’t forget: When given the option between three new tires for the participants car, she went with the middle option because she didn’t want the cheapest and didn’t want the most expensive. Just like Goldilocks, the middle option is just right.


2. Reciprocity


Think of this as the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” phenomenon. We are naturally inclined to do whatever someone does for us. Have you ever received a holiday gift from someone, when you weren’t anticipating exchanging gifts? Instinctively, you find yourself telling them about the gift you “forgot” as you frantically try to patch something together over the lunch hour. The same can be said for teamwork or negotiations in a professional setting: If I act reasonable and agreeable with you, you are programmed to be reasonable and agreeable, too.


How You Can Use Reciprocity: Give a meaningful and truthful compliment to someone with whom you will be in a negotiation


If this person could have backed out weeks ago but is taking the time to hear you out, tell them how appreciative you are of their time and flexibility. This is a meaningful and honest compliment that can set the stage for your negotiation.


3. Authority


This principle concerns reactions to authority figures and the value of second opinions, especially if they have badge value. All our lives, we’re told to listen to who’s in charge, including parents, teachers, coaches, and yes, even bosses. If they’re in charge, they must know something we don’t. We’re also likely to listen to celebrities when they endorse certain products, like Michael Jordan’s recommendation to wear Hanes.


How You Can Use Authority: Include your manager in a meeting


Knowing this principle can affect who you bring into meetings or onto conference calls. Selected and timed right, they can magnify the power of your words tremendously. If you can prove that you have your manager’s buy in, it will show others that your idea is worthwhile.


For more information about how you can bring this program to your organization, visit our training page for The Six Principles of Influence.

Blog Post, Tips
June 27, 2017