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The key points of 'Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert B. Cialdini

'Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert B. Cialdini delves into the six key principles of influence, the power of persuasion, and its applications in marketing. Understanding these concepts can greatly enhance one's ability to persuade and influence others effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Reciprocity is a powerful tool in influencing others by creating a sense of obligation.

  • Consistency in commitments can lead to long-term behavior changes and increased compliance.

  • Leveraging social proof can influence decision-making by showing that others are also taking similar actions.

  • Building trust through effective communication is essential in persuasion and influence.

  • Creating a sense of scarcity can drive action and urgency in decision-making.

The Six Principles of Influence


The principle of reciprocity hinges on the human tendency to want to give back when something is received. When people feel they have been given something, they are often compelled to reciprocate. This can be seen in various social situations, from a friend buying you coffee to a company providing a free sample.

  • Offer a free trial or sample to customers.

  • Send thank you notes or small gifts to clients.

  • Provide valuable information or services at no cost.

Commitment and Consistency

The principle of commitment and consistency posits that once an individual commits to a stance or action, they are more likely to act in ways that are consistent with that initial commitment. This is because people have an innate desire to appear consistent to both themselves and others. For instance, if someone publicly commits to a goal, they are more likely to follow through with it.

Commitment can be a powerful tool in persuasion, as it can be used to influence future actions and decisions. Here are a few ways in which commitment can be leveraged:

  • Public declarations increase the likelihood of consistent actions.

  • Written commitments are often more powerful than verbal ones.

  • Small initial commitments can lead to larger ones over time.

Social Proof

The principle of social proof is a powerful mechanism in human psychology where individuals look to the behavior and actions of others to determine their own. People are more likely to engage in an action if they see others doing it, especially those they perceive as similar to themselves. This is why testimonials, user reviews, and social media influence play a pivotal role in shaping decisions.

  • Testimonials can significantly boost credibility.

  • User reviews often sway purchase decisions.

  • Social media influencers can drive trends and consumer behavior.


The principle of liking suggests that we are more likely to be influenced by people whom we like. We naturally favor those who are similar to us, who pay us compliments, and those who cooperate with us towards mutual goals. Building rapport and establishing common ground can significantly enhance the persuasive power of a communicator.

  • Similarity: We connect with those who share our interests, values, and backgrounds.

  • Compliments: Genuine praise can create a positive bond.

  • Cooperation: Working together on shared objectives fosters trust and influence.


The principle of Authority asserts that people are more likely to follow the lead of an expert or someone in a position of power. This is because authority figures are perceived to possess a higher level of knowledge, wisdom, or power, which influences individuals to trust their judgments and decisions.

Experts often have a significant impact on decision-making processes, as their opinions are seen as more credible and trustworthy. For instance, a doctor's recommendation carries more weight than that of someone with no medical background.

  • Credentials or titles increase the perception of authority.

  • Uniforms and symbols of professionalism can enhance authority.

  • The use of jargon or technical language can also imply expertise.


The principle of scarcity taps into the human tendency to place higher value on resources that are less available. People want more of what they can't have, a concept that can be leveraged to increase demand and perceived value. For instance, limited-time offers and exclusive memberships create a sense of urgency that can drive action.

Understanding the nuances of scarcity can help in crafting messages that resonate with the target audience. Here are some key strategies:

  • Highlighting the uniqueness of an offering

  • Emphasizing limited availability

  • Creating time-sensitive promotions

  • Using language that conveys exclusivity

The Power of Persuasion

Understanding the Psychology

To truly harness the power of persuasion, one must delve into the underlying psychological mechanisms that drive human behavior. Understanding why people say 'yes' can be as crucial as the persuasion techniques themselves. The psychology of persuasion is rooted in the basic human desire to be consistent with our beliefs, actions, and the image we present to others.

Influence operates on the principle that our decisions are often less about the objective merits of an option and more about the social and emotional factors that come into play. For instance, we are more likely to be persuaded by someone we trust or by a majority opinion that seems to validate our choices.

  • The desire to be liked and accepted by others

  • The need to appear consistent in our commitments

  • The influence of authority on our decision-making

  • The impact of scarcity on our perception of value

Effective Communication

In the realm of persuasion, effective communication is the bridge that connects the intent of the message with the perception of the audience. It's not just about what is said, but how it's said, and the context in which it's delivered. To truly influence others, one must master the art of conveying ideas clearly and compellingly.

  • Understand your audience's needs and expectations.

  • Craft your message to be clear, concise, and memorable.

  • Use stories and analogies to make complex ideas accessible.

  • Be mindful of non-verbal cues and the tone of your delivery.

Remember, the goal of communication in the context of persuasion is not just to inform, but to engage and motivate. By focusing on the clarity, brevity, and relevance of your message, you can increase the likelihood that your audience will be receptive to your ideas.

Building Trust

Building trust is a cornerstone in the art of persuasion. Trust is earned when the audience feels that the persuader is credible and has their best interests at heart. To establish this, one must be transparent, consistent, and show genuine concern for the needs and desires of others.

Authenticity plays a critical role in building trust. People are more likely to be influenced by someone who is relatable and sincere. This connection is not just about what is said, but how it is said. Non-verbal cues and emotional intelligence are just as important in conveying honesty and building rapport.

To further understand the process of building trust, consider the following points:

  • Demonstrate reliability by keeping promises and meeting expectations.

  • Communicate openly and listen actively to concerns and feedback.

  • Show competence and expertise without being overbearing.

  • Be empathetic and understanding of the audience's perspective.

Applications in Marketing

Influence in Advertising

Advertising is a powerful tool for shaping consumer behavior and leveraging the principles of influence can significantly enhance its effectiveness. Marketers use the psychology of persuasion to craft messages that resonate deeply with their target audience. By understanding the motivations and desires of consumers, advertisers can create campaigns that not only attract attention but also encourage action.

Reciprocity is a common tactic in advertising, where companies offer free samples or trials to potential customers. This gesture of goodwill often leads to increased customer loyalty and sales. Here's how reciprocity plays out in advertising strategies:

  • Providing free samples or trial periods

  • Offering limited-time discounts or exclusive deals

  • Encouraging user-generated content in exchange for rewards

The use of social proof, such as customer testimonials and influencer endorsements, is another key aspect of influence in advertising. It taps into the human tendency to follow the actions and behaviors of others, especially those we admire or consider as peers.

Consumer Behavior

Understanding consumer behavior is crucial for leveraging the principles of influence in marketing. Consumers are not just passive recipients of marketing messages; they actively interpret and respond to them. Marketers must consider the psychological factors that drive consumer decisions, such as emotions, cultural norms, and individual preferences.

  • Consumers often rely on heuristics, or mental shortcuts, to make purchasing decisions.

  • Social identity and group belonging can significantly impact consumer choices.

  • Personal values and beliefs are reflected in consumption patterns.

By analyzing consumer behavior, marketers can tailor their strategies to better meet the needs and desires of their target audience. This involves a careful study of consumer habits, the influence of social media, and the impact of brand perception on buying behavior.

Creating Persuasive Campaigns

In the realm of marketing, the creation of persuasive campaigns is both an art and a science. Marketers must craft messages that resonate deeply with their target audience, leveraging the psychological principles outlined by Cialdini. A successful campaign hinges on understanding the consumer's mindset and the subtle cues that can influence their decision-making process.

Persuasion in marketing is not just about pushing a product; it's about creating a narrative that aligns with the audience's values and desires. This narrative should be consistent across all platforms, ensuring a seamless experience that fosters trust and brand loyalty.

  • Identify the target audience

  • Understand their needs and pain points

  • Craft a compelling message

  • Utilize the principles of influence

  • Measure and adapt the campaign


In conclusion, 'Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert B. Cialdini provides valuable insights into the principles of influence and persuasion. The key points discussed in the article shed light on the psychology behind why people say 'yes' and how individuals can use these principles ethically. Understanding these principles can empower individuals to make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of influence in various aspects of life. Cialdini's work continues to be a cornerstone in the study of persuasion, offering timeless lessons that are relevant in today's society.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Six Principles of Influence in 'Influence, New and Expanded' by Robert B. Cialdini?

The Six Principles of Influence are Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity.

How does understanding the psychology play a role in the power of persuasion?

Understanding the psychology behind persuasion helps individuals identify and leverage psychological triggers to influence others effectively.

What is the significance of building trust in the context of persuasion?

Building trust is crucial in persuasion as it establishes credibility and reliability, making it easier to persuade others to take desired actions.

How can influence be applied in advertising?

Influence in advertising involves using persuasive techniques to influence consumer behavior and drive desired actions or responses to advertisements.

How does consumer behavior relate to the principles of influence?

Consumer behavior is influenced by the principles of influence, as individuals' decisions and actions are often shaped by psychological triggers and persuasive tactics.

What is the key to creating persuasive campaigns based on the principles of influence?

The key to creating persuasive campaigns is aligning marketing strategies with the Six Principles of Influence to effectively engage and persuade target audiences.

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