Masters in Business: Robert Cialdini


About Robert: Psychologist and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion


  • There are hardwired heuristics which have been adaptive traits for humans who are social and cooperative animals.
  • They can be hijacked or counterfeited by unscrupulous actors. Often a combination of hijacks is being used.

6 Heuristics

  • Reciprocity
    • Giving a small gift (restaurant gives a  mint with a check); nobody wants to be called a moocher
  • Commitment and consistency
    • We prefer to be internally AND externally consistent. Leads us to defend our publically stated positions even if we no longer believe them, hence advice to “keep identity small”.
    • By publically declaring our intentions we will have additional motivation to follow through. Also, by asking others to state things or write them down we increase their chance of adhering (ie asking people when and where they will vote, not just will they). Also, by asking for favors which flatter a person’s self perception we compel them to oblige by hijacking their need to feel consistent.
  • Social proof
    • Peer pressure. Works best when claiming that others with whom you closely identify are promoting x. For example, getting out the vote by sending individuals door to door in their neighborhoods. The peer pressure is coming from a neighbor and peer.
  • Authority
    • Endorsed by an expert
  • Liking
    • We trust people who like us. A salesperson should convince you that they like you as opposed to getting the customer to like them. You trust that people who like you are looking out for your interests.
  • Scarcity
    • Act now. Time is running out. “If you are put on hold, try again, everyone is calling to get this great deal”

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