The Six Principles of Persuasion

Posted on July 4, 2013

Harvard Business Review lends helpful information about the power of persuasion in this article and how impactful our actions and reactions to others make a difference in the way we work with one another.
Persuasion works by appealing to certain deeply rooted human responses. Experiments in social psychology by Robert Cialdini and others have identified six of those responses, which Cialdini initially described in his book Influence.


If people like you—because they sense that you like them, or because of things you have in common—they’re more apt to say yes to you.


People tend to return favors. If you help people, they’ll help you. If you behave in a certain way (cooperatively, for example), they’ll respond in kind.

Social proof

People will do things they see other people doing—especially if those people seem similar to them.

Commitment and consistency

People want to be consistent, or at least to appear to be. If they make a public, voluntary commitment, they’ll try to follow through.


People defer to experts and to those in positions of authority (and typically underestimate their tendency to do so).


People value things more if they perceive them to be scarce.
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