What’s the meaning of influence and persuasion?

Mar 08, 2017

In the world of business, we often come across the words influence and persuasion. What does this mean and what’s the impact on us? The bottom line, influence and persuasion is the ability to get people to listen, do what’s asked of them, or move in a certain direction. Hmm… sounds a lot like leadership. Every day in our lives and in our relationships whether personal and professional, we are influencing, persuading or being influenced or persuaded in some manner. These two simple words have tremendous impact on our lives.

According to national bestselling author Robert B. Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the influence process uses what he calls the “weapons of influence,” which are six principles of persuasion. These principles are: reciprocity, commitment, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Individuals using these principles rely on the psychology of people looking outside of themselves to make automatic decisions.

These ways of influencing others certainly work; however, as leaders (in our professional and personal lives), how can we influence and persuade others by internally motivating them to listen, do what’s asked of them, or move in a certain direction?