Inside Influence Report

By:  Steve Martin, CMCT

iStock_000006595143SmallPersuasion researchers have consistently demonstrated that the most successful strategies that influence the decisions and behaviors of others gain their persuasive strength by triggering one of just three simple human motivations:

1) The motivation to make effective decisions efficiently.

2) The motivation to affiliate with and gain the approval of others.

3) The motivation to see ourselves in a positive light.

In two previous INSIDE INFLUENCE REPORTS, I reviewed the first and second of these motivations and provided examples of the small changes that can activate them. In the third part of this series of articles I’ll take a closer look at the third of these motivations; the need to behave in ways that allow us to be seen in the best possible light.

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By:  Steve Martin, CMCT

In last month’s post we claimed that, despite an abundance of strategies used to influence the decisions and behaviors of others, researchers have found that the most successful strategies gain their persuasive strength by triggering one or more of three simple human motivations.

These motivations are:

1. Making effective decisions efficiently

2. Affiliating with and gain the approval of others

3. Seeing ourselves in a positive light

For this month’s IIR let’s take a closer look at the second of these, our motivation to affiliate with, and gain the approval of others.

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By:  Steve Martin, CMCTthesmallbig-book-smaller

In the recently published book THE SMALL BIG co-authored by Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein and myself, we make a bold claim. Despite there being hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individual persuasion strategies used across the workplace, nearly all of the techniques that have been scientifically demonstrated to successfully change the thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors of others gain their persuasive power by leveraging just one of three simple underlying human motivations;

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By Mr. Steve MartinGoals concept in word tag cloud

Despite our best intentions, many of the goals we set for ourselves go unfulfilled. To improve our career prospects, we’ll research going to night school but not make it to class. We’ll purchase a health club membership, only to find our attendance wanes after a couple of sessions. We promise to put a little extra cash aside towards that dream trip, but when the end of the week arrives, we convince ourselves we can always start next month. The relationship between intention and implementation is often a weak one. In previous INSIDE INFLUENCE REPORTS we have discussed various strategies to encourage people to follow through with their commitments. One of the more effective is to create a specific plan for where, when, and how they will go about accomplishing it. Persuasion scientists call this an implementation intention plan.

Often we have multiple goals that we’re juggling to accomplish. And at work we can face the challenge of persuading colleagues to commit to several important tasks. In situations like these, will the implementation intentions that serve single goals pretty well extend to an entire to-do list?

 

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By:  Steve Martin, CMCTSutton Place Hotel

In 1979, noted psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Schauss conducted a series of studies designed to measure the mental and physical strength of one hundred and fifty young men. Arriving at the laboratory, each man was invited into a small room where one of two cardboard signs was held up in front of them. After looking directly at the card for one minute they were invited to take part in a series of physical strength tests. Sometimes they were asked to raise their arms directly in front of their bodies while downward pressure was applied. On other occasions, a dynamometer test was used to give a more accurate measurement. Regardless of the test employed, it quickly became apparent that the cardboard signs each man was asked to gaze at first had a remarkable influence over their subsequent physical performance. There were no words on these cardboard signs. Nor were there images on them either. They differed only in color.

One was blue, the other pink.

It’s easy to dismiss the results of Schauss’ experiments as fluke. And given the weakening effect the pink card had on the men’s physical strength it’s even easier to label them a crude demonstration of a widely held stereotype. But to do so would be a mistake. In the thirty or so years since these experiments were conducted, behavioral scientists have developed increasingly sophisticated ways of studying how our environment shapes decisions and behaviors. Their results leave little room for doubt. While we’d like to think that our decisions are always the result of effortful cognition, the reality is somewhat different. Much of our behavior is driven by unconscious cues present in our environment. One of these cues is color, influencing a wide array of decisions and behaviors from how competitive or creative we are, to who we find attractive on dating sites and even if we’ll say ‘Yes’ to the offer of a second helping at next weekend’s dinner party.

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“Dr. Cialdini’s program at the Training Leadership Summit was most impressive. His passion for translating science into ethical business actions gave these industry leaders powerful tools to use immediately. This program is a must for those serious about effective ethical influence.“
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