Over 400,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to learn how to make better decisions, create new ideas, and avoid stupid errors. With more than 100,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub. To learn more about we what do, start here.

The Principles of Influence

A great short video of psychology and marketing professor Robert Cialdini introducing the universal principles of influence. Cialdini has dedicated most of his life to figuring out why it was so easy for others to influence him.

Humans, like animals, respond to certain cues automatically. Cialdini categorizes these triggers into six categories, which explain, in large part, how people influence one another and persuade others into compliance (without thinking.)

  1. Reciprocation: When people give you something or do something for you, you are more likely to respond in kind.
  2. Consistency: Our default is to act consistently with what we’ve already stated.
  3. Social proof: When we’re uncertain of what to do, we act like others.
  4. Liking: You are more likely to do something if asked by someone you like.
  5. Authority: You’re more persuasive when people see you as an authority (knowledge and credibility) on the subject.
  6. Scarcity: People want something others don’t have. They want something rare.

Still curious? Read Robert Cialdini’s books Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.