Cialdini’s Six Weapons of Influence


Robert Cialdini’s insightful book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion revealed how six “weapons” of social influence can be put to use to persuade people into taking actions or exhibiting behaviors.

The six weapons include:

  1. Reciprocity – returning a “favor”
  2. Commitment and Consistency – honoring a previous agreement or statement
  3. Social Proof – do what other people are doing
  4. Authority – do what the person with the highest title/rank, the fanciest car, or the nicest clothes says
  5. Liking – follow the advice/instructions of people you like or are attracted to
  6. Scarcity – perceived scarcity generates demand

The weapons are listed in order of their typical strength. Their ability to influence or persuade people varies greatly on the individuals involved and the situation. They operate most strongly under conditions of great uncertainty — e.g., when people are unsure of what the “right” answer is, these six influencers can operate essentially as “fallbacks” or mental short circuits.

More on Robert Cialdini

5 Comments on “Cialdini’s Six Weapons of Influence”

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