The Principles Of Effective Persuasion


Skilled negotiators and influencers have long recognized the power created by linking views with those who hold authority. Then when this 'authority' power is allied with the drive to remain consistent, it becomes a lethal combination to strongly influence mindsets.

Lessons for Business Influencing

Where we have the opportunity to use 'authority' power to influence others we gain strategic advantage. For example, if we can bring the power of the CEO or perhaps our Manager to bear, or if we can cite the authority of 'research' or 'precedent', we have a powerful influencing tool.

Then by adding the consistency driver, our persuasion is considerably enhanced. The consistency principle states that when a person makes a choice they encounter strong personal pressure to behave consistently with that commitment. It causes individuals to make subsequent decisions line up with their earlier decision.

How can we best achieve this?

One way is to make full use of the pre-formal event time to meet early and meet often. Seek to maximize opportunities for influencing the other party's views. Appeal to authority. Then at each meeting carefully introduce ideas designed to gain easy agreement that can later be leveraged to invoke the consistency principle.

And, of course, take care others aren't doing this to you...

Tips on Using Authority and Consistency

  • Clearly identify all the parties involved
  • Identify sources of authority - both organisational and personal
  • Determine the common ground between the parties
  • Utilise questioning strategies to deliver mini-agreements that can later be used to invoke the consistency principle 
  • Encourage the other party to stay consistent by citing positions they have already made.