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Use Robert Cialdini's 'Social Proof' Theory to Convince People Easily

Use Robert Cialdini's 'Social Proof' Theory to Convince People Easily

Everybody needs social proof. We do what others do and that is why 'social proof' is the most effective persuation technique one can use. When you want to convince someone, all you have to do is tell him or her about how many more people follow suit. Provide social proof to convince someone into doing something you want him or her to do.

Robert Cialdini, author of the bestselling book 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion' is the brainchild of this technique. In the book, he talks about how we believe in "if everyone else is doing it, why shouldn't you?" Also called the consensus theory, this is the reason we choose to eat at a restaurant that is almost full rather than at an empty one.

We all need validation for what we do. This is the idea behind using canned laughter in entertainment shows. It has been established that this makes audience laugh longer than they would otherwise have. Canned laughter is most effective for poor jokes. Cialdini says, "One means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct...We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it." For instance, if our colleagues walk into work late every day, we tend to do the same and start believing that it is the way to be. This is applicable to things we buy as well. We often tend to shop for thing others possess or whatever is in trend.

There have been various experiments to prove the same in the past as well. Decades ago, in an experiment conducted by Muzafer Sherif, several subjects were placed in a dark room with a dot of light 15 feet away. The subjects were asked for estimates on how much the dot moved. Participants gave different numbers. Next day, they were grouped together and asked the same question. This time, they gave a completely different number.

Social proof is a shortcut to not fail. When we conform to what we see around us, we are less likely to go wrong, at least that is what we believe. So, the best way to sell your idea is to show a social proof.

(Also read: Use 'But You Are Free' Persuation Technique to Increase Your Chances of Getting 'Yes' )

(Image Credit: Thinkstock)

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