Influence And Persuasion At Workplace (Part 1)

Learn how to influence “basically anyone” from Dr. Robert Cialdini

This article is the first piece in a 2-part series about how to improve Influence and persuade better at the workplace. The second Article helps identify the relevant factors contributing to one’s Influence.

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When we were babies, we persuaded our parents to give us more cookies.

As teenagers, we tried our hands at getting permission to attend parties. In college, it was for vacationing with friends.

Then as work started, it became about convincing people of our ideas.

The need for persuading others to align with our views has been a constant in our lives. The mechanism of persuading others has evolved, hopefully, techniques more refined.

We used to use puppy eyes and promise of being a good kid as babies. As we grow and are convinced of the importance of persuasion, we want to add tools to our repertoire.

As a Product Manager, I have felt the need to influence others in my daily life. Tell me if these sound familiar to you.

  1. But I said the same thing…. Your idea/answer presented by someone else had more power over the audience

  2. But it wasn’t in an Email Verbal discussions were misinterpreted and lay in the dust.

  3. Well, the Boss likes it The response seemed warmer when the Boss clapped in the presentation

  4. Just tell us the timelines!! Teams trusting your instincts and are geared up for execution, no questions asked

  5. For the sake of my Roadmap Would you accommodate my request in your Roadmap?

Assuming an equal performance among peers, some people are heard more than others. Some ideas shine brighter than the rest. Only a few products and features see the day of light.

As Sachin Rekhi puts it, Product Management is 60% substance ad 40 Style. Couldn’t agree more.

In fact, I would extrapolate it, take it a step further and say, all jobs as one progresses, are at least 40% style.

One possibly learns and gets better as one climbs up the career ladder. Like everything else, learning by oneself is time taking. This is the reason, people do not reinvent the wheel.

Meaning to put a framework to what I had already observed in my day-to-day life, I read the work of Dr. Robert Cialdini. Dr. Cialdini, in his long career in academia, has, through extensive research and experimentation established the answer to the seemingly simple question “How do I influence someone?”

Getting others to align with your point of view is now always simple. A friend might trust your judgment implicitly. A colleague might need the data and rationale. But the executive, with all the data, rationale and judgment, could still not be convinced.

Dr. Cialdini, in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” breaks the problem down into its contained components.