Are You Resistant to Influence?

en in various • 5 min read

This post is a review of one book, but first, I will tell you five stories.


Suit

I like to wear suits. Many people think it’s not comfortable and/or practical. I have a different opinion. Do you remember pants with many pockets? It was awesome; I could have a lot of stuff with me without need to have any bag. But the look is horrible. With a suit jacket, I have many pockets as well and look stylish. With this type of jacket, I can go to any party no matter what the occasion. A last-minute call to go to a theater or wedding party? No problem. So practical! :-) Of course, it depends on lifestyle.

Anyway, I wanted a tailored suit for my wedding. I visited my favorite brand and checked what they offer. It looked terrific, and the lady was very nice to me. I even got a discount! But still, the price was on the edge of what I was willing to pay. After a week lady called and was very sorry that she made a mistake and forgot to count a vest. Because she was very friendly all the time and gave me a discount, I agreed to pay more than I wanted.

Resignation

I started a contract for an interesting company. That company looked very promising, but soon after I joined the project, I discovered many problems. The root of all of the issues was the absence of communication. With people scattered in more than one city, it’s a big problem.

I tried to talk to them and fix as many issues as possible. It didn’t work because the problem was in top management. In other words, time to find a better contract. I did, and I promised them the date when I can start. But then the first company began to talk with me, and I got second thoughts. Maybe I would be able to change the situation… I will never know because a promise is a promise.

Parking

Parking in cities is a very unpleasant activity. It is hard to find a spot around our apartment as soon as 6 pm. Impossible after 8 pm. But, where to place the car? We noticed some people leave a car on sideways. Some corners are so huge that even two cars can fit, and there is still a lot of space for walkers. Once the situation was so bad, we parked our car on one such corner as well.

It worked well until we got the first ticket. Soon after the first ticket, we got a mail with a lot of tickets. Almost one for each night. During one night we even got three tickets! We were desperate, so we did the same we saw being done by others. It was an expensive experience. I think no one knows, and everyone who tried that did it because someone else did the same before him. There are still cars on all corners around.

Wardrobe

We needed a big wardrobe for our new bedroom. We had two options. The first was to buy an IKEA. The cheap variant which could be delivered quickly, but cannot be tailored to every possible detail. The size has to be a multiplication of the IKEA unit, making it impossible to fill the available space. The second option was to get a perfectly tailored, top-quality wardrobe.

I entered the showroom, and the lady did her best to get me. She quickly understood what I was looking for and showed me exactly what I needed to see to like the solution a lot. When I came home, I was saying only the best about it. I wrote the advantages and disadvantages of both solutions to see what is a good price-performance ratio. Of course, the better deal would be IKEA, but I was already too excited, so the second option won…

Sweets

I have some medical issues because of which I should keep out of sugar if possible. I’m trying to do a gentle low-carb in recent months. It means I don’t eat pasta, bread, and so on, but I keep sweets in my diet. Yes, I don’t eat sweets as much as before, anyway, when I visit sweet-shop, I don’t resist and have to pick a cake. My attention always goes to the last piece. If it’s the last one, it has to be good, right?


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

All those stories are examples of how I was influenced to do something I wouldn’t do in other circumstances.

The first story, the suit, is about reciprocity. People tend to return a favor. Be careful when someone does something for you. In case you feel you should return a favor, think twice if you would do it even without the first favor. Just offering you water can start it. Good/bad cop strategy is also based on this.

The second story, resignation, is about commitment and consistency. If people commit, orally, or in writing, to anything, they are more likely to honor that commitment. This mechanism was used a lot to brainwash during wars. It can also be used in a good way to fulfill a personal goal, such as quitting smoking.

The third story, parking, is about social proof. People simply do things they see other people are doing. The most famous example is standing in some busy place and looking up into the sky. Passing people will also lookup. We are sheep.

The fourth story, wardrobe, is about liking. If you like something, you will buy it. It doesn’t have to be the best option available. Also, if you like the person selling the item, you are more likely to buy it.

The fifth story, sweets, is about scarcity. People want things as they become less available. Say „limited offer“ to customers, and you are going to be an employee of the month!

I’m missing one story to cover all chapters from the book: story covering authority principle. People tend to obey authority even when they disagree. I was thinking hard, but haven’t found an example from my life. Anyway, it can be only because I’m not aware of it at all. Even if I’m really immune in this one, I have a lot of work with other principles to not get influenced so easily by others!

Book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is really great, and I can highly recommend it.


Hmm. Which cake… this one down in the middle looks so lovely!





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