This is part of a series of information/stories delivered from the INCREDIBLE book,  “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini.     If you work or live a life where you have to get people to do thing, Influence studies and explains the 6 most powerful forces to persuade people.  No other book has been recommended to me more, by people smarter than both of us.

In short, they are:

1) Reciprocation

2) Social proof

3) Commitment & Consistency

4) Liking: People prefer to say ” yes” to those they know

5) Authority

6) Scarcity

And they will be a game changer for you and your business.

Today we elaborate on Authority.


Studies investigating the way in which authority status affects perceptions of size have found that prestigious titles lead to height distortions.  Because we see size and status as related, it is possible for certain individuals to benefit by substituting the former for the latter. Usually, in combat with a rival, the larger and more powerful male wins. To avoid the harmful effects to the group of such physical conflict, however, many species have adopted methods that frequently involve more form than fracas. The two males confront each other with showy aggression displays that invariably include size-enhancing tricks. Various mammals arch their backs and bristle their coats; fish extend their fins and puff themselves up with water; birds unfurl and flutter their wings.

The other lesson is more general: The outward signs of power and authority frequently may be counterfeited with the flimsiest of materials. Clothes.  Somewhat blatant in its connotation than a uniform, but nonetheless effective, is another kind of attire that has traditionally bespoken authority status in our culture: the well-tailored business suit. It, too, can evoke a telling form of deference from total strangers. Research conducted in Texas, for instance, arranged for a thirty-one-year-old man to violate the law by crossing the street against the traffic light on a variety of occasions. In half of the cases, he was dressed in a freshly pressed business suit and tie; on the other occasions, he wore a work shirt and trousers. The researchers watched from a distance and counted the number of pedestrians waiting at the corner who followed the man across the street. Three and a half times as many people swept into traffic behind the suited jaywalker.