Pump Up Your Persuasive Power

In an era of cross-functional teams and intercompany partnerships, masters of persuasion exert far more influence than formal power structures. How to use your persuasive power to capture an audience, sway undecideds, and convert opponents? Understand and leverage deeply rooted behavioral principles.

Consider the principle of social proof: People follow the lead of others who are similar to them. (Here's proof of social proof: More New York City residents tried returning a lost wallet after learning that other New Yorkers had tried.) To leverage this principle, use peer power to influence horizontally. For instance, ask an esteemed "old timer" to support your new initiative if other veterans resist.

Today's Management Tip of the Day was adapated from the HV "Harnessing the Science of Persuasion," by Robert B. Cialdini.

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  July 24, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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"For instance, ask an esteemed "old timer" to support your new initiative if other veterans resist. "

Yes, don't consider the possibility that your idea stinks, and the fact that people that have been there awhile aren't buying into it might be a clue. You also don't want to waste the extra time coming up with a good idea that won't require duping people - instead, you just need to be a top-shelf manipulator and make a puppet out of someone that is respected by their collegues, and that people actually listen to (and probably deserves your position more than you do).

After all, you're Important, you need to make a Name for yourself, and gosh darn it, you're Entitled to it!

This is how inept people get to drive nice cars.

Posted by: Einstein | July 24, 2008 10:02 AM

Is the title of this blog meant to be tongue-in-cheek? Is that why the logo looks like an adult toy? Or maybe a dunce cap...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2008 12:03 PM

This blog seems to attract people who want to vent about their bosses (I get it Einstein, you have better ideas than your boss, and you think you deserve a nice car and your boss doesn't). What a bunch of glass half empty whining.

If your idea stinks of course it shouldn't and probably won't gain acceptance (sure there are exceptions, and The Office is funny because we all have experienced bad bosses who got their bad idea implemented).

Persuasion isn't always coercion or the championing of bad ideas (only the myopic would think so). What is being proposed here is useful. How do you keep your idea from being put in the 'new' box? How do you get momentum behind a good idea? That is a problem that actually occurs and forgive someone for actually making a suggestion for dealing with a problem.

Posted by: jjsaluki | July 25, 2008 9:48 AM

Actually jjsaluki, you couldn't be more wrong - see what happens when you assume? I have a great boss, and am fortunate enough to work for a company that treats everyone as equals and fosters open communication across the management heirarchy. Good ideas are rewarded and respected whether they come from the bottom or top.

It's this formulaic corporate robot speak that makes me want to gag - it's so fake and empty, and people devote their whole lives to it. I have a lot more respect for people that succeed because they are genuinely good at what they do and deserve it than people that "succeed" because they're good at following a formula and manipulating people.

Posted by: Einstein | July 31, 2008 11:18 AM

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