Sunday, May 12, 2013

Six Principles of Persuasion: Authority

Part 5 of a 6-part series

You're feeling the power of authority when you accept without question the auto mechanic's recommendation to replace your tie rods.

In Influence, Robert Cialdini writes, "We are trained from birth that obedience to proper authority is right and disobedience is wrong."

Heeding an authority is wisewhen her expertise is genuine. 

But trouble lies in the fact we're vulnerable to symbols of authority:
  • Titles, certifications and professional designations;
  • Uniforms and business suits; and 
  • Trappings of success (trophies, limos, posh offices, club memberships, etc.).
Authority explains why we buy products recommended by actors in TV ads; why we over-tip showy waiters; and why con men like Bernie Madoff flourish.

Want to persuade someone? Trumpet your expertise.
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