Building Trust Through Influence

(Suggested length 60 minutes)

It is through the influence process that we generate and manage change. Like most things, the process can be handled poorly or well. It can be employed to foster growth and to move people away from negative choices and in more positive directions, thereby creating the conditions for new change opportunities. Or, it can be used clumsily, reducing the chance for genuine movement and, in the worst of cases, boomeranging into conflict and resentment.

In this presentation, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini first describes the six universal principles of influence—those that are so powerful that they generate desirable change in the widest range of circumstances. The principles are: Liking, Authority, Consensus, Scarcity, Reciprocation, and Consistency. Dr. Cialdini’s presentation next focuses on how the first three of these principles have been and can be harnessed to meet specific, mutually beneficial objectives by building trust. Throughout, Dr. Cialdini emphasizes the ethical use of the principles so that those who are influenced feel personally committed to the change and come to trust (appropriately) that their advisor/partner will continue to counsel them correctly. It is only in this fashion that the influence process can be simultaneously effective, ethical, and enduring. And, it is only in this fashion that it can enhance a lasting sense of partnership between those involved in the exchange.

Robert Cialdini, Ph.D.

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