6 principles of persuasion based on Robert Cialdini's research.

If you’ve ever wondered how people less talented than you, were more successful than you, it could be that they understood persuasion. The 6 principles of persuasion show you how to influence people to get the outcome you want, ethically.

The ability to persuade others  might be the skill you are missing that will catapult your relationships, career or business. Understanding these principle will increase your emotional and social intelligence.

In this blog post you will learn the persuasion skills used by master influencers in fields from business, social media and politics.

I will give you the 6 principles of persuasion examples that will help you understand, then apply them to your life immediately.

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What are the 6 Principles of Persuasion?

The 6 principles of persuasion are based on the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, a renowned psychologist. He is also the author of the best-selling book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

Also known as Robert Caldinis 6 principles of influence.

These principles are…

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Authority
  • Commitment and Consistency
  • Liking
  • Social Proof

By understanding and applying these principles, you will be able to influence people in different areas of your life.

Lets have a look at each one.

Reciprocity: Give and Take


The principle of reciprocity states that people feel obliged to return favors or gifts that they receive from others.

This means that if you do something nice for someone, they will feel more inclined to do something nice for you in return.

Examples of Reciprocity …

  • If you give a compliment to someone, they will probably reciprocate with a compliment of their own.
  • Sending a thank-you note to a customer who bought your product, will mean they will be more likely to buy from you again or refer you to their friends.
  • When you offer a free trial or a sample of your service, increases the chance people will sign up or buy the full version.

The keys to using reciprocity effectively…

  1. Make sure that your gesture is genuine, unexpected and personalized.
  2. Don’t give something just because you expect something in return.
  3. Give something because you genuinely appreciate the other person and want to make them happy.
  4. Make your gesture a surprise that delights them and shows that you care about them as an individual.

Scarcity: Less is More

Scarcity principle of persuasion

This principle of persuasion states that people value things more when they are rare or limited.

This means that if you create a sense of urgency or exclusivity around your offer, people will be more motivated to act on it.

Examples of Scarcity…

  • If people realize you are not going to be around all the time, they will appreciate you more.
  • When you tell your prospects that your product is running out of stock or that your service is only available for a limited time, they will be eager to buy it before it’s gone.
  • If you tell your audience that your content is only accessible to a select group of people or that your event has only a few seats left, it will make them more interested in joining or being part of the group.

The keys to using scarcity effectively…

  1. Make sure that your claim is true and credible.
  2. Don’t lie about the availability or demand of your offer.
  3. Don’t create fake scarcity that can backfire and damage your reputation.
  4. Be honest and transparent about why your offer is scarce and why people should act fast.

Authority: Trust the Experts

one the 6 principles of persuasion is authority.

The principle of authority states that people tend to follow the advice or recommendations of experts or credible sources.

This means that if you establish yourself as an authority in your field or show that your offer is endorsed by an authority, people will be more likely to trust you and follow you.

Examples of Authority Principle…

  • If you offer health and fitness advice, people will be more likely listen to you if you are lean, jacked or have a healthy glow.
  • If someone is wearing a badge or a uniform we will base our trust on the first impression without knowing anything else.
  • When you display your credentials, awards, or testimonials on your website or social media, it will increase peoples trust.
  • If you cite relevant statistics, facts, or studies in your content or presentation, people will be more convinced by your arguments and claims.
  • When you show that your product or service is used or approved by celebrities, influencers, or industry leaders, people will be more attracted to your product.

The keys to using authority effectively…

  1. Make sure that your source is relevant, reliable and reputable.
  2. Don’t use fake or outdated credentials, awards, or testimonials.
  3. Don’t cite irrelevant or dubious statistics, facts, or studies.
  4. Don’t show endorsements from celebrities, influencers, or industry leaders who have no connection or credibility in your niche.

Commitment and Consistency: Stick to Your Word

commitment and consistency is another of the 6 principles of persuasion.

The principle of commitment and consistency states that people tend to act in ways that are consistent with their previous actions or statements.

This means that if you get someone to commit to something small or agree with something simple, they will be more likely to commit to something bigger or agree with something more complex later on.

Examples Commitment and Consistency…

  • If you ask someone help you with a small thing, they are more likely to agree to help with bigger things.
  • When you ask someone to eat a apple because it is healthy, they will be more likely to eat other food you recommend because you say they are healthy.
  • If someone signs up for your newsletter or follows you on social media, tit increases they chance of buying your product or service later on.
  • When you ask someone to answer a survey question or share their opinion on something, you make them more open to listening to your pitch.
  • If you ask someone to make a small donation or pledge for a cause, they will be more likely to make a larger donation or pledge later on.

The keys to using commitment and consistency effectively… 

  1. Make sure that your request is easy, voluntary and public.
  2.  Don’t ask for too much or too soon.
  3. Don’t pressure or coerce people to do something they don’t want to do.
  4. Don’t make people feel embarrassed or guilty if they don’t comply. Instead, make your request simple and appealing.
  5. Make people feel proud and happy to do what you ask them to do.

Liking: Be Likeable

be likeable, and you will persuade better.

The principle of liking states that people tend to say yes to those who they like or who are similar to them.

This means that if you build rapport and trust with someone, they will be more receptive to your offer or message.

Examples of Like Principle… 

  • If you show genuine interest and curiosity in someone, they will be more willing to open up and share with you.
  • By complimenting someone on their appearance, skills, or achievements, they will be more open to other requests.
  • If you find common ground or shared values with someone, they will feel connected and align with you in other areas as well.

The keys to using liking effectively…

  1. Make sure that your behaviour is authentic, sincere and respectful.
  2. Don’t fake interest or curiosity in someone. Don’t give insincere or excessive compliments to someone.
  3. Don’t pretend to have common ground or shared values with someone. Be yourself and be honest.
  4. Show that you care about the other person as a human being, not as a means to an end.

Social Proof: Follow the Crowd

social proof

This element of persuasion states that people tend to do what others are doing, especially when they are uncertain or unsure.

This means that if you show that your offer or message is popular or accepted by others, people will be more likely to follow suit.

Examples of Social Proof… 

  • When you have many friends, people will more likely want to be your friend.
  • If you have a girl on your arm, more women will find you attractive.
  • If you show how many customers have bought your product or service, people will be more confident in its quality and value.
  • When you show how many followers, subscribers, or fans you have, it triggers people to believe you are good and encourages them to be part of the group.
  • If you show how many positive reviews, ratings, or testimonials you have, people will be more persuaded to buy or listen to you.

The keys to using social proof effectively…

  1. Make sure that your source is relevant, diverse and credible.
  2. Don’t show numbers or statistics that are irrelevant or outdated.
  3. Don’t show feedback or opinions that are biased or unrepresentative.
  4. Don’t show sources that are unknown or untrustworthy.
  5. Show feedback or opinions that are balanced and varied.
  6. Show sources that are familiar and reputable.

Use the 6 Principles of Persuasion Wisely and Ethically

The 6 principles of persuasion are powerful tools that can help you influence anyone, anytime, anywhere.

However, they are not magic tricks that can guarantee success in every situation.

They are not shortcuts that can replace hard work and dedication. So don’t use them as weapons to manipulate and deceive others.

The principles of persuasion are guidelines that can help you communicate more effectively and persuasively with others.

They are strategies that help you create more value and impact. When you use them correctly they are skills that can help you build more trust and respect with others.

Use the 6 principles of persuasion wisely and ethically.

Use them to help others make better decisions and achieve their goals. Create win-win situations and positive outcomes for everyone involved.


The six principles of persuasion are based on the research of psychologist and author Dr. Robert Cialdini.

The 6 principles are…

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Authority
  • Commitment and Consistency
  • Liking
  • Social Proof

We are hardwired to respond to these triggers, they are biases we use to save time and energy in making decisions. Once you understand these principles you will start to see them everywhere. In adverts, marketing material and in the work place and every day life.

When I first learned them, I realized how I had been influenced by various people through my life, not just be companies and marketeers. You will have the same epiphanies I did.

Don’t worry, you are now in a position to not only use these principles but also defend yourself against them when they are being used against you in negative ways.

I hope this blog post has been helpful and informative for you. If you liked it, share it with your friends and colleagues who might benefit from it.

Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is available here.