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Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence: Simple summary

Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence: Simple summary

Robert Cialdini released the book Influence in 1984, and his 6 principles of influence are now part of every sales training course. In this article, we look at Caldini’s principles of belief in a simple, summarized way. Read along…

Let’s start with a summary: what were Cialdini’s 6 influencing principles again?

1. Reciprocity

Always be the person who gives first.

For example: restaurants that give mints before asking for a tip get + 3% more tip. Two mints is + 14% because that was also unexpected (one always expects only 1 mints). If the operator walks away after giving the first coin, comes back and gives them a 2nd especially for them : + 23% because it is also made personally.

Therefore, it is better not to think, “Who can help me?” but: “Who can I help?” Cialdini: “Your friends, your neighbors, your partner and even your children will be more open to your requests if you have done something for them first.”

Plus, if you want to give someone a task, you can put a handwritten, personalized sticky note on their desk. This shows that you’ve put in the extra effort, making the recipient do it sooner.

2. Scarcity

People want more of that of which there is little. So you have to say not only what are the benefits of your value proposition, but also what is unique about it and what they can lose.

For example: In 2003 British Airways canceled the London to New York service for good, but the next day there were a lot more sales. Nothing in quality or price had changed. The plane was not going to fly faster, it had just become scarce.

Another example is the Bose slogan in an ad campaign, “Hear what you’ve been missing all this time.”

Do you want more customers as a freelancer? Then show that you are busy (with your work). Then they see you more as someone with whom they want to become a customer. Have them go through a difficult procedure to get in touch with you.

If you want to be able to speak to an important person, start your conversation with, ‘I’m in a hurry but / I have thousands more things to do today but / I don’t actually have time to talk but …’ And then you say, ‘ I’m glad to talk to you / It’s important that I talk to you. ‘ You also show your scarcity by sometimes looking at your watch.

3. Authority

People follow the lead of creditworthy and skilled experts.

For example: your diploma on your wall, uniforms or the title “doctor” in front of your name.

Others can tell this about you too, so they’ll tell you what’s so good about you. For example, a receptionist who connects clients to the broker tells about his expertise: “I will connect you to Peter, who has 15 years of experience with plots in this area.” Thanks to this approach of the receptionist, Peter gets 20% more appointments and 15% more sales.

4. Consistency

A practical application of consistency is the yes ladder: 400% more people were convinced with this technique to place a big ugly sign with ” drive safely ” in front of their house. Beforehand, they were asked to put just a small sticker on their window to show that they support the idea (less effort, that was the commitment). A few weeks later they were asked to place the big ugly sign in front of their house.

Have the other person write down his promise. They must be voluntary, active and public commitments.

For example: hospitals had patients fill in their appointment forms instead of employees: 18% fewer missed appointments.

Confucius said, “A journey of 1000 km begins with a single footstep.” This way you can also motivate yourself to do things. For example, you can work on your fitness goals by doing a small block first.

5. Liking

People say yes to the people they like. There are 3 factors:

  1. We like people who are similar to us.
  2. We love people who give us (sincere !!!) compliments.
  3. We love people who work with us.

So before negotiating, “I like chips! – Me too! – Let’s do business! ”
“Is your name Bert? – Me too!”

Reciprocal liking: Tell people you like them. They automatically think that about you too.

6. Consensus/social proof

People look at the actions and behavior of others to determine their own behavior.


  • ‘’Please reuse the towels’’
  • ”Benefits for the environment” + 25% more result compared to the first sentence.
  • 74% of our gestures reuse it. You too please ” + 26%
  • “75% of our guests in THIS ROOM reuse it.” + 33%. Was the most effective message. According to Cialdini, we are the quickest to follow the example of people who resemble us.
  • The tip jar that already contains some money.
  • When 4 people are staring at the sky, everyone else is watching too! If 1 person is watching, no.

With social proof messages aimed at a wide audience whose behavior you want to improve, you have to reward the people who are already doing well (smiley face).

Let’s also look at a bad example: in my salsa classes, the teacher says over and over again, through an emotional and fiery speech, that no one came to the party to practice. Every week the whole group is told that no one is coming. Do you think this is an effective way to get the students to the party?

Comparison of the book ‘Influence’ with NLP

robert cialdini influence

Now let’s take a look at how these principles relate to NLP:

  • Cialdini’s first principle, reciprocity, can be compared well with Pacing & Leading , but slightly different. I think that reciprocity from Influence is an obvious and easy to figure out technique. Pacing & Leading, on the other hand, is more under the radar because you do not literally reciprocate, but rather give something to the other through empathy, after which the other person will cooperate with you.
  • In terms of scarcity, there is also a common ground with NLP. One way of making reports within NLP is to not complete stories, so that the interlocutor feels invited to invest in the conversation due to the lack of information. These are ‘nested loops’ or ‘rapport baiting’. Both with Cialdini’s explanation of scarcity and the scarcity that you can create with NLP with nested loops, can lead to more influence. Example: “I was just waiting for the train to go to college when I saw you and I had to say you have a funny scarf.” With that sentence you make it easy for that person to ask what kind of study you are going to.
  • Authority is also a technique used within NLP, for example with so-called ‘convincers’, the ‘Witch Doctor Effect’ or other nuances of the NLP practitioner that make the client believe that they have ended up with a coach who can make major changes. to care.
  • Consistency is also widely used in the interventions of the NLP coach. He tells a number of facts, or credible observations that the client easily agrees with, and then adds a less credible but necessary encouragement.
  • Within NLP, liking can best be compared with rapport.
  • Consensus of social proof can also be seen within NLP in the form of metaphors. When the coach tells an anecdote of a similar person in a similar situation (isomorphic metaphor), the client will take that as an example to do the same as in the metaphor.

Those were Cialdini’s principles of influence. Let us know in the comments how you have experienced these principles since 1984.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!