About Influence, Persuasion and Civility

Publicado: 4 abril, 2011 en Uncategorized

The language of leadership is misunderstood, underutilized and more essential than ever.Jay Conger-

At least once in our lives, this thought has crossed our minds “I wish they do what I said”. But why is it so hard to convince people to do something, even though we have the knowledge and expertise to prove it? According to Robert Cialdini and Jay Conger, experts on management and leadership, we don’t master or know the difference between influence and persuasion, which are used by most of us as synonyms and at the same time perceived by society as a form of manipulation. Nevertheless, these characteristics used in a helpful manner and to its full potential lead the negotiating process where the persuader and persuaded share a common solution.


In order to use influence and persuasion, first we need a new definition away from words such as “power” and “deception”, therefore:

Persuasion is the ability to motivate a decision or make believe certain information; whereas

Influence is the attribute of having a vision of the optimal result for certain situation and then, without using force or coercion, motivate people to work together toward making that vision a reality.

In other words, when to use one or the other is crucial in negotiations. Hence, persuasion can be practice by anyone with the right set of tools. However, if the goal is to achieve a productive and lasting end result, leaders need to use influence because it’s based on a relationship between trust and credibility earned over time.


So what are the main points to keep in mind next time we want other people to agree with our ideas and do something without struggling during the negotiation process? In Cialdini’s book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, there are six tools or techniques to achieve this goal:

1. Reciprocation –> People tend to return the positive favors that they received to the same person. The old give and take.

2. Commitment and Consistency –> Once a position has been taken by an individual, a tendency to act in line with that commitment will guide further actions always relying on past decisions.

3. Social Proof –> The willingness to comply with a request is increased when supported by the belief that similar peers comply with it as well.

4. Liking –> People are increasingly inclined to follow a request by someone they like (similarities in attitude, background, physique, etc).

5. Authority –> When making a decision, it´s common to seek expert advice from reliable sources.

6. Scarcity –> As opportunities become more scarce, they are perceived as more valuable.

To summarize, persuasion involves careful preparation, use of proper framing of arguments, presentation of vivid supporting evidence, and the effort to find the correct emotional match with your audience. The complexity of these concepts can mislead and confuse future leaders, so are we going the right way?


Nowadays, with all this knowledge available to anyone we should be filled with leaders and good intentions, however as society progresses we’re forgetting the importance of goodwill and basic moral principles. We’re living in a world eager of changes and innovations, our current activities are no longer sustainable and we seek leaders that can inspire us and provide lasting and ethical opportunities without leaving aside consideration, politeness and concern for others as the main characteristics of a prosperous society.

There is no perfect formula for leadership, however the one ingredient that must be present at all times is civility.

“Every action done in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those that are present.” –George Washington-

“Civility is not a sign of weakness…” -John F. Kennedy-



  1. Eliana Valero dice:

    Muy bueno el post y me ha hecho pensar: he vivido toda mi vida en latinoamerica y no pude evitar dejar de pensar en las tonteras de gobiernos “socialistas” que abundan ahora, no se si te pones a pensar como demonios consiguieron ganar… y me acuerdo cuando trabaje en McDonald’s, durante el entrenamiento ellos te hablan todo el tiempo de la venta “sugestiva” y date cuenta que el cajero no te pregunta cual bebida deseas, sino que te dice “coca cola esta bien con su comida?”. Y bueno, la plena que funciona porque me parece que la mayoria de gente dice que si en el apuro de terminar de hacer el pedido y comenzar a comer. Obvio, tambien debe haber una mente fuerte que reaccionara y dira “no! deme fanta!”
    En fin, puede ser una comparacion tonta, pero me parece que es la forma de liderazgo de estos dias: ellos te hacen creer que lo que ellos ofrecen es lo que tu quieres, y de ahi mi percepcion de que pocos estan interesados en que la gente deje de ser bruta, porque con esa mentalidad debil es como consiguen que voten por ellos y ellos satisfacen sus propios intereses. Me gusta el metodo de persuasion; pero como dice ahi “persuasion involves careful preparation, use of proper framing of arguments, presentation of vivid supporting evidence, and the effort to find the correct emotional match with your audience”, suena a mucho trabajo….

  2. Monica dice:


  3. Johanna dice:

    Claro artículo que refleja el poder de la influencia y la persuación. Definitivamente son carismas o dones con los que algnas personas nacen, es decir lo tienen de manera innata y lleguan a ser grandes líderes, sin embargo, son cualidades que todos podemos desarrollar y mejorar, porque como vemos son sumamente útiles en nuestro día a día, ya que al ser seres sociales vivimos en constante intercambio con los demás. Y sería interesante poder utilizar estas herramientas para conseguir lo que buscamos o abrirnos nuevas puertas.
    Estas armas son tan poderosas que en manos equivocadas pueden causar una gran destrucción, esperemos que ese no sea el caso de algunos países latinoamericanos que han entregado el poder, casi ciegamente, a gobiernos con discursos innovadores pero hasta el momento sin mayores resultados positivos.


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