August 2

Episode 052 – Weapons of Influence – Pt.4 – Authority


This is the forth episode in our six part series on being influential

Episode Highlights

  • Today we cover the concept of authority as introduced by Robert Cialdini in his masterpiece "Influence"
  • In a nutshell: authority is one of the core building blocks of trust which is crucial for influence.
  • The chief of the tribe
  • the trainer who leads a team
  • the dentist in white lab coat
  • your college degree framed on the wall
  • all these things give authority and those that have those signs (the degree, the lab coat) have that authority automatically
  • A high status of the person making a request can make people more compliante with this request.
  • That's why so many jobs require you to wear a uniform
  • people that wear a uniform express authority on a certain topic
  • the pilot on an airplane of the captain of a cruise ship
  • an episode about the authority principle wouldn't be complete if we would not look at the especially dark sides of this specific measure.
  • The Milgram experiment for example: if an authority person asked for it, the participants were willing to massively hurt and eventually injure people unknown to them with electro shocks
  • it is not very far from this to the concentration camps of the Nazis.
  • But besides from these extreme examples, how could you use authority in your negotiation life?
  • has your company won any awards? show them.
  • this gives the perception that an unbiased third party certifies how great it is to do business with you
    • although this thrid party does not necessarily have to so unbiased
  • or you could use higher authority, e. g. your CFO not approving any payment term less than 90 days
    • you don't want me to go there for such a minor thing, do you?
  • maybe you can also bring someone in for a short amount of time or kind of keynote, someone from the C-level who is briefed to support your message
  • if you can, try to link your request to scientific research, e. g. if you are buying services from offshore, you could use some labor market studies to improve the pricing


Win a physical copy of Cialdini's Influence, just comment "why"?

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