Why Influence?

# of Tactics?

16 Tactics
53 Tactics

Ethics I
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What Can SI Do?

By now, you know that social influence is the science of influence, persuasion, and compliance.

A knowledge of it can help you when you need to move someone to adopt a new attitude, belief, or action. It can also help you resist the influence attempts of others. This web site is designed, in part, to help you become a more persuasive person, but also to help you better recognize and manage the influence attempts of others.

Here are a half-dozen examples that demonstrate social influence in use. . .

A physical rehabilitation group was increasingly frustrated by their clientele's low compliance rates. For some reason, patients were not following the exercise regimes recommended by the therapists. An influence consultant quickly increased patient compliance by more than 30% by having therapists make a single change . . . in office decor!
N.A.T.O. convoys in Somalia were frequently looted. To curb this, military commanders broadcast authoritarian commands--to little effect. After consulting the influence literature and revising their messages appropriately, PsyOps discovered that the insertion of a single phrase implicating the self-concept was able to nearly eliminate looting.
A state government wished to increase statewide recycling. To accomplish this, they contracted with an influence research team to create a series of TV advertisements that played on social norms to increase recycling behaviors. The ads won an ITVA award, but more importantly, they significantly increased recycling behaviors.
A health care organization planned to advertise nationally for the first time, but had been disappointed with the results of past advertising campaigns. They hired influence consultants to provide an overall strategy and message that would be maximally effective with the target audience, and then turned the ideas over to creative talent. Their returns on advertising dollars spent were dramatically increased.
Influence consultants are increasingly sought by political campaign managers to provide a range of services, from psychological analyses of the electorate to the creation of speeches, advertisements, and strategies.

Local convenience stores had problems with teenagers "hanging out" in their parking lots. The stores wanted teens' business, but not the fights and drug-dealing that sometimes accompany late-night loitering. An influence expert recommended that store owners purchase several samples of a certain kind of music, and play that music through loudspeakers in the parking lot. Upon hearing the music, the teenagers voluntarily left--and stayed away from--the parking lot. The music did not affect sales to teenagers, however, as music was not played inside the stores.

The performer? Frank Sinatra!

The above examples demonstrate a few situations in which a knowledge of social influence can make the difference between success and failure.

I hope the principles discussed in this website will awaken your interest in the topic of influence and help you become successfully and ethically persuasive. Interested in learning more about what science has to say about solving problems like these? Then read on . . .

Copyright © 1997 by Kelton Rhoads, PhD
All rights reserved.

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