Inside Influence Report

 By Steve MartinStrength

For nearly seventy years scientists who study the persuasion process have consistently revealed a simple, yet remarkable truth; when it comes to effectively influencing others, small changes can make a big difference.

Examples abound, from the subtle adjustments made to a meeting room environment that lead to improved business outcomes to the addition of an extra option that spawns disproportionate responses to an offer. In the case of adding an extra option, it is interesting to note new research that suggests, in certain contexts, the additional option to an offer doesn’t even have to be substantive.

Simply offering people the option to ‘do nothing’ can have a surprising influence on how committed they subsequently become to that choice over time.

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by Steve Martin


Recent research has found that around 7 in 10 Americans will consult the online reviews of other consumers before making a purchase. I have to admit to being surprised by this. I would have guessed it would have been more. 

Numbers aside though, when making a decision, word-of-mouth communications are valuable for one very important reason; people presume them to be less biased than the carefully crafted communications created by marketers who clearly have a vested interest in influencing our decisions.

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By Steve Martin, CMCT


Benjamin Franklin famously once attempted to win favor with a political adversary by writing him a letter requesting to borrow a rare and valuable book that he owned. A short time afterwards, Franklin reported that this usually stubborn, often hostile gentleman sought him out in the House and spoke to him for the first time. It seems Franklin recognized that, in certain circumstances, asking for assistance can be an effective means of reducing conflict.

But what if you’re not Benjamin Franklin? What about us ordinary folks who ponder the pros and cons of soliciting assistance on a project from an icy-faced colleague, or requesting the help of a grumpy neighbor? Moreover, what about situations where there is no conflict, yet the thought of asking still raises anxiety levels? For example, think about that cute guy or girl on the bus that you admire from a distance but have yet to pluck up the courage to ask out on a date.

Asking can be daunting. Fortunately reassurance is at hand—and from an unlikely source.

If you are the kind of person who views asking as a risky business—one laced with the fear of rejection, embarrassment and a bruised ego—then here are three reasons why you might want to think again, each informed from scientific studies.

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iStock_000019759986LargeBy:  Steve Martin

Are you one of the many people who start the New Year off with a list of resolutions?  Does this list look remarkably similar to last year’s?  Are you also one of the many people likely to break these resolutions before the end of January? 

 Then I have some good news from research done by persuasion scientists…..It may not be your fault!

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By Steve Martin, CMCTiStock_000015667980Medium

The humble restaurant has a number of features that make it a great place to better understand human decision making and study persuasion. Crowds of diners ensure that large numbers of homogeneous transactions take place. The menus, wine lists and daily specials board serve up endless opportunities for choice architecture. And then there’s the army of food servers, keen to deploy a variety of strategies all designed with one primary purpose in mind—to persuade us to leave a bigger tip.

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“Dr. Robert Cialdini has played an integral role in the development of our high-potential leaders. His practical insights and real-world perspectives have challenged our executives to step back and reassess their global leadership and influence skills. He provides an important link in the development of our future leaders.”
GREGORY J. SMITH, PH.D., Administration & Finance Division, Organizational Development & HR Research, Bayer Corporation

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