Inside Influence Report



By Steve Martin, CMCT

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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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 By Steve Martin, CMCTHiRes

When it comes to influencing others, delivering the right number of messages to support your proposal or proposition is going to be crucial. Too few, and your attempt might come across as halfhearted, indifferent or plain weak. But too many messages can hurt you too. Like adding too much spice to the dish, your influence attempt could become overpowering—one that even the dog will turn his nose up at.

So when it comes to successfully persuading others, what is the optimal number of claims that you should employ to produce the most positive impression?  

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By Steve Martin, CMCT

Imagine that you are preparing a proposal for a client and, having researched all the information, equipment, materials and resources that you will need to deliver the job, the time has come to commit to paper the only piece of information your client is really interested in. Your price.

Will your client be more likely to accept your offer (or at least be more conciliatory with their counter-offer) if it has a precise ending, or would you be more effective doing what many of us do and rounding up your quote?
It turns out that persuasion science can provide a clear answer to this question not only making your future negotiations more successful but maybe your next salary review too.

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"…one of social psychology’s true pioneers."
Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Stumbling on Happiness

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