June 1, 2022
Q&A 071

🎤 Reporter

In tons of day-to-day situations, convincing others is a key skill. Wether you're trying to sell, either a product or an idea or get people to change, influencing is needed. A classic work in this field is Influence by Robert Cialdini. Based on our human instincts and biases, he explains how to influence people.

Influence reads like a magic bag of tricks, revealing how much of our decision making is steered by subconscious processes we are fully unaware of. Academic research has shown that motor neurons are activated even before a signal reaches our pre-frontal cortex, proving that some decisions (to get up and start moving around, for example) are done and dusted before any logic comes in.

Researcher Ap Dijksterhuis from Radboud University illustrated the balance between conscious and unconscious processes in a most wonderful analogy. The unconscious, he explains, can be seen as 200.000 factory workers in a building with opaque windows. They don't know exactly what's going on in the world, but they still run the show. Our conscious part of the brain is like a reporter, standing in front of the factory, explaining what's going on inside, spinning the stories. He's gotten so good at spinning these stories in a logical sense, that he believes he's running the show.

In my opinion, this wonderfully illustrates the power of storytelling. With stories (and visuals), you directly target the factory workers. Logic be damned, you can influence behaviour best by making people feel a certain way.

What are you selling right now? And how would this logic influence your tactics?