The book Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive is the "sequel" to Influence (earlier review here). Building on the approach of Influence, the book discusses 50 techniques to influence people's behavior. A psychological science experiment is the basis for each technique: the results are discussed and general lessons are drawn out.
As both books are similar, so is my review. The research case examples are great, the generic lessons are sometimes a bit dry. It could have been left up to the reader how to use the findings. There is a lot of overlap with techniques presented in the first book, if you do not have tim to read both, I would recommend reading Influence, since it takes you through the process of thinking about psychology in a more fundamental way when trying to persuade others.
Reading this book once again confirms the potential for visual communication. A lot of these psychological experiments involve people allocated in groups (test group, control group) and various changes in the experiment. Putting the outcomes in simple tables or graphs would have made it much easier to understand the outcome. Now, the reader is left to plough through the text and construct the visual picture in his/her head. Some of the 50 techniques in the book are more powerful than others, some are more relevant to the field of presentations than others. A few here:
  • Create a bond with a group. "The majority of people who stay in this hotel room re-use their towels"
  • Create scarcity: "If operators are busy, try calling again"
  • Very relevant for presentations: watch out for data that can backfire. "22 million single women did not vote". "Hmmm, that's a lot, maybe I shouldn't either?"
  • Create 2 extreme options around the desired outcome: people usually buy the middle-priced wine bottles in a restaurant. (Useful when presenting strategic options to your Board)
  • Big threats don't work, people block them out. "Smoking kills". You need to complement the threat and provide an easy, step-by-step action plan to solve the problem.
  • Hand-written post-it notes as a message really work. Thing about adding that personal touch to your presentation slides (by using selective hand-writing fonts for example)
  • Get people to write down a goal at the beginning or the end of the presentation, it dramatically increases the probability that they will act
  • Ask people whether they would be willing to do something later on. If they respond, they are actually more likely to do it themselves in the future.
Just a few teasers to get a sense of the sort of things discussed. If you are interested in psychological techniques to influence people, but Influence and Yes! are recommended books.
The author Robert Cialdini has a site with some more information.
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