There are seven areas–or “rules”–of psychology, studied by Robert Cialdini, “lock in” to each other in a hierarchical, top down structure and create a context for persuasion and influence to be effective. They are as follows:
- Reciprocation – the rule that states we should repay, in kind, what another person has provided to us
- Commitment and Consistency – the rule that states that once we take a stand, we will encounter personal, interpersonal and social pressures to behave consistently with our position, even if we change our minds
- Social Proof – the rule states that we determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct
- Liking – the rule states that we would prefer to say “yes” to those whom we personally like
- Authority – the rule states that we follow orders when people in authority give us orders whether we agree with the order or not, or like the person, or not
- Scarcity – the rule states that opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited
- Consensus—The rule of consensus states that people need to “be on the same side” (or at least enough of them) to be able to “get to agreement” around an idea
Look again at the seven areas.
Peace building and creating agreements around the negotiation table relies on these seven areas moving together, the next building inexorably on top of the last, so that the other party is convinced that a negotiated agreement is the best outcome for all parties involved.
As I have been writing this blog for going on three years now, the one question I used to get asked the most (“How do you get the energy to do what you do?”) has faded and now there is a sense of a desire for commitment and consistency. Cautious desire for continued commitment and consistency is evident now, when I talk about this blog, and all my other content development efforts. Because after three years, I’ve moved from mere reciprocation (I give you “free” content, you give me your email) to commitment and consistency (I show up and write everyday).
The social media following I have built is partly based on social proofing, but also based on liking and a sense of authority. Because, the thinking goes, “No one would blog consistently for three years about conflict management if they weren’t at least committed.”
The mindset of scarcity though, still dominates many in my audience, and truth be told, I have felt the fear of it as well. But it only comes when I launch something new, like the podcast, or adopt a different perspective on an old area and then publish that perspective.
Consensus is the last on the list, because it’s the last one to develop. Influence grows when consensus is cemented.
Peace builders know all about consensus and struggle against it in their personal, business and professional lives, even as they seek it for their clients and people in conflict.
After all, negotiation is all about getting to consensus.
The seven areas have been dominate on my mind for a while now as my following and voice grows. The only one I worry about is the consistency one.
Because that’s the only area that I have control over.
Just like it’s the only true area that you have control over in your life.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org