Saturday, May 16, 2009

The World’s Most Cited Living Social Psychologist

In several past blogs I’ve mentioned the name Dr. Robert Cialdini. I thought it would be helpful to let you know more about him for several reasons. First, Dr. Cialdini’s work is the basis for most of what I have shared and will continue to share in this blog.


Obviously having a doctorate gives him lots of credibility but I thought you should know more because he’s the Tiger Woods of his field. He is billed as the world’s most frequently cited living social psychologist.


I met Dr. Cialdini in the summer of 2004 when he was a guest speaker at State Auto. His presentations to our agents on the ethical use of influence were some of the best received ever. Later that year I attended his two-day Principles of Persuasion workshop. His work in the area of ethical influence became the basis for much of the sales training I have conducted since that time.


In January 2008 I had the privilege of spending a week with Dr. Cialdini, Dr. Gregory Neidert and other members of the Influence at Work staff when I earned my CMCT (Cialdini Method Certified Trainer) designation. That week-long training, which concluded with a rather rigorous test (he is a professor after all!), allowed me to earn my CMCT designation. Currently there are only about two dozen active CMCTs world-wide. That certification allows me to conduct Dr. Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion workshop, which I’ve been doing the past year and a half with State Auto managers and supervisors.


So what’s the big deal about Dr. Cialdini compared to other social psychologists? As I alluded to earlier, he’s recognized as the undisputed leader in his field. If you happened to have read the Time Magazine article “How Obama is Using the Science of Change” you might recall the opening paragraph mentioning “a world-famous team of scientists, psychologists and economists.” The first person quoted in the next paragraph was Dr. Cialdini, the most famous of the world-famous team!


His book Influence: Science and Practice, now on its 5th edition, has sold more than million copies. And, the book recently received an incredible endorsement when it was named the best marketing book of all time in a book entitled The 100 Best Business Books of All-Time. Wow!

Dr. Cialdini recently co-authored Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be More Persuasive along with Dr. Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin. Yes focuses on real world, every day things you can do to be more persuasive. I highly recommend the book.


What I love about teaching ethical influence is its versatility. By that I mean, when you learn about persuasion and adjust your communication style accordingly it will help you be more successful in your career, you’ll negotiate better deals when you’re the customer, and it can even help you be a better spouse or parent. Bottom line, it can help you be more effective and successful in all your relationships.


If you have any doubt about the impact of social psychology and influence then consider this recent example. My daughter Abigail and I were at the Polaris Mall on Saturday and we noticed what looked like a book signing in front of Waldenbooks. We slowed down long enough to see the name of the book which was The Christian Athlete. I told Abigail I didn’t recognize the man behind the counter, who I assumed was the author. A man at the end of the line heard me said, “I’m not sure what it is but it must be good because there’s a line.”


That man’s comment tracks right along with one of Dr. Cialdini’s six principles of influence – consensus. I’ve mentioned consensus (also referred to as "social proof") before - it’s the psychological principle which tells us people look to others for clues on how they should act. For the man at the end of the line, the simple fact that many people were in line meant something good awaited him so he joined the crowd. If you take a look at last week’s posting, “Make Your Next Event the One Everybody Attends,” you’ll see how consensus can help, or hurt, your efforts when it comes to promoting a product or gathering.

Brian, CMCT 
influence
people 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

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